Michigan Wolverines vs. Purdue Boilermakers: Complete Game Preview
The Michigan Wolverines and Purdue Boilermakers will both kick off their Big Ten Conference schedules this Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.
With the Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans struggling early, both the Wolverines and Boilermakers could both send a statement to the rest of the Big Ten members that they will be major factors in their respective division races.
Who will be the players to watch this weekend? Who will be starting and when does this Big Ten showdown get underway? Click next to find out all of the details for Michigan vs. Purdue.
Michigan's Depth Chart
Depth chart information obtained fromTheWolverine.com.
QB: Denard Robinson, Russell Bellomy, Devin Gardner; RB: Fitz Toussaint, Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith, Justice Hayes; FB: Stephen Hopkins, Joe Kerridge, Paul Gyarmarti; WR:Roy Roundtree, Devin Gardner, Jerald Robinson, Amara Darboh; WR: Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson; TE: Brandon Moore, Mike Kwiatkowski, AJ Williams, Devin Funchess; LT: Taylor Lewan, Erik Magnuson; RT: Michael Schofield, Erik Gunderson, Ben Braden; LG: Ricky Barnum, Joey Burzynski, Kyle Kalis; RG: Patrick Omameh, Burzynski; C: Elliot Mealer, Jack Miller
DE: Jibreel Black, Frank Clark, Brennen Beyer, Mario Ojemudia; DE: Craig Roh, Nathan Brink (Out Indefinitely), Keith Heitzman; NT: Quinton Washington, Richard Ash, Ondre Pipkins; DT: Will Campbell, Brink, Black; SAM: Jake Ryan, Cam Gordon; WILL: Desmond Morgan, James Ross III, Brandin Hawthorne; MIKE: Kenny Demens, Joe Bolden, Mike Jones; CB: Courtney Avery, Raymon Taylor, Terry Richardson; CB: J.T. Floyd, Raymon Taylor, Delonte Hollowell; SS: Jordan Kovacs, Marvin Robinson, Floyd Simmons; FS: Thomas Gordon, Jarrod Wilson, Josh Furman
K: Brendan Gibbons, Matt Wile; P: Will Hagerup, Matt Wile; LS: Jareth Glanda, Curt Graman; Kick Return: Dennis Norfleet, Vincent Smith, Josh Furman; Punt Return: Jeremy Gallon, Dennis Norfleet
Purdue's Depth Chart
Depth chart information obtained from GoldandBlack.com (Current as of Aug. 28, with latest update)
QB: Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve, Rob Henry; RB: Akeem Shavers, Akeem Hunt; WR: O.J. Ross, Shane Mikesky, Charles Torwudzo; WR: Gary Bush, Cameron Posey, Danny Anthrop; WR: Antavian Edison, Raheem Mostert; TE: Gabe Holmes, Crosby Wright; OT: Kevin Pamphile, Justin Kitchens; OT: Trevor Foy, Kitchens; OG: Peters Drey, Cody Davis; OG: Devin Smith, Davis; C: Rick Schmeig, Robert Kugler
DE: Ryan Isaac, Jalani Phillips; DE: Ryan Russell, Greg Latta; DT: Bruce Gaston, Brandon Taylor; DT: Kawann Short, Michael Rouse, Ryan Watson; LB: Robert Maci, Nnamdi Ezenwa, Armstead Williams; LB: Will Lucas, Joe Gilliam, Ruben Ibarra; LB: Antwon Higgs, Sean Robinson; CB: Ricardo Allen, Frankie Williams; CB: Josh Johnson, Normondo Harris; S: Landon Feichter, Max Charlot; S: Taylor Richards, Chris Quinn
K: Paul Griggs, Sam McCartney; P: Cody Webster, Thomas Meadows; LS: Jesse Schmitt, John Bednar; KR: Raheem Mostert, Akeem Hunt; PR: Josh Johnson, Frankie Williams, Ricardo Allen
What Happened in Michigan's Last Game
The Michigan Wolverines were idle for Week 5 of the college football season, but their last game against the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish did not go so well for senior quarterback Denard Robinson.
Robinson threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in Michigan's 13-6 loss at Notre Dame Stadium two weeks ago, which caused Shoelace to get emotional in his postgame press conference.
