The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines are looking to shake off are worst defensive performance of the season when they play host to the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. Speaking of shaky defenses, the Wildcats lost 56-7 in their most recent road game Will Michigan’s offense be explosive enough to cover the 23½-point spread in Saturday’s game? It will be a tough call for those who bet online.
|Game: Northwestern (3-3, 1-2) at Michigan (6-0, 3-0)
Location: Michigan Stadium
Time: Noon ET
The teams met just once from 2016-2020 with Michigan, a 14½-point favorite according to the college football odds, scoring all 13 points in the second half. The Wolverines won the game as Karan Higdon scored a five-yard touchdown with just over four minutes remaining to give Michigan a 20-17 win, marking the sixth time in the last nine meetings with Northwestern that the Wolverines failed to cover.
Michigan has won the last six matchups against Northwestern but is just 3-3 against the online gambling spread and 3-3 in the over/unders as well.
The Wolverines have covered just once in the last four home games against Northwestern.
While the teams are going in different directions, they do have at least one thing in common. The first black player to see the field for both the Wolverines and Wildcats was George Jewett, who played at Michigan in 1890 and 1892 before finishing his collegiate career at Northwestern. This will be the inaugural George Jewett Trophy Game.
Next game: vs. Minnesota
Northwestern, listed on the college football spread as 2½-point underdogs, took the lead for good on Marshall Lang’s two-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter while Andrew Clair’s three-yard scoring run was the only TD in the second half in the Wildcats’ 21-7 win over Rutgers. It was just the second time in six games that Northwestern covered the spread. It was also the fifth straight game the Wildcats alternated going over or under as they came nowhere close to the 45-point total.
Northwestern matched its season high with four quarterback sacks and the 11 tackles for loss were the most by the team since a Nov. 18, 2017, game against Minnesota. Defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore led the way with four tackles for loss and a sack.
Receiver Bryce Kirtz, who had 19 catches in the first five games, missed the Rutgers game. Running back Cam Porter, last year’s leading rusher, is out for the year.
Next game: at Michigan State
The Wolverines improved to 5-1 against the college football spread but it wasn’t easy. Michigan was a 2½-point favorite and needed a pair of Jake Moody field goals in the final three minutes to pull out the 32-29 victory over Nebraska.
Michigan had more than 200 yards rushing and passing for the third time this season. It is the first time the Wolverines accomplished that since the 2016 season.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said on his weekly radio show that receiver Roman Wilson as well as offensive linemen Zac Zinter and Trevor Keegan could return.
Betting on the Game
Michigan leads the Big Ten in rushing offense with an average of 246.5 yards per game. Northwestern is last in the conference in rushing defense, yards per rush allowed and rushing touchdowns allowed. Northwestern has allowed five rushing plays of at least 50 yards while no other Big Ten team has allowed more than two. If there is a silver lining for the Wildcats, they held Rutgers to 63 rushing yards two weeks after Nebraska ripped off 427 yards.
Michigan has scored on 25 of 26 trips to the red zone but nine of those drives ended in field goals. That has to be a point of emphasis with some huge tests coming up.
The Wolverines are looking for their first 7-0 start since 2016. Michigan defeated Rutgers by only seven points and Nebraska by three so it would be understandable if those who bet online lean toward taking Northwestern to score against the 23½-point spread.