GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. WOLVERINES DEFENSE
After blanking BYU, Maryland and Northwestern, the Wolverines had a tougher time against Michigan State. The Spartans rushed for just 58 yards, but Connor Cook passed for 328 yards, setting up the climactic finish. Michigan’s pass rush could make it tough for Mitch Leidner. Advantage: Michigan
Both teams have good punters and kickers, but Michigan has been better in the return game with Jabrill Peppers and Jehu Chesson both dangerous. Advantage: Michigan
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Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers ranked as the nation’s third-best 2014 recruit by Rivals.com. He does it all. Against Michigan State he had two tackles, two pass receptions and 129 return yards.
The Wolverines strayed from their Bo Schembechler roots under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke, and Jim Harbaugh has quickly brought that identity back. It’s a physical, smash-mouth team with a scary good defense and an offense that does what it takes to win.
GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. WOLVERINES OFFENSE
Quarterback Jake Rudock, a graduate transfer from Iowa, has completed 61.7 percent of his passes. Michigan is efficient, with few negative plays, and loves using its fullbacks to run the ball. The Gophers need to rebound from a poor defensive showing against Nebraska. Advantage: even
Both teams had byes last week. After winning the Little Brown Jug last year, the Gophers are trying to retain it for the first since 1963. Should be a festive crowd. Advantage: Gophers
The Gophers would love to hoist the jug, honoring Jerry Kill’s retirement, but Michigan’s defense is too tough.