Northwestern-Michigan Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 06, 2012
Northwestern and Michigan have very thin margins for error if they want to remain in the hunt for the Big Ten's Legends Division title. For one of them, the hopes of playing in the conference title game will suffer a serious blow Saturday in Ann Arbor. Northwestern is 24th in the BCS standings in its first appearance in those rankings since Dec. 7, 2008. The Wildcats (7-2, 3-2), coming off a bye week after a 28-17 win over Iowa on Oct. 27, are a game behind first-place Michigan and No. 18 Nebraska in the division. Kain Colter ran for a season-high 166 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 80 yards and another score against the Hawkeyes, earning Big Ten player of the week honors. Venric Mark ran for 162 yards to become Northwestern's first 1,000-yard rusher since Tyrell Sutton in 2006. "I'm excited but I'm not overly excited right now," Mark told the team's official website. "We still have more games to play but I have to give credit to the offensive line." Mark is sixth in the FBS in all-purpose yards, averaging 184.1 per game. Michigan (6-3, 4-1) was without its biggest rushing threat, quarterback Denard Robinson, but still won 35-13 at Minnesota last Saturday. Robinson sat out because of an ulnar nerve injury, snapping a 34-game start streak. The Wolverines actually posted their highest point total in three weeks with junior Devin Gardner under center for his first career start. Gardner went 12 of 18 for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while also running for a touchdown. However, coach Brady Hoke sounded encouraged about how well Robinson is recovering from the elbow nerve problem, which affects how well he can grip and throw the football. Robinson wasn't limited in practice Sunday. ''He was able to do everything,'' said Hoke, who says Robinson will start if he's healthy enough. In that scenario, Gardner would shift back to wide receiver. He's caught 16 passes for 266 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. Nebraska owns the tiebreaker over Michigan after beating the Wolverines two weeks ago, so Michigan likely needs to win its last three and get help from the Cornhuskers to play for the conference championship. For Michigan to get a victory Saturday, it will probably need to stop Northwestern's formidable ground attack. Behind Mark and Colter, the Wildcats are averaging 237.6 rushing yards and the Wolverines have been susceptible to the ground game, giving up 143.2 a contest. Northwestern is averaging 162.3 yards through the air, 113th in the FBS. It seems unlikely to get that passing attack going against Michigan, owner of the best pass defense in the nation at 145.4 yards allowed per game. "I wouldn't say anything's really holding us back," receiver Christian Jones told the team's official website. "I'd say we've really established ourselves running. We've done really well running and if it's not broke, don't fix it." Michigan won the last meeting 42-24 in Evanston on Oct. 8, 2011, overcoming a 24-14 halftime deficit. Robinson was intercepted three times but ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The Wildcats took the last matchup at Michigan Stadium 21-14 on Nov. 15, 2008.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Twitter, Facebook report engagement decline during Super Bowl

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games


Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Daniel Bryan says goodbye to WWE during teary retirement speech

Paul George delivers great line about driving by Kobe Bryant

WATCH: Oklahoma beats Texas on Buddy Hield's 3-pointer

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker