Michigan 45, Illinois 0 (FINAL): No. 25 Michigan vs. Illinois: A comprehensive guide to our coverage
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
POSTGAME GRADES: Your chance to rate Michigan's performance against Illinois
WHO: Illinois (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) at No. 25 Michigan (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten).
WHERE: Ann Arbor.
WHEN: 3:35 p.m.
ODDS: Michigan is favored by 25 points according to sportsbook.com.
SERIES RECORD: Michigan leads 68-23-2.
LAST MEETING: Saturday, November 12, 2011. Michigan won 31-14 at Illinois.
WEATHER: Cloudy with a 60-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing from the Southwest at 10-15 m.p.h. Game-time temperature: Around 60.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: ABC; Radio: Michigan Sports Network (local affiliates).
AnnArbor.com coverage: It's homecoming in Ann Arbor and The University of Illinois Fighting Illini are trying to ruin the festivities. Luckily for No. 25 Michigan, it's coming off of arguably its best all around performance of the year after a huge win over Purdue last week. Illinois, meanwhile, have lost three straight and all three times have not been close. But how will the team's matchup against each other? Don't answer that yet. First check out everything you need to know in one easy to read package:
The style of Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan is considered "unorthodox." In the words of Craig Roh, "He’s like a Tootsie Pop...No matter how many times you talk to him, you really never know what you’re going to get until you get to the chocolatey center,” which is easily the most unorthodox way of describing someone's unorthodox style ever. Kyle Meinke thinks that "chocolatey center" will be key to a big Wolverines victory on Saturday.
Lately, Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase hasn't looked like the player who has thrown 30 touchdowns and ran for 11 more over the past two seasons, but after an 84-yard game on the ground last week at Wisconsin, the Illini finally believe they've got their old signal-caller back. Will the Wolverines be able to stop him?
Last week ESPN commentator and former Ohio State quarterback Kir Herbstreit picked Purdue to upset he Wolverines and thought the Boilermakers were Pasadena-bound. Now the popular personality thinks it's Michigan that might make a run for the roses.
Four games of action and an average of 42.3 yards in each one? Not exactly the type of numbers fans had hoped for out of Fitz. With a plethora of talented recruits on the roster, Kyle Meinke things it's time to explore some other options.
Will we see more Thomas Rawls against Illinois? What about Dennis Norfleet? Will the Michigan offense look like it did against Notre Dame, or Purdue? These questions and more answered in this week's homecoming version of "Ask Kyle."
There were high expectations for freshman tight end Devin Funchess right when he stepped on campus in Ann Arbor. He's done nothing but live up to the hype and more in his rookie campaign for the Wolverines. And According to offensive coordinator Al Borges, there's more to come.
Michigan junior running back has not had the 2012 season fans were expecting out of him so far. That came to a head with his 19 yard rushing performance against Purdue. So what's the fluke Fitz's breakout sophomore season or his junior campaign? Fans and writers discuss.
Al Borges commended Michigan starting running back by comparing him to...a baseball player that lays down a sacrifice bunt. Is this a compliment or an insult and what does it mean for Toussaint going forward? Will the junior running back get going against Illinois?
Many of the Michigan football players have long dreadlocks that flow past their shoulder pads, most famously, Denard Robinson. There is one less set of dreads in the Maize and Blue now that J.T. Floyd shaved his head. He said he hopes for a fresh start with the look.
Incase you haven't heard, the Michigan State Spartans will be visiting Ann Arbor next weekend. Brady Hoke might as well have not known about it because he refuses to talk about the game. Hoke is trying to avoid letting Illinois be a "trap game" and is doing so by not looking ahead.
Illinois is 104th in the nation in points per game through six games this season. Not so good. It's just one of many stats that will make an Illinois fan cringe, but a Michigan fan smile. Also of note, remember Illinois' 6-0 start last year? It's been 3-10 since.
Good news for the Michigan offense: According to Marcus Jackson of the Champaign News-Gazette, whose job it is to know such things, the Fighting Illini have not bought into the system of new defensive coordinator Tim banks yet. That could mean a lot of points for the Wolverines.
This and that:
- Michigan's Patrick Omameh soaks in surprise celebration at children's hospital after earning prestigious volunteer award
- MLIVE: After on-field fight, arrest ex-Michigan wide receiver Ron Bellamy suspends player, fires assistant from football team
- Former U-M Football co-captain Tom Coyle dies
- Michigan football recruit Michael Ferns helps teammate honor his late father
WHO YA GOT?
Associated Press Preview:
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Michigan can't afford to lose a game it is supposed to win during its quest to win a Big Ten title for the first time since 2004. Illinois can get an unexpected boost with an upset after getting blown out by Penn State and Wisconsin to open Big Ten play.
Michigan TB Fitzgerald Toussaint vs. Illinois' run defense. Michigan is determined to run Toussaint early and often, hoping to take some pressure off QB Denard Robinson on the ground. The Illini gave up 173 yards rushing in each of their last two losses to Wisconsin and Penn State.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MICHIGAN: Toussaint. After running for 1,091 last year, the junior has not been able to find his groove. Toussaint ran for just 19 yards on 17 carries in last week's win over Purdue and has just 169 yards rushing in four games this season.
ILLINOIS: QB Nathan Scheelhaase. He has bounced back from an ankle injury well enough to lead the team with 84 yards rushing, including a 5-yard TD, and 178 yards passing and another score in last week's loss to Wisconsin.
FACTS & FIGURES
If Michigan beats Illinois as expected, college football's winningest program will be going for win No. 900 next week against Michigan State, which has won the last four games in the rivalry. ... The Illini have lost their last three games by a combined score of 118-45. ... The Wolverines are 14-0 when they score at least 20 points with second-year coach Brady Hoke and are 0-4 when they score fewer than 20. ... Michigan beat Illinois 67-65 in their last meeting at the Big House two years ago, setting Big Ten records with 132 combined points and 1,237 yards of offense.
Around the Big Ten...and Ypsilanti
- Toledo (5-1) at Eastern Michigan (0-5): (Preview | EMU coverage)
- Iowa (3-2) at Michigan State (4-2): (Preview | MSU coverage)
- No. 8 Ohio State (6-0) at Indiana (2-3): (Preview)
- Northwestern (5-1) at Minnesota (4-1): (Preview)
- Wisconsin (4-2) at Purdue (3-2): (Preview)