In the Big Ten, a defense that can stop the run is worth its weight in gold. The Michigan Wolverines appear to have such a defense, led by their solid defensive line. That Wolverines defensive line went into Camp Randall last Saturday and held the Wisconsin Badgers to just 43 rushing yards as the Wolverines won 38-17.
Michigan’s next opponent, Nebraska, averages 243 rushing yards per game. As a result, the University of Michigan defensive line will have to show up again to help the favored Wolverines win. According to NCAAF betting lines from BetMGM, the line is currently Michigan (-3).
In the article below, I’ll dive into some of the numbers behind Michigan’s impressive defense and try to figure out if the team can cover against the Cornhuskers on Saturday.
Aidan Hutchinson Leads the Way for Michigan
Projected to be one of the first ten players picked in the 2022 NFL draft, Aidan Hutchinson is having a phenomenal senior season. In five games this season, Hutchinson has already racked up 5.5 sacks and 21 quarterback pressures. Hutchinson’s play is one reason why Michigan has only given up seven touchdowns this year.
In his NFL draft rankings, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper recently moved Hutchinson up from No. 13 to No. 5. There’s reason to believe Hutchinson could climb even higher if he continues to be an unstoppable force in the Michigan Wolverines defensive line.
Nebraska’s Running Game Will Test the Wolverines Again
Why are the undefeated No. 15 Michigan Wolverines only favored by three points against the 3-3 Cornhuskers? It has a lot to do with Nebraska’s rushing attack averaging 237 yards per game. That’s the 14th best per-game average in the country.
The Wolverines’ defensive front proved against Wisconsin that they could stop a strong running game. However, against Nebraska, they’ll also have to continue pressuring the quarterback.
Nebraska’s strong running game is paired with a passing attack that ranks among the top 40 teams in the country. An ugly early-season loss to Illinois caused Nebraska to drop out of the national conversation, but Head Coach Scott Frost has the Cornhusker’s offense humming.
Michigan Needs To Build on the Wisconsin Game
While the Wolverines defensive line did everything right in Madison on Saturday, that game was an outlier this season. Before the game against the Badgers, Michigan ranked 58th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game.
Now, Michigan ranks 34th. Whether or not Michigan can keep up this level of play against Nebraska will go a long way in determining if Michigan will find itself in the College Football Playoff picture.
Michigan Defense Impacting the Line This Week
If Michigan’s defensive line can play as they did on Saturday, the Wolverines should have no problem covering the 3-point spread. However, if the line plays as they did earlier in the season against teams like Rutgers, the Wolverines could be in trouble.
If you’re interested in wagering on Michigan’s next game, check out BetMGM’s Michigan sports betting site. BetMGM makes it easy for users to sign up and place bets.
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