Wisconsin Game Shows U-M Strengths, and Concerns

(AP Photo/Paul Warner)

Former Asst. Recruiting Coord. Mark Ouimet: "Look, I said it'd be a difficult game, physical. Wisconsin fought hard -- they're playing for a bowl game. I predicted a 6 point win, so I was close." Here are Mark's keys to the game -- and look-ahead keys vs. OSU too!

"Look, I said it'd be a difficult game, physical. Both teams played hard . Wisconsin was playing for a bowl game. Wisconsin fought hard. They just got themselves in hole -- a turnover leading to a 14-0 deficit. I predicted a 6 point win, so I was close."

"What really won game -- that 78 yard third quarter drive for a touchdown. That drive took 8:43 off the clock. THAT drive beat Wisconsin, that drive alone. That drive was the fifth longest in number of plays (17) since 1974, and sixth longest time-wise (8:43) since 1978. Perry, Joppru, Braylon Edwards, BJ Askew, Ronald Bellamy -- all played a role in the drive. And Navarre of course."

Mark, how do you see things coming out of the Wisconsin game?

"There were strong points and some concerns."

A concern:

"Let's start out with what concerned me about the game: our special teams did not have a good game. Even Adam Finley was average. I thought it'd be a field position game, so our special teams made it hard for us to win. Jeremy LeSueur did not have a good game, and our coverage broke down after a short Finley punt to allow a punt return for a touchown."

NOT a concern:

"One thing that did NOT concern me: John Navarre. He had a so-so game, but Michigan was very good on third down: 7 of 14, 50%. That's the most important thing. Wisconsin was only 4 of 13 -- and that's the main reason Michigan won."

A concern:

"The other thing that concerned me -- turnovers. Michigan turned the ball over three times -- they were lucky there were no Wisconsin points scored off it. By the way, Wisconsin turned it over twice and Michigan scored both times."

NOT a concern:

"Michigan's running game. The Wolverine's ran the ball really well, which put pressure on Wisconsin's defense. Chis Perry ran for 177 yards, and Michigan gained 5.5 yards per play overall. Michigan's rushing game has been good ever since the Iowa game -- it was the third game since then that Michigan has had a 100 yard rusher."

"TO BEAT OSU: Perry has to have another good game -- next week will be another field position game."

A concern:

"Wisconsin's rushing yardage -- 218, including 154 (5.9 yards per carry) from Anthony Davis, who was back from his injury. That is what kept Wisconsin in the game. In fact, a team usually will win with that rushing yardage. Neither could team could stop the run Saturday."

"TO BEAT OSU: the Michigan rushing defense has to be better. OSU has to be held closer to 100 than 200 yards rushing."

Not a concern:

"Bennie Joppru/Brayon Edwards/Ronald Bellamy have become a very good pass-catching trio -- they had 15 catches between them Saturday . Joppru has become a big key to the team -- he keeps the chains moving. He tied his career high seven receptions."

"TO BEAT OSU: Joppru has to have another strong game."

A concern:

"Michigan lost time of position. As I said, in a field position game time of possession is a key stat."

Not a concern:

"Michigan totally shut down Wisconsin's passing attack. They passed for just 60 yds, and Bollinger was 7 for 20, Michigan's defensive backfield played extremely well. In fact, ever since the Notre Dame game the DB's have played very well -- Coach Austin has done a great job. Marlin Jackson had another strong game."

"Another strong point: Victor Hobson showed why he was preseason All American candidate, with nine tackles and an extremely strong fourth quarter. Hobson has played well all season. Shantee Orr played well too ... he and Larry Stevens had sacks, and Shawn Lazarus had one too -- Lazarus has been playing better recently than earlier in the season."

Looking ahead to OSU:

"We'll do a full preview tomorrow. But for now, a couple things.
-- Michigan needs to shore up special teams and the rushing defense -- both crucial in a field position game.
-- Joppru and Perry have to have strong games."

"One last thing: do you think the BCS is praying that OSU beats Michigan?"

GoBlueWolverine.com Recommended Stories