Michigan vs. Purdue: If Wolverines Don't Win This One, Say Goodbye to the Season

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 29: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines tip toes up the sideline in front of Joe Holland #30 and Landon Feichter #44 of the Purdue Boilermakers during a fourth quarter run at Michigan Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are walking a very thin line between success and failure.

A team that was able to win 11 games last year and reach a BCS bowl for the first time since 2006 hasn't gotten off to the start fans in Ann Arbor would have liked.

It started with a Week 1 thrashing against Alabama, where the Wolverines couldn't get anything going on either side of the ball. A close game against Air Force in Week 2 is when things really got hairy, as the Falcons were able to produce over 400 yards of total offense and keep the game close throughout.

Then, of course, the most recent game against Notre Dame—a matchup that resulted in the Michigan offense turning the ball over six times. Through the first four games, the Wolverines have lost as many games as they did in 2011.

Now, Michigan will travel to Ross-Ade Stadium to take on an underrated Purdue team that is 3-1 and nearly knocked off Notre Dame earlier in the year.

The defense does a great job of generating pressure up front, has the fourth-best run defense in the conference and has allowed the fewest plays of over 30 yards of any other team in the Big Ten.

The Boilermakers are certainly capable of pulling off the upset, and if it happens, say goodbye to the Wolverines' season. Not only would it be the first loss to Purdue since 2009, but it would give this Michigan team its third loss on the year, digging an extremely deep hole in the Big Ten Legends Division.

And while we are speaking about the Big Ten conference, Michigan still has to play a tough defensive team in Michigan State—a program that has won the last four meetings and set the blueprint on how to stop Denard Robinson.

The schedule also includes a trip to Nebraska and a game against a ranked and surprising Northwestern club. The schedule also ends with a rivalry game against Ohio State, which currently looks like the best team in the Big Ten.

Did I mention that the matchup will take place in Columbus this year?

The Wolverines offense has yet to really get going, Robinson is off to the worst start in his career and injuries on the defensive side of the ball have the unit ranked fifth in the Big Ten in total defense. The offense has also turned the ball over 11 times in four games, which is completely unacceptable.

Purdue is a veteran team that would love nothing more than to earn that marquee win at home. Hopefully the bye week helped the Wolverines, as they simply cannot afford to lose Saturday.

Michigan was riding high last year with the great success under first-year head coach Brady Hoke. It will be a completely different feeling in Ann Arbor and a long ride home if the Wolverines can't find a way to turn things around.

Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.