Gophers vs. Michigan: Minnesota will win if ...
6:30 p.m., Michigan Stadium TV: Ch. 9 Radio: 100.3-FM Line: Michigan by 15andfrac12; Series: Michigan leads 74-25-3
About the Wolverines: Michigan is retooling in coach Jim Harbaughs third year. The defense ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and fourth nationally, but total offense (374.8 yards per game) is ninth in the Big Ten. With Wisconsin and Ohio State remaining, the Wolverines (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) cant afford a third hiccup.
Player to watch: Brandon Peters took over for ineffective John OKorn in the first half of a victory over Rutgers last week and most likely will start. Peters led three touchdown drives, completed 10 of 14 passes and is more of a threat to run.
Gophers offense vs. Wolverines defense: Michigan has a big edge here, with All-America tackle Maurice Hurst, solid end Chase Winovich and speedy linebacker Devin Bush leading a unit that ranks second nationally against the pass. Advantage: Michigan
Gophers defense vs. Wolverines offense: Defense has kept Minnesota in every game, and the unit is good enough to slow a Wolverines offense with a QB making his first start. Keep the run game in check, and the Gophers have a chance. Advantage: Gophers
Special teams: Michigans Quinn Nordin is 14-for-17 on field goals, including 4-for-5 from beyond 40 yards, but Michigans punting game ranks 12th in the Big Ten. The Gophers have the better punter in Ryan Santoso (43.7 yards per punt), while kicker Emmit Carpenter (11-for-15) hasnt been as reliable. Advantage: Michigan
Intangibles: Though the Gophers are the Big Tens least-penalized team and have a better turnover margin (plus-5 to minus-4), Michigan gets to play this game in the Big House. Advantage: Michigan
RJ’s prediction: Michigan 23, Gophers 10 Defense keeps Gophers tight, but they will need more from the passing game to pull off this upset.