2011 Michigan Wolverines Football

Big Ten football fans

Michigan Wolverins @ Northwestern Wildcats Football Preview



In the year 2000, Northwestern and Michigan produced one of the great shootouts in the history of college football. This weekend, the two teams have a definite chance to replicate that fireworks-filled magic at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois.

The Michigan Wolverines take a 5-0 record into their first road game of the season Saturday evening at Northwestern. The Wolverines hammered Minnesota 58-0 in their conference opener last week in Ann Arbor. Quarterback Denard Robinson once again led the Michigan offense, this time through the air as well as on the ground. Robinson completed his first 11 pass attempts and finished 15-of-19 for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He avoided an interception for the first time this season.

The Wildcats absorbed a stomach-punch loss last week at Illinois to fall to 2-2. After leading 28-10 in the third quarter, Northwestern allowed Illinois to take a 31-28 lead before scoring with 1:15 left to pull ahead 35-31. The Wildcats couldn’t hold on, however, allowing Illinois to drive the length of the field and score on a Nathan Scheelhaase run with 13 seconds left to win 38-35. Northwestern has lost two in a row, but the fact that the Wildcats engaged in a shootout means that they could find themselves in a high-grade firefight with the Maize and Blue this weekend.

In early November of 2000, Northwestern and Michigan – playing in Evanston – created one of the more enduring memories in recent Big Ten history. Northwestern raced 85 yards in just over two minutes to score on its opening possession, and Michigan responded by steaming 67 yards for a score in the very next instant. The two offenses traded haymakers for roughly four hours, and when Northwestern quarterback Zak Kustok hit Sam Simmons for an 11-yard score with 20 seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats to a 54-51 lead, the unavoidable truth became real: The team with the last, best chance to score became the team that won the game. The Wildcats and Wolverines combined for 105 points and 1,189 yards that day. We probably won’t see THOSE kinds of numbers, but there should be plenty of points and yards to be found in the 2011 edition of this conference clash.


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Senior quarterback Dan Persa returned from injury for Northwestern last week, and completed 10 of 14 passes for 123 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Persa connected with Jeremy Ebert for three touchdowns.

The Wildcats’ run-heavy attack took a hit last week when running back Mike Trumpy was lost for the season with a knee injury. But with Persa back, Northwestern may be able to pass more effectively. Backup quarterback Kain Colter may take Persa’s place on some series, as he did last week.


By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer