After four games, including two narrow victories against lesser opponents Akron and Connecticut, the Michigan Wolverines have been called a middle of the road team.
Now the No. 19 team in the country puts up its undefeated mark against Big Ten rival Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.
The Golden Gophers questioned Michigan’s play, and asked why some have called their opponent elite at all this season.
"The fact they almost lost to Akron, they're human," Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman said to the Detroit News. "You know what I mean? Everybody praises them to be elite and I just feel like they're a regular football team."
Both teams are hovering around sixth to eighth in every major Big Ten category, with luck and a few bounces the only thing really separating them at this point.
The Wolverines needed 10 fourth quarter points to silence Connecticut in a 24-21 road victory two weeks ago, and hung on in the final moments the week prior in a 28-24 squeaker against Akron.
Minnesota started Big Ten play last week and fell to Iowa 23-7, failing to generate any semblance of an offense with 165 total yards.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has thrown for 801 yards and seven touchdowns, and is tied with running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for the team lead in rushing scores with five. But Gardner has been plagued by turnovers, with a Big Ten leading eight interceptions.
The Gophers have the nation’s 23rd ranked rushing attack, posting 231.8 yards a game thanks to the triumvirate of rushers David Cobb, Rodrick Williams Jr., and Mitch Leidner.
Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson has also chipped in 203 rushing yards and three scores to go along with 380 yards and two touchdowns in the air. Nelson has also tossed four interceptions.
Upperclassmen linebackers Brennen Beyer and Cameron Gordon each have two sacks for the Wolverines, and might be able to shut down Minnesota’s ground attack, while junior defensive back Blake Countess is tied for second in the Big Ten with three interceptions.
Betting Odds: Michigan is favored by 20 points.
Over/Under: 50 points.
Prediction: Michigan 30, Minnesota 17