Steve, Craig, Tim, and Steve B welcome you to The Wolverine Den! For a preview of the next game, see below. For a look back (and to see the incriminating pictures), choose a game on the Last Week menu. If you plan on attending a tailgate at The Den for the first time, see the blog menu for Den Law and the house rules to many of the usual tailgate "activities". Click on Buy Gear for TWD shirt! See you on Saturday.
This Week at The Wolverine Den
Nebraska at Michigan (Maize Out!)
September 22, 2017 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Michigan starts the Big Ten season on Saturday against Nebraska at Michigan Stadium. Nebraska comes into the game winless this year, losing two games at home in games that they were favored. But Nebraska has been an underperforming team for the last 15 years. Nebraska has lost at least 4 games in every season since 2003. Last year, the Cornhuskers were a dismal 4-8. They have now changed coaches for the 4th time since Tom Obsorne retired after the 1997 season. Scott Frost, the QB of the Huskers on that 1997 team is now the coach after leading Central Florida to an undefeated season last year. Frost was the guy who publicly pleaded for a “share” of the 1997 National Championship as a gift to honor retiring coach Osborne.
Hash brown casserole
Cheese & crackers
Pulled pork sandwiches
Nebraska uses a run-based option offense that looks to use a running QB as one of the options. Freshman QB Adrian Martinez fits the mold of the offense but was injured in Nebraska’s first game and missed last week’s game. He has reportedly practiced this week but it is unclear whether he will play on Saturday. With a healthy Martinez, Nebraska could keep this game close. But if he can’t go, the Huskers will turn to walk-on Andrew Bunch. Last week against Troy, Bunch was unable to effectively run the offense and had only 5 yards rushing on 10 carries. He also threw 2 interceptions. Nebraska rotates several running backs with Greg Bell as the starter. The rushing attack has been successful, averaging 258 yards per game. Nebraska has limited depth on the offensive line and at receiver. Nebraska is averaging only 23.5 points per game to rank 102nd in the nation (out of 129 teams).
The Nebraska defense has been stingy against the run, ranking 20th in the nation in rush defense. But their pass defense has been porous. Last year the Huskers allowed over 50 points in three games. His year they are yielding 28.5 points per game to rank 87th in the nation. Better, but still not good. Nebraska is also committing more penalties than Michigan (hard to believe). And special teams have been a weakness.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Chase Winovich is now 17th on Michigan’s all-time list for career tackles-for-loss with 35. He is on pace to finish his career in Michigan’s top 5. Who are the top 5 in tackles-for-loss in their Michigan career?
It is the Big Ten opener for both teams. Last week, the Big Ten was 6-7 with Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, Nebraska, Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland all losing. Michigan needs to continue to improve over the next three weeks before the Wisconsin, MSU, Penn State gauntlet begins. With the running backs banged up and Nebraska have a stout rush defense, this is a game that we should unleash Shea Patterson and the passing game. A balanced offense is usually most effective but for Saturday, we should see more on the passing side. Some are calling this a trap game for Michigan and that it may be closer than expected. I don’t see it. Michigan should dominate in all phases while correcting some of the mistakes from last week. Even if Adrian Martinez plays, he will be hampered by his knee injury. Either way, it should be a comfortable win for the Wolverines.
Michigan has won 47 of the last 50 Big Ten opening games, dating back to 1968. The series with Nebraska is tied at 4-4-1.
The Wolverines are a 17½ point favorite.
Great Moments in Wolverines - Cornhuskers History
- 1986 Fiesta Bowl: Jamie Morris rushed for 156 yards and Jim Harbaugh scored two TDs to lead the Wolverines to a 27-23 victory and a #2 national ranking. Garland Rivers intercepted a pass in the end zone with 28 seconds remaining to clinch the victory.
- 2011: In the first Big Ten game between these traditional powers, Michigan dominated in every phase of the game in a 45-17 win. Fitzgerald Toussaint had 138 yards rushing while Denard Robinson scored 2 TDs and passed for 2 TDs.