The No. 25 Michigan Wolverines welcome Big Ten punching bag Illinois to Ann Arbor on Saturday, October 13th in Week 7 college football action. Michigan has won the last two meetings between these teams, including a thrilling 67-65 overtime victory in 2010.
The Wolverines cruised to a 31-14 road victory last season as a 1-point underdog. Denard Robinson scored on a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 192 yards and a score to lead the way. The defense limited the Illini to 214 total yards while forcing three turnovers.
Oddsmakers have installed a line of Michigan -23.5 over Illinois and a total set of 49.5 points.
Despite a pair of early losses to two of the best teams in the country, the Wolverines (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) still have most of their goals ahead of them. Their setbacks against Alabama and Notre Dame certainly have them battle-tested heading into the Big Ten portion of their schedule.
Michigan put together its most complete performance of the season in a 44-13 road victory at Purdue on Saturday in their conference opener. The defense allowed just 213 total yards while forcing four turnovers, including a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ramon Taylor.
The offense amassed 409 total yards, including 304 yards on the ground as the Wolverines ran wild. Heisman Trophy candidate Denard Robinson rushed for 235 yards, while also completing 8 of 16 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Fitgerald Toussaint scored two rushing touchdowns, but he was limited to 19 yards on 17 carries.
The Wolverines rank 74th in the country in total offense, including 27th in rushing (208.4 yards/game). They are a very respectable 20th in total defense (311.8 yards/game) with their strength being their ability to stop the pass. They rank 7th in pass defense (155.0 yards/game).
Robinson is completing 53.9 percent of his passes for 942 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has rushed for 676 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 7.5 yards/carry.
The Fighting Illini (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) are clearly in rebuilding mode in 2012. Their lone wins have come at home over Western Michigan and Charleston Southern, which is unimpressive to say the least. Their four losses have all come by 17 points or more, including a 24-52 setback at home to Louisiana Tech.
Illinois was more competitive last week, but it still lost 14-31 at Wisconsin as a 14.5-point underdog. This was a 10-7 game entering the 4th quarter before the Badgers pulled away by scoring 21 points in the final period. They held the Illini to 284 total yards while forcing two turnovers.
Nathan Scheelhaase led the Illini offense by completing 18 of 29 passes for 178 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 84 yards and a score. Once again, the Illini simply had to rely too much on Scheelhaase as they have yet to have another playmaker step to the forefront.
The Illini rank 102nd in the country in total offense (338.8 yards/game) and 36th in total defense (351.3 yards/game). Scheelhaase is completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 659 yards with three touchdowns and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 95 yards and two scores through an injury-plagued 2012 campaign thus far. Ryan Lankford has a team-high 25 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns.
The Fighting Illini are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games following a ATS loss, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 4 road games. The Wolverines are 8-24 ATS in their last 32 conference games.
The Under is 6-2 in Fighting Illini last 8 conference games. The Over is 16-5 in Wolverines last 21 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in this series. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Michigan.