Purdue and Their 500 Pound Drum

Forget that Michigan is 5-1 against Joe Tiller.
Forget that Ohio State ripped Purdue apart last week.
Forget what you hear about Purdue's spread offense not being potent.
Forget that their most prized possession is a 10 foot, 500 pound bass drum.

None of that matters. While Michigan has had some success against Tiller and Purdue in recent years, there's nothing about this game that makes me feel comfortable. I like that its at home, because regardless of how Ohio State dominated them last week in West Lafayette, I'd much rather not travel there this week.

Purdue is averaging over 450 yards of offense this year...well, until last week. But that doesn't mean they're just going to forget how to play after one loss. Their spread attack in comparison to other one's we've seen this year (i.e. Oregon, App State) is simply not as fast, but is every bit as capable to putting up huge yards and lots of points.

But what makes Purdue's spread different is that their QB doesn't usually scramble from the pocket. Not up the middle, not out to the flats...nothing. There's a lot of play action, a lot of RB hand off from the shotgun...but they still huddle up. And that's the difference. Spread attacks should be run and gun, no huddle and should showcase a mobile QB. Purdue runs what I like to call the "Big Ten spread". It looks and feels like a spread...but its really not. So that favors Michigan's D.

Given that it has been 43 years since Purdue has won in Ann Arbor (thank you very much Bob Griese), and that they have only looked good this year while playing really inferior competition (Toledo, E. Illinois, C. Michigan, Minnesota, ND), I think we got to see the real Purdue last week. But I will give them credit, they sorta hung with a very good OSU team and at least kept it close for much of the game.

Odds makers say Michigan is giving Purdue 6. I like Michigan in this one. I think it will be close(UM by 10), but I also think where Michigan may struggle a bit defensively (at least in the first half), the offense should be able to move the ball. Purdue does have a good LB in Anthony Haygood, and he will likely be shadowing Hart all day long. But if Hart can shake him like he did with Dan Connor of Penn State, look for him to get 30 or so carries for 150-200 yards with a couple scores.

Henne will throw about 20-25 passes and complete maybe 15-18 of them for a good 250 yards and 2-3 TDs....a good, but typical outing for the senior. I hope....really hope that Mario will looks like the Mario of last year. But should he struggle to get open...I really like Arrington in this game. The senior has proven to be a great alternative for Henne to look to while Mario has been covered. He gets open in the middle of the field and has great hands and vision to get yards after the catch.

The kicking game is hopefully on the mend with K.C. Lopata replacing Gingell. But what I really wanted to see the past two weeks was a reliable 2nd string RB emerge...but that really didn't happen. The maize and blue have 8 running backs listed on the roster. I really like Minor and Carlos Brown, when they don't fumble (and when they're not returning punts)...and Grady when he's healthy. But at least some other guys are getting some looks. But is there a better option on the roster? Mouton, Potempa...we're looking at you!

Anyways, 12:00 kickoff, and hopefully the last time the maize and blue will grace the airwaves of the Big Ten Network. With a win this week over the #24 team, and #21 FSU losing last night, Scot Loeffer Inc proclaims Michigan will once again return to the top 25. Ahh the good old days.

So, tune to BTN or find a bar that has it and enjoy the game this week. And for all you alums, its homecoming...so toss a few back for the ole' U of M.

Go Blue!

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