Yep, they're playing.
Welcome to this week's extremely fast tempo preview of the Michigan vs. Purdue game, scheduled this weekend in West Lafayette. Vegas likes us by 13 points. Woo Vegas.
As tempted as I am to say "not good" and simply move on, I suppose you'll want something else, otherwise there will be whining in the comments by some Iowa fan who stumbled onto this site a long time ago and won't leave (I keed). So, Purdue's offense: not good.
The genesis of the not good comes from Robert Marve, former Miami quarterback and current Purdue transfer went down with injury, leaving a gaping hole at QB. Rob Henry stepped in - already a third stringer himself - and promptly burned down, fell over and THEN sunk into the swamp against Ohio State. Purdue, at this point, said "F-it" and is starting true freshman Sean Robinson, who is currently aiding the boy's at Boiled Sports drinking problem by putting up some flat out Threetian numbers, 47.5% completion rate with 2 TD's and 4 INT's. What he will do from time to time is scramble, which will likely be the source of some ARG moments as he sits in the pocked with time then decides to go ahead and just run 12 yards for that first down.
If you're having night-sweats about Justin Siller taking snaps, he is still out with a high ankle sprain.
The rest of the Purdue offense is, well, not good. They've been demolished by injury this year, with their star wide Keith Smith out, the aforementioned Siller out, and OJ Ross out. Compounding this is Purdue's penchant for allowing sacks - they're ranked 45th in sacks allowed. So what's a team to do? Run the ball.
Dan Dierking leads the rushing attack, but (almost) litrerally every single player on Purdue's roster gets a shot at carrying the ball. Rob Henry is used as a running back. Wide receivers. Tight ends. 3rd year Engineering students. Everyone gets a crack at it. Meanwhile, the offensive line is starting a defensive end, which - from the great Michigan experience of 2008 - ain't good. Somehow, though, somehow:
This rickety contraption wouldn't be street legal in Bangkok but Danny Hope's managed to eke a somewhat good running game out of it. You will yawn expansively at this given Michigan's numbers: they are 39th nationally at about 4.5 YPC. Okay, vast quantities of those yards came against Northwestern and Minnesota and Ohio State hit them over the head and Robinson and Dierking combined for 86 yards on 28 carries against Wisconsin. But still: 4.5 YPC in a car with wheels made of toothpaste. This is MacGuyver level coaching.
The Michigan defense will do well to load up against the run, and hope that S. Robinson can't throw to save his life. This will not go well, as S. Robinson will likely have the best game of his young career against Michigan. However, with the improvements made in last week's game (you know - the one that we gave up 65 points in?), the defense just might be able to stop Purdue provided Purdue does their part by stopping themselves. Mouton might be out - he's 50% chance of play according to the press release. This is a problem, and you will likely see significant amounts of Obi Ezeh or Craig Roh playing linebacker, each equally wretch-inducing in their own special way. Hopefully Mike Martin is able to abuse the Purdue center, who recently moved to that position.
Is better. But not by much. They clock in at 39th in Yard per Carry allowed on the ground, which actually isn't that bad. However, at this point the Michigan run offense has become the ball of knives/ninjas that was promised 3 years ago. Rock, Paper, Scissors, Candlestick, Wait Candlestick?, Touchdown. Purdue isn't going to stop the Michigan offense. This is where we again go UP TEMPO because my job is being...well...a job. Provided that Purdue doesn't completely pwn the Michigan offensive line - and it's possible due to Kerrigan and his 7.5 sacks on the year - Denard is going to go nuts. If Purdue only keeps 1 or 0 high safeties, Denard is going to go nuts through the air ala Illinois. If they keep 2 high safeties, Denard is going to go nuts on the ground.
Denard=Nuts, is the takeaway from this segment. Denard. Will. Go. Nuts. Also - should we lose, this segment will likely be fodder for Purdue bloggers everywhere, so there's that.
I was livid with the decision to kick a field goal on 4th and 3 from our own 27, or whatever that was. This team should only be kicking field goals in the RAREST of cases where down and distance prevent even the small chance of conversion.
A lot has been made of Gallon's return skills - are his hands too much a liability? I say yes. Let's give somebody else a go back there, hmmm?
Michigan wins 45-28. We FINALLY get that 14 point advantage early, and never look back.
Gametime Drink of Choice
I can't resist the call of fourloko. Or is it 4loko? What are the kids drinking these days?
Inanimate Object Threat Level
Of course, after last week, I'm BACK ON BOARD BABY! HIDE YO REMOTES! HIDE YO CATS!
Bright red, naturally.
And apologies. Again, job related duties (I just said doodie) prevent a real life preview. I will try, and likely fail, to do better next week.