Week Five Picks, Predictions and Preview: Michigan at Northwestern

Week Five Picks, Predictions and Preview: Michigan at Northwestern

Football

Week Five Picks, Predictions and Preview: Michigan at Northwestern

Michigan takes back to the road with a 3-1 record, facing a Northwestern team coming off a bye, but with a 1-2 record.

College Football News’ Pete Fiutak and WolverinesWire’s Evan Petzold, Brandon Knapp and Isaiah Hole share their Vegas-style predictions for the game on Saturday as well as their final overview and score predictions for SMU at Michigan.

Pickers:

@PeteFiutak, College Football News
@EvanPetzold, WolverinesWire
@bknappblogs, WolverinesWire
@IsaiahHole, WolverinesWire

Vegas-style picks

pick against the spread (Michigan -14.5)

Pete Fiutak: MICHIGAN 
Evan Petzold: MICHIGAN 
Brandon Knapp: MICHIGAN
Isaiah Hole: MICHIGAN

Your pick for the over/under (46.5)

Pete Fiutak: UNDER
Evan Petzold: OVER
Brandon Knapp: OVER
Isaiah Hole: OVER

Over/under on MICHIGAN passing touchdowns (2)

Pete Fiutak: PUSH
Evan Petzold: OVER
Brandon Knapp: PUSH
Isaiah Hole: OVER

Over/under Michigan rushing yards (212)

Pete Fiutak: OVER
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: UNDER

Over/under Michigan passing yards (209)

Pete Fiutak: UNDER
Evan Petzold: PUSH
Brandon Knapp: OVER
Isaiah Hole: OVER

Over/under Michigan tailbacks with over 75 yards rushing (1)

Pete Fiutak: PUSH
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: OVER
Isaiah Hole: PUSH

Over/under Michigan tailback touchdowns (3)

Pete Fiutak: UNDER
Evan Petzold: PUSH
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: OVER

Over/under Michigan top WR catches (6)

Pete Fiutak: OVER
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: PUSH

Over/under Michigan WR touchdowns (2)

Pete Fiutak: UNDER
Evan Petzold: OVER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: PUSH

Over/under Michigan Top WR yards (75)

Pete Fiutak: OVER
Evan Petzold: OVER
Brandon Knapp: OVER
Isaiah Hole: OVER

Over/under NORTHWESTERN PASSING yards (250)

Pete Fiutak: UNDER
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: UNDER

Over/under NORTHWESTERN RUsHING yards (117)

Pete Fiutak: OVER
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: UNDER

Over/under NORTHWESTERN total offensive yards (275)

Pete Fiutak: n/a
Evan Petzold: UNDER
Brandon Knapp: UNDER
Isaiah Hole: UNDER

Predictions

PETE FIUTAK

Overview: Michigan’s defense will rise up and stall the punchless Northwestern attack. Clayton Thorson will struggle, and while the Wildcats will be able to run just a wee bit without Jeremy Larkin, it won’t be enough.

Offensive player of the game: Karan Higdon
Defensive player of the game: Rashan Gary
One bold prediction: Michigan will be up at least 14-0 in the first quarter
Final score prediction: Michigan 37 – Northwestern 17

Evan Petzold

Overview: As Michigan did against Nebraska, I expect the Wolverines to jump out to an early lead and never look back. Shea Patterson will quickly make his presence felt with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. By the end of the third quarter, the game will be all Dylan McCaffrey. He will continue to fashion his dual-threat abilities against an already worn down Northwestern defense.

Coming off back-to-back losses against Duke and Akron, Northwestern is not in a spot to compete with Michigan. I expect them to stray away early. Facing pressure from Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary, Clayton Thorson probably won’t find the end zone.

Offensive player of the game: Shea Patterson
Defensive player of the game: Chase Winovich
One bold prediction: Oliver Martin scores his first career touchdown for Michigan
Final score prediction: Michigan 45 – Northwestern 10

Brandon Knapp

Overview: Northwestern will be lost without their best player in Jeremy Larkin and it will showcase as the running game won’t even get 50 yards on the ground. Michigan’s defense will expect them to be in a pass heavy offense with Larkin gone, so Northwestern won’t run much to begin with.

The offense for Michigan will continue to do well. I expect Chris Evans to return and him and Higdon will have a good day on the ground, as Patterson won’t have to do much of the heavy lifting at quarterback.

Offensive player of the game: Karan Higdon

Defensive player of the game: Rashan Gary
One bold prediction: Khaleke Hudson gets an interception in the fourth quarter
Final score prediction: Michigan 41 – Northwestern 14

Isaiah Hole

Overview: This was a game where I wanted to — obviously — find what Northwestern does well. Weirdly, there’s not a lot there.a

It’s not that it does a lot bad, it’s just very mediocre across the board. The Wildcats have the nation’s 63rd-best offense and 75th-rated defense. It’s middle of the road in kick returns and near the bottom in punt returns. Rated 98th in sacks and 95th in tackles for loss, so Northwestern isn’t getting a ton of pressure up front. It’s 70th in 3rd down conversions out of 130 FBS teams, but is 51st in 3rd down conversions allowed.

The most stellar metrics for this Northwestern team is that it doesn’t commit penalties and it has the 20th-best passing attack with Clayton Thorson at the helm, the 38th-rated passer per yards-per-game in the country. However, those stats are somewhat padded after a 383 yard performance in the Week Three win over Akron.

With Jeremy Larkin having medically retired, Thorson & Co. also lack the big play threat that it’s had, as Larkin was the nation’s 9th-rated all-purpose back through Week Four. That production is now non-existent, and puts an awful lot of pressure on the Northwestern quarterbacks.

Northwestern has been very good at protecting the quarterback, with only 6 sacks allowed and 14 tackles for loss allowed on the season. Expect that to change a bit this week, as the Wildcats not only face a more formidable defensive front, but it does so without the threat of Larkin worrying the Wolverines.

On the other side of the ball, Northwestern is better at stopping the run than the pass, but we’ve already seen Michigan have a proclivity to do well against not top-rated defenses in running the ball. Whether or not Chris Evans plays, Michigan should continue to roll on that front, with Karan Higdon leading the charge. As long as that happens, don’t expect the Wolverines to pass the ball much, but do expect to see Shea Patterson to continue his ascent when asked to throw.

This might be a step up from Nebraska, but it will be the same result: a lopsided Michigan victory.

Offensive player of the game: Ben Bredeson
Defensive player of the game: All of the defensive ends
One bold prediction: Michigan has at least 3 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Final score prediction: Michigan 41 – Northwestern 10

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