Michigan is limping through this season instead of dominating it to the surprise of the college football community. This was a team that was preseason Top 10 and had the expectations of a Big Ten title.
After the loss to Nebraska this past Saturday, the Wolverines were pushed out of the Big Ten title race. A loss to Minnesota this weekend would ruin Michigan’s season for good.
The Golden Gophers are last in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. If they pull off a win over Michigan, it would put the Wolverines down two games to Nebraska and out of the Big Ten title talk. It would also put Michigan at the four-loss mark, severely dropping its bowl standing at the end of the year.
This would be an unbearable loss for this coaching staff and senior Denard Robinson.
It would be a fall that Brady Hoke would struggle to get over. The Wolverines faithful would be very disappointed with a loss to the Golden Gophers, despite their 5-3 record.
Minnesota is strong against the pass, fielding the No. 7 pass defense in the country. Michigan is only fielding the No. 108 pass offense, so there is no expected advantage. In the ground game, the Golden Gophers are No. 84 and facing a Denard Robinson-led Wolverines offense that is the No. 27 rushing unit in the country.
One problem is that Denard Robinson was injured last week in the second quarter against the Cornhuskers. Nerve damage in his throwing arm caused him to have gripping issues with the football. According to USA Today he is expected to play, but this could cause an issue as the game progresses.
If Robinson is forced to the sideline, it would cause major issues for the Wolverines.
This is a home game for the Golden Gophers and they have only lost one home contest so far this season. It was a close 21-13 loss to Northwestern.
Michigan has not played well on the road. The Wolverines lost big to Alabama in Dallas to start the season and they also lost to Nebraska on the road. There was a win against Purdue that came away from home, but the Boilermakers are 0-4 in the conference and 3-5 overall.
Throughout the season, there have been games that were played way too close by the Wolverines. Air Force marched into the Big House and almost knocked off the home team. Then came the home win against Michigan State that needed a last-minute field goal.
This is a team that has shown it can win tight games, but it also can lose games that it shouldn’t.
If Michigan marches into Minnesota thinking that it will walk off with a win, it may lose this game. Focus is key in the noon matchup on the Big Ten Network.