3 Things to Watch for Against Wisconsin

3 Things to Watch for Against Wisconsin

Football

3 Things to Watch for Against Wisconsin

After defeating Maryland 42-21, Michigan now turns to the hardest part of the schedule and it starts with No. 15 Wisconsin in a primetime game in Ann Arbor.

Wisconsin is coming off a win over Nebraska last week and wins over Iowa, New Mexico, and Western Kentucky. Their only loss was to an unranked BYU team at home.

This game will help define the rest of the season for either team as one more loss will make it even harder for each team to make it to the college football playoffs and it can hurt their chance at winning a Big Ten title. Here are my three things to watch for it this week’s game.

1. How Will Michigan Perform?

Michigan gets its haze when on the road against ranked opponents as they are 0-17 on the road against ranked teams since 2006. Their last home win against a ranked team though was in 2016 against guess who, Wisconsin. Michigan would like to repeat history once again.

This is a big stage for the Wolverines. Primetime, all the eyes are on them and that could bring extra pressure. They know they can’t lose any more games this season, even more pressure with that on your mind.

How the team performed against Notre Dame wasn’t what they look like now, but that game was on the road and with humidity giving everyone issues. Now with the weather not being a factor, chemistry built and players have grown since week one and this team looks different. Wisconsin looks different too, but these are the types of games Michigan needs to start winning if they want to be treated with respect.

2. Can Jonathan Taylor Be a Factor?

The goal for everyone who plays Wisconsin is to stop running back Jonathan Taylor. Teams have yet to seem to find an answer to him, but now he goes against the number one defense in Michigan.

Michigan could focus too much on Taylor and forget about quarterback Alex Hornibrook and let him rip it against the secondary. I believe in defensive coordinator Don Brown to be smarter than that and be prepared for anything that the Badgers throw their way.

If Taylor gets contained, then the Badgers offense will be staggering to trying to produce something. If Taylor can make some plays and keep drives alive, then Wisconsin has a shot to win this game and upset the Wolverines.

3. Who Plays and Who Misses?

It sounds like running back Chris Evans will return according to Jay Harbaugh as he told reporters this week that Evans is “ready to play” and that they are “expecting him to, and we’ll see what happens Saturday.” So that is good news on the running back front.

Defensive end Rashan Gary missed last week against Maryland, but Harbaugh told reporters after the game that it was his decision to keep him out last week, and on Monday he said there was “no status report to update.” So if Gary can play, it would be huge for the Wolverines.

The biggest update the past week has been wide receiver Tarik Black and our own Isaiah Hole noticed before playing Maryland that Black was out of the walking boot. Harbaugh updated Black’s status on Monday by saying Black was “continuing to progress nicely.” He added later: “Same type, different foot. Progressing, we’ll see today!” No update on Black has been heard since, don’t expect him to play this week, possibly next week as well, but after the bye could be a time where Black could return if things can go right.

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