When Michigan Has the Ball...
Michigan's Passing Attack vs. Illinois's Secondary
Zac says: It looks like Michigan will be without leader receiver Martavious Odoms. It will be important for guys like Greg Mathews, Kevin Koger, and even Darryl Stonum to step up and be a go-to guy.
Tate Forcier has shown that he is a playmaker, but he'll need someone to complete those plays. Expect a heavy dose of Forcier at quarterback now that Denard Robinson has shown he is turnover prone. Advantage: Even
Michigan's Running game vs. Illinois's Front Seven
Zac says: Michigan's running game continues to lead the Big Ten. Brandon Minor appears to be finally healthy and brings an authoritative running style to compliment the smaller backs.
Illinois ranks ahead of only Minnesota and has given up more than twice as many yards as Penn State, the conference's best defense against the run. Michigan should be able to run the ball effectively and must do so to find offensive success. Advantage: Michigan
When Illinois Has the Ball...
Illinois's Passing Attack vs. Michigan's Secondary
Zac says: Juice Williams will split time with Jacob Charest on Saturday. The Illinois passing attack ranks dead last in Big Ten play and the offense as a whole ranks dead last in points per game by an astounding five points.
That being said, the Michigan pass defense ranks near the bottom of the league and dismissed Boubacar Cissoko earlier this week. The Wolverine secondary still hasn't found much consistency and will need a pass rush to help them out. Advantage: Even
Illinois's Running Game vs. Michigan's Front Seven
Zac says: Illinois coach Ron Zook said that Mikel LeShoure has established himself as the lead back for the Illini offense. Illinois has had a crowded backfield this season so far with five men with at least 28 carries.
The emmergence of LeShoure may allow the running game find a little more consistency. Each side ranks in the middle of the pack in this category, slight edge to Michigan based on the improvement shown over the course of the season so far. Advantage: Michigan
Zac (6-2) says: To put it bluntly, this is a game the Wolverines have to win. Three straight losses in conference pales in comparison to the potential fall out from extending that streak to four at the hands of a team with an 0-5 conference record. Fortunately, the weather forecast looks favorable for Michigan to effectively execute their spread offense.
Final Score: Michigan 31, Illinois 20