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Game thread: No. 2 Michigan vs. Purdue

Michigan has the opportunity to cement itself as the top dog in the Big Ten once again.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Team 143 of the Michigan Wolverines is on a history-shaping mission this season. After curb-stomping Ohio State at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2000, the Maize and Blue are seeking its first back-to-back Big Ten Championships since the 2003-04 seasons.

As traduced as the Big Ten West has been this season, the Purdue Boilermakers pose a worthy challenge for the Wolverines. Nicknamed the “Spoilermakers” because of their well-documented history of beating top-rated teams, Purdue has been on a tear in this respect. The Boilermakers have won three straight games against top-three opponents, the best such streak in America.

Furthermore, Aidan O’Connell and Charle Jones — arguably the Big Ten’s best receiver — will require the Michigan defense’s undivided attention to slow down the passing game. Purdue’s game plan will likely rely heavily on these two childhood friends, as this is not the average Big Ten West offense.

Leading up to tonight’s game, we learned the terrible news that Blake Corum will undergo season-ending knee surgery. Donovan Edwards’ two-touchdown, 216-yard bulldozing of Ohio State’s rush defense indicates Michigan can still run the ball without Corum. But it cannot be argued against that, in many ways, Corum became the heart, soul, and face of the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan will now seek to expand the offensive attack: a manifestation of which we witnessed in last week’s beatdown of the Buckeyes.

Game Info:

Teams: No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022
Location: Lucus Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN
Kickoff: 8 p.m.
Television: FOX
Radio: Michigan/IMG Sports Network (to listen online, click here)
Spread: Michigan -16.5; O/U: 52.0

Today’s question: Will Michigan continue to diversify its offensive repertoire?

Ohio State was largely successful in its efforts to shut down Michigan’s rushing attack in the first three quarters of The Game, but it came at a stark price. The Wolverines gashed Ohio State for three passing touchdowns of 45 yards or greater, showcasing an aerial explosiveness not seen in the Big Ten slate until that point. Whether J.J. McCarthy and the wideouts took that long to find their rhythm or the coaching staff was conserving passing schemes for the Buckeyes, the fact of the matter is that Michigan has shown growth in an area it has struggled with all season long. Without Corum, McCarthy will be called upon to make more plays against defenses like TCU, Georgia, or, if the cards fall right, Ohio State again.