Illinois Brings Too Much Juice for the Michigan Wolverines

Russ HartleyContributor INovember 3, 2009

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 10: Juice Williams #7 of the Illinois Fighting Illini throws a pass against the Michigan State Spartans on October 10, 2009 at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Illinois 24-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The woes continue in Ann Arbor, as Michigan failed to get their sixth win and secure a bowl-game appearance. This time, the loss came against winless Big Ten team, Illinois.

Juice Williams once again destroyed the Wolverine defense, running for 96 yards, throwing for 123 more, and combined for two touchdowns in Illinois' 38-13 victory over Michigan.

Illinois didn't only beat Michigan, they demolished them. The Wolverines defense showed again they can not handle Juice Williams, and paid for it. Two touchdowns were reversed for Michigan and drastically changed the game. Minor's touchdown was overturned and resulted in a turnover, and a pass completed in the end zone was also overturned to a fumble.

Michigan, who started the season at 4-0, is now 5-4 and has lost the last four out of five games. Rich Rodriguez is in the hot seat, and that seat will get even hotter if the Wolverines don't make a bowl game.

Michigan will be taking on Purdue this weekend, who hopes for their sixth win to become bowl-eligible. This will be a crucial game, since their last two games are against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

There has been many causes that has effected the "bumps in the road" Michigan has experienced this year. Tate Forcier came out strong, but now seems to have lost some confidence and is making a lot of mental mistakes. Denard Robinson has made awful decisions when throwing the ball, and has made key turnovers in crucial situations.

The defense started strong, but now seems lost and confused. The defense can make stops on first and second down, but is having a lot of trouble holding opponents to three-and-out. They have also let up "big" plays (20-plus yards) in drives that should have never resulted in scores. And last but not least, there have been many fingers pointed at Rich Rod and the coaching staff. Coach Rodriguez has made questionable calls and has answered the questions of, "is Michigan back?" ... but in a negative way.

The Wolverines will need a big performance to get some confidence back and take out the Boilermakers this weekend. If they can accomplish this obstacle, Michigan can still have a successful season—especially if they can pull an upset in one of their last two games. But that is much easier said than done, and the Maize and Blue will need a confident quarterback and a strong defense to give Rich Rod some job security and reach a bowl-game appearance.

*Russ Hartley is the founder and writer of Yung Gunz Sports and YGS Column

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