"Oh yeah, this is the most disappointed I've ever been in myself," Robinson said according to John Borton of TheWolverine.com. "In the 22 years I've been living, it's the most disappointed I've been in myself...This was the worst game of my career."
The lone bright spot from the Wolverines' Week 4 loss to the Fighting Irish was their defense, which limited Notre Dame to just 239 yards of total offense and only 94 rushing yards.
Kicker Brendan Gibbons made a 31-yard and 33-yard field goal for Michigan's only points of the game.
What Happened in Purdue's Last Game
The Purdue Boilermakers turned a 14-14 game into a 42-14 rout by halftime last weekend against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Senior quarterback Caleb TerBush led the Boilermakers on two scoring drives, while cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson returned interceptions for touchdowns to give Purdue a 28-point halftime lead. Marshall battled back in the third quarter though and cut Purdue's lead in half.
TerBush tossed the game-sealing touchdown pass to Gary Bush in the fourth quarter, and the Boilermakers defeated Marshall by a final score of 51-41.
By the end of the game, TerBush had thrown for 294 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Bush hauled in three touchdown receptions, and Antavian Edison caught the other.
Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt combined for 104 yards and one touchdown on the ground in Purdue's victory.
Purdue's defense struggled at times against Marshall's pass-heavy offense, but was able to force four turnovers and keep the Thundering Herd out of the end zone long enough to help its offense build up an insurmountable lead.
What It Means for Both Teams
Both the Michigan Wolverines and Purdue Boilermakers are looking to make a statement this weekend at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The Wolverines are attempting to prove they are still a legitimate Big Ten Conference title contender despite disappointing performances against the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their first four games.
A road victory in their Big Ten opener could be the spark Michigan is looking for to ignite a run through the Legends Division and keep pace with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who look like the team to beat in the conference right now since the Ohio State Buckeyes are ineligible to play in the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers have become a trendy pick to win the Leaders Division given the Wisconsin Badgers' early season troubles, but Purdue fans are holding back their excitement until they can secure a marquee win in 2012.
"There is a glimmer of hope now because Purdue was very competitive at Notre Dame," GoldandBlack.com publisher Alan Karpick said. "But they probably need to win this weekend to completely turn hearts and minds."
A win over the Wolverines would surely get the Boilermakers off to a great start in their pursuit of a Leaders Division title.
Key Player for Michigan: Denard Robinson
As evidenced by the Michigan Wolverines' two losses this season, the offense does not run efficiently without a strong performance from senior dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson.
In Michigan's two losses this year, Robinson only has 455 total yards, two touchdowns and seven turnovers. On the other hand, the Wolverines beat the Air Force Falcons and UMass Minutemen behind Robinson's 823 total yards and eight total touchdowns.
Robinson has been one of the most prolific players in college football over the past few seasons, but if the Deerfield Beach, Fla., native is off his game and is creating turnovers for the opposition, then Michigan's offense will sputter.
If the Wolverines want to escape Ross-Ade Stadium with their first Big Ten Conference victory of the 2012 season, then Robinson will have to avoid turnovers and keep the Michigan offense on the move by making plays with his legs.
Key Player for Purdue: Kawann Short
In last season's game against the Michigan Wolverines, defensive tackle Kawann Short was a non-factor for the Purdue Boilermakers in a 36-17 loss at the Big House.
Purdue's run defense was gashed by Fitzgerald Toussaint and Denard Robinson for 233 yards, and that does not even include the other 106 rushing yards the Boilermakers gave up to Michigan's other running backs.
If the Boilermakers hope to pull off the upset this weekend, then Short will have to wreak havoc up front and take advantage of a Michigan offensive line that is still trying to establish itself as a unit.
Short has the ability to get into the backfield and slow down Michigan's rushing attack, which has been the blueprint that several teams have used to beat the Wolverines while Robinson has been their starting quarterback.
The Michigan Wolverines have struggled at times in their first four contests, but Denard Robinson will be the best athlete on the field and should be able to have success running against the Purdue Boilermakers defense.
If the game becomes a shootout, Michigan definitely has the edge given its offensive potency and much-improved defense, however if the Boilermakers are able to make the game a low-scoring affair, then we may see an upset in West Lafayette, Ind. this Saturday.
This writer believes Robinson will be too much to handle, and do not be surprised if previously-suspended running back Fitzgerald Toussaint turns in his best game of the season.
Prediction: Michigan 31 Purdue 20