Posted on November 18, 2017, by Travis Pulver
College football fans that tuned in to watch the Michigan-Wisconsin game knew that they were not going to see a high-flying, high-scoring, shoot out of a game. This game was going to be a low scoring affair. Neither team would throw much, and both would lean heavily on their defense to help them win the game.
Fans knew that the winner would likely be whoever succeeded in running the ball. If neither could run, the winner would have to get their passing game on track.
Quarterback Brandon Peters played well enough in the first half as did the Wolverines defense. The only slip Michigan made was on special teams when it allowed Nick Nelson to return a punt 50 yards for a touchdown. The score gave Wisconsin a 7-0 lead. But before the half ended, Peters led the Michigan offense on a seven play, 84-yard touchdown to tie the game up at 7-7.
After one half of play, it was safe to say the game was living up to expectations. The defense for both teams was dictating the flow of the game. Whoever was going to win would need to generate a little offense in the second half. Either that or catch a break.
As it turns out, it was a bad break for the Wolverines that turned the tide of the game.
Late in the third quarter, down 14-10, Brandon Peters was slammed to the turf by Wisconsin’s Andrew Van Ginkel. He left the field on the cart and did not return to the game.
“Brandon was shaken up on the play,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game (CBSlocal). “He’s back now getting some tests over at the hospital. He’s going to meet us at the plane, and we’ll know more after we see him.”
The Badgers wasted no time making sure the momentum stayed on their side. Five plays after Michigan punted, Kendric Pryor ran the ball from 32-yards out to make the score 21-10 with 24 seconds to play in the third quarter.
With how the Michigan offense was playing, overcoming the deficit wasn’t going to be easy. But with John O’Korn back at quarterback for Peters, it would be even harder. As it turns out, he was able to generate two first downs on his first drive, and that was it.
The Badgers added a late field goal to make the final 24-10, Wisconsin.
If anyone wondered whether Wisconsin’s run defense was really the best, they shouldn’t anymore. The Badgers held Michigan’s highly ranked run game to 58 yards on 37 attempts. Wisconsin’s freshman running back, Jonathan Taylor, proved that he’s player fans should keep an eye on in the future with 132 yards on 19 carries.
Alex Hornibrook is not a great quarterback. But with Taylor in the backfield and the No. 1 defense in the country, he doesn’t need to be. The Badgers will try to finish the regular season undefeated next week when they take on Minnesota.
Michigan’s defense played well, but the offense certainly did not. With the injuries they’ve had at quarterback, there isn’t much that can be done for this season. But if the offense continues to disappoint next season, Jim Harbaugh will get fired.
The Wolverines are not going to find it any easier to generate offense next week against Ohio State’s defense in “The Game.”