The Wisconsin Badgers are limping into their tilt against Michigan after losing to Notre Dame 41-13 on Saturday, dropping to 1-2 on the season. No. 14 Michigan heads into Madison 4-0 after narrowly beating Rutgers 20-13.
After a challenging year on defense in 2020, Michigan revamped their defensive staff which is now spearheaded by defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst told the media on Monday that he’s impressed with the speed in which Michigan’s defense is playing with.
“There are a lot of individuals that you recognize, you know, and because of those two things you respect, you know the type of players they are,” Chryst said. “Right now they’re playing really fast, which to me means they’re confident in what they do — they’re flying around and they’ve got guys that can make plays.”
Michigan currently ranks No. 34 in total defense and No. 4 in scoring defense. Offensively, Michigan has had one of the best rushing attacks in the nation, sitting at No. 5 in rushing offense. Passing the football Michigan ranks near the bottom in passing offense at No. 116, but is at No. 16 in team passing efficiency.
Chryst believes Michigan has a variety of weapons that can attack all quadrants of the field, and an offensive line that’s playing well.
“They’re a really good offense. I think they’ve got a number of different weapons, I think they’re playing really well up front — I think they’ve got enough skilled players, they’re gonna make you defend the whole field,” Chryst said. “The sign of a good offense if defensively you’ve gotta defend the whole field. You can’t put your attention on one thing or the other, you gotta play honest.”
Wisconsin’s defense ranks No. 1 in rushing defense and No. 2 in total defense heading into their matchup vs. Michigan, but is just No. 66 in total offense and ranked No. 124 in team passing efficiency. We’ll see which team has the greater strengths on Saturday.