Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.
Michigan vs. Kansas State
10:15 p.m. ET ESPN
What was supposed to be a potential run at a Big Ten title this season for the Wolverines, went south once Michigan hit its conference schedule.
The Wolverines finished the regular season with a 1-4 record in the Big Ten and failed to win six games in league play for the first time under Brady Hoke.
Michigan's offense showed what it was capable of doing against Ohio State, but it is still undetermined whether quarterback Devin Gardner will be ready to go against Kansas State because of a turf toe injury.
If Gardner is unable to go, it will be up to freshman Shane Morris to move the offense through the air.
The Wolverines have struggled on the ground this season and will again be dependent on big plays from wide receivers Jeremy Gallon (1,284 receiving yards, nine TDs) and Devin Funchess (727 receiving yards, six TDs).
Blake Countess, who has accounted for six interceptions this season, leads a Wolverines defense that will have to defend two quarterbacks, as well as threats in both the Kansas State running and passing game.
Bill Snyder’s Wildcats got off on the wrong foot, but bounced back by winning five of their last six games.
The two-quarterback system has seemed to be the right fit for the offense. Jake Waters has passed for 2,198 yards and 15 touchdowns while Daniel Sams has caused problems with his legs by rushing for 784 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The receiving corps is led by explosive wide receiver Tyler Lockett (1,146 receiving yards, eight TDs), who has the ability to give to Wolverines secondary problems. The running game consists of senior John Hubert, who is 32 yards shy of reaching 1,000 for the first season in his career.
The Wildcats defense is holding opponents to 145.3 rushing yards per game and has the opportunity to give a subpar Wolverines running game problems, especially with defensive end Ryan Mueller leading the way on the line with 11 1/2 sacks and 18 1/2 tackles for loss this season. Star safety Ty Zimmerman is listed as questionable due to an injured right foot.
The main factor in this matchup will be if Gardner is able to play, and if he does play, will he be able to be at the top of his game? Kansas State has the ability to move down the field on offense and force Michigan to move the ball through the air on defense.
Kansas State has lost three consecutive bowl games in the desert, and look for it to be four, as Michigan will sneak out a close victory in what will be a back-and-forth game.
Prediction: Michigan 32, Kansas State 31