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Posted on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Breaking down the Michigan-Purdue football game with Mike Carmin of the Journal and Courier

By Michael Rothstein

There's snake oil, angry introductions and two coaches who, even if they say differently, give off vibes that they don't like each other.

Since Rich Rodriguez arrived at Michigan, the Wolverines have added a new rival in the Big Ten: Purdue.

It probably helps matter, too, that the Boilermakers have beaten Michigan in back-to-back years. On Saturday, the Wolverines head to West Lafayette, Ind., to try and stop a three-game skid in the series. caught up with Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal and Courier to help break down what to expect from Purdue.

Q: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez called his post-game meeting with Danny Hope last year "in the past." Does Hope, who initiated the meeting, believe that as well? Or are both coaches just merely playing nice?

Mike Carmin: "Coaches don't play nice, and they don't forget. Danny Hope didn't forget what Rich Rodriguez said earlier in the 2009 season about watching the Big Ten regarding late hits and suspensions. I doubt that Rodriguez forgets about last year's post-game encounter come Saturday. Given the chance, I’m sure Rodriguez would love to add a late score."

Q: What is Purdue's quarterback situation right now? Would Hope really play Justin Siller -- who Michigan fans remember from his 2008 performance -- this week at quarterback?

MC: "Danny Hope would love to play Siller, but it's unlikely he's ready. His foot sprain -- that's what Hope calls it -- prevents Siller from running effectively. He would like to have Siller ready if something happens to freshman Sean Robinson, who is expected to receive his second start. He played better last week against Wisconsin, but had three costly interceptions in the second half. The plan was to redshirt Robinson this season. I doubt we'll see Rob Henry the rest of the season, unless it's a Wildcat play or two. Henry injured his right index finger against Ohio State and can't throw."

Q: Is Ryan Kerrigan like Brandon Graham was to the Michigan defense last year -- a standout player on a poor unit? What are his strengths and weaknesses?

MC: "Purdue's defense hasn't been great, but I wouldn't rank them as poor. Maybe after Saturday, they'll drop to that level after facing Michigan's offense. But Kerrigan never stops. He keeps going and going, and that's why pro scouts love him. They like his size, strength and speed. His weakness is he over pursues sometimes, gets caught inside and takes himself out of the play."

Q: What is the strength of this Purdue team?

MC: "The Boilermakers seem to have been very inconsistent this year. If the offense has a strength -- and there aren’t many -- it would be the running game. The offensive line has remained intact and been the stabilizing factor in an otherwise injury-riddled season. But opponents have found a way to shut down the running game and force the Boilermakers to throw. Defensively, they pressure the quarterback and make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage."

Q: What is the best case/worst case scenario for Saturday? In other words, what does Purdue have to do to win? How do they end up getting blown out?

MC: "Best case: Purdue controls the clock with its running game, doesn't turn the ball over and Michigan's offense never sees the field. That's not realistic, but the Boilermakers have to limit the Wolverines' scoring chances. Worst case: It becomes a shootout and Michigan runs up and down the field, forcing Purdue to match point-for-point.

"It's unlikely this offense can keep up if the Wolverines are at their best offensively."

Follow Mike Carmin's work at the Journal and Courier's website, on his blog or on Twitter or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

@maizenbludoc: I thought the objective was for the offense to score more points than the opponent. Otherwise, your team would lose no matter how the defense plays.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

Unfortunately, Kerrigan is the perfect type of defensive end to help contain Robinson inside. The strength of that defense is the line, and they're not bad against the run. If Robinson passes well, the Wolverines could put up points. If he's scatter-armed, they won't reach 30. The defense? Purdue has really struggled throwing the ball and are tied for ninth in conference turnover ratio at -5 (Michigan is a rather distant 11th at -11). But they have run the ball well at times, with five straight 200-yard efforts against weaker competition. Michigan, in this case, is weaker competition. So I expect Purdue to go all out to contain Robinson's rushing efforts, dare him to throw the ball, and try and maintain a steady ball-control rushing attack. If the coaches have an answer and can stand not having five DBs on the field on rushing downs, this is a very winnable game. If not, we could be shocked with a 33-28 loss, or something along those lines.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

UM should learn to win on the road. UM was favored against PSU, and they sputtered. Tate is the scoring machine. Error prone as he takes passing risks but he can run the score.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 1:45 p.m.

RR's Purdue-Week Team Goals: 1) Team bus doesn't get lost en route to West Lafayette. 2) No vandalism at the the hotel by the team. 3) No cheerleaders are found in players' room on game morning. 4) Avoiding Danny Hope during team's warm-up. 5) Allowing Purdue to score quickly to minimize the time Blue's defense is on the field. 6) Taking the lead without needing 67 points. 7) Finishing the game in only 4 quarters. 8) Not having any players transfer to Purdue after they see the Purdue campus. 9) Having a non-contraversial post-game press conference. 10) Have to courage to return to Ann Arbor.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

Michigan's offense seems to beat itself with unforced TO and stupid penalties. Makes u wonder what the results would've been if it wasn't for all the mistakes. 12 TO vs MSU,IOWA,ILL. Also, the offense scores too quick= no help for the D. Michigan got lucky last week leaving ILL w/2minutes left in 4 quarter. One thing encouraging from last week's game against a good ILL. defense that M was able to got production in running game from other players beside DR. I'm not sure how much pounding can he take. Forcier is good but erratic at times. The bottom line is without a sound kicking game and a good D, the offense is limited esp. against very good D's. Michigan should win against Purdure but unfort. nothing is guarantee anymore with Big Blue. GO BLUE.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

Purdue is no more a rival than any other Big Ten team other than osu. Even msu in my opinion is a minor rival. Losses to msu have ended. Rivals are those who are capable of beating you every year and Michigan has only one of those. I think this is the last year of substandard Michigan teams because the defense should be vastly improved next year. Previous articles pointed out the coaches met since the on field incident last year when Purdue's coach made a fool of himself.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 11:13 a.m.

I'm hoping U-M can win decisively against Purdue but no Big Ten team is a pushover this year (except Minnesota, perhaps, who isn't on the schedule this year). I look for yet another shootout, with U-M winning 45-41 or something like that. If the weather is bad, make it 31-27. I think Rich Rodriguez will have the boys prepared because he wants this one badly because he can't stand the Purdue coach and because he wants to guarantee a winning record with losses most liekly coming up against Wisconsin and Ohio State in the final two games of the season.


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

Under the current defensive strategy I would have to say there is no strategy. If you look at cushion/coverage, tackling ability, pursuit angles, and gap assignment, you have to come to the conclusion that guys are just running around during practice and nothing is really happening in terms of coaching. The philosophy is get the other team off the field as fast as possible by not stopping them so we can get back on offense (facetious statement). Once again we as fans expect to see some objective difference from last week to this week in a positive fashion on defense. The question is, will the difference be negative for the 9th week in a row? I dont see mich. losing on a hook and lateral again but I would suspect that purdue will look like the 07' patriots on offense!


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

The part of this article that concerns me; the emphasis is still on the offense scoring more points than the opponent. While this may be effective against teams like Purdue, it does little against teams like Wisky and OSU. At what point does the defense become a factor in winning games (excluding the last minute stop against Illinois)?