5 Players to Watch Against Wisconsin

5 Players to Watch Against Wisconsin

Football

5 Players to Watch Against Wisconsin

Primetime in Ann Arbor as the Michigan Wolverines host the Wisconsin Badgers in a Big Ten game that got ESPN’s College Gameday visiting as well in what could launch the Wolverines closer to the playoffs, or bring them down to the people on the outside looking at the inside. This game is season defining for both teams and it just adds pressure to both teams. Here are my five players to watch for under the lights this Saturday.

1. QB Shea Patterson – Michigan

Quarterback Shea Patterson will have to play a great game against Wisconsin if he wants to see a victory on Saturday. He can’t play like he did against Notre Dame week one, and he hasn’t since. Patterson has grown this season and has improved every week.

Patterson has been making plays with his arm and legs, keeping drives alive with his quick ability to shrug off defenders and break free to avoid the sack. He can throw it deep or short and have it turn to a big play. It also helps that he has a good running back in Karan Higdon and an offensive line that is starting to become what everyone has wanted in an offensive line.

Wisconsin won’t roll over though. They are ranked 41st in defense, but that still doesn’t mean they aren’t good. The Badgers are banged up on defense though so the inexperience that could see the field could help Patterson and the offense get to work.

2. RB Jonathan Taylor – Wisconsin

You can’t talk about Wisconsin football and not bring up running back Jonathan Taylor. He is the focal point of the offense and a difference maker. Last year against Taylor, Michigan struggled with taking down Taylor as he had 19 carries for 132 yards.

This year Taylor has been on a mission running the rock. Taylor has 126 carries for 849 yards and eight touchdowns and is third in the nation in rushing yards. Michigan will have its hands full with this type of player.

One thing that will be a factor is that Michigan has the best defense in the country. This will be Taylors toughest defense he will play this season. Against the number four defense in Iowa, Taylor had 25 carries for 113 yards, so he did well, but he is going to have to do better if he wants to help beat the Wolverines at home.

3. DE Chase Winovich – Michigan

After having his big game against Northwestern, Winovich was quiet against Maryland with only two tackles, but part of that was the fact that defensive end Rashan Gary wasn’t playing. When Gary plays, all the attention goes to him and people forget about Chase Winovich. When Gary isn’t there, then Winovich gets all the attention and has troubles.

The good thing about both situations is that if Gary plays, then Winovich has an easier time to make his presence known. If Gary doesn’t play, then Winovich plays Gary’s role and other players have a good game and as long as others are doing work and making their presence known, it still helps the team.

Winovich says he has yet to play his best football yet and this game he can prove it by balling out and helping the Wolverines get to quarterback Alex Hornibrook or stopping Taylor run the ball. If Gary misses the game, Winovich will need to step up and step up big.

4. LB T.J Edwards – Wisconsin

On offense, Wisconsin is known for offensive linemen and running backs. On defense, they are known for linebackers. T.J. Edwards is one of those linebackers. So far this season he has 26 total tackles, five and a half for loss, two sacks, and an interception.

His assignment could be to blitz and put pressure on Patterson, force him to make a mistake, or force a fumble on him and create a turnover. He could also be assigned to cover the running backs or tight ends. Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon could have some issues with Edwards.

Wisconsin is dealing with injuries on defense and with other linebackers, Mason Platter out for the season, and Griffin Grady out for the game and Andrew Van Ginkel being questionable, the depth at the position is thin right now.

5. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones – Michigan

Speaking of injuries on the Wisconsin defense, another position group that is getting affected are cornerbacks and one player has already been ruled out is Travian Blaylock and two others, Deron Harrell and Caesar Williams are questionable.

Injuries in the secondary means fun for the wide receivers, especially wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones has 18 catches for 217 yards and five touchdowns. With the emergence of Nico Collins, and with Tarik Black’s injury, Peoples-Jones has emerged as a favorite target for Patterson. With tight end Zach Gentry as the only other player with more catches than Peoples-Jones, it could be a long day for the Badgers secondary.

Wisconsin allows an average of 219.6 passing yards per game and the Wolverines average 220.8 passing yards per game so Michigan could push past the average for the Badgers and with Nebraska throwing for over 400 last week, Michigan could do more with their talent on offense, but they might not need to if the run game can get going on the Badgers defense.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@BKnappBlogs

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home