Eighth-ranked Michigan looks to stay unbeaten when it hits the road to face Purdue in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Saturday. The Wolverines are ranked fifth nationally in total defense after allowing an average of 208 yards per game after wins over then-No. 22 Florida (33-17), Cincinnati (36-14) and Air Force (29-13) but quarterback Wilton Speight hopes to kick start a unit which has scored just one touchdown in 10 trips inside the 20-yard line.
“Our team is moving the ball … and I think the red zone touchdowns will come,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. “We’ll just keep forging ahead and keep making improvements.” The Boilermakers have won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 2012 following a 35-3 road victory against Missouri. Purdue is averaging 39.5 points over its last two games under first-year coach Jeff Brohm and hopes the offense keeps clicking as the Boilermakers hope to knock off a ranked opponent for the first time in six seasons. “You never know what can happen on gameday,” Brohm told reporters. “We start off with the grand daddy of them all against Michigan and our guys are excited about this matchup and it will be a true test for us.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Michigan -10
ABOUT MICHIGAN (3-0): Ty Isaac rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries in the win against Air Force before suffering an abdominal sprain, but is expected to play Saturday while wide receiver Tarik Black is out indefinitely with a broken foot. Donovan Peoples-Jones showed why he was ranked the top wide receiver recruit in 2016 as he returned a punt 79 yards for his first collegiate touchdown to go along with 52 receiving yards against the Falcons. Freshman kicker Quinn Nordin was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week after he equaled a program record with five field goals, including a 49-yard attempt, just before halftime.
ABOUT PURDUE (2-1): The Boilermakers continued to rotate quarterbacks as David Blough went 22-of-28 through the air for 187 yards and accounted for two touchdowns while Elijah Sindelar completed 4-of-6 passes for 85 yards and a score in the win over Missouri. Freshman wide receiver Jackson Anthrop caught a team-high six passes for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Tigers to extend his TD streak to three games. Purdue’s 107 points in its first three games under Brohm is the fourth-best under a new head coach, while the three points surrendered against the Tigers was the program’s fewest against an FBS opponent in 12 years.
1. Michigan has won eight of the last 10 meetings with Purdue.
2. Blough has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 15 straight games.
3. Nordin has made 11-of-13 field goal attempts this season.
PREDICTION: Michigan 31, Purdue 20