After disappointing seasons, Northwestern (3-5) and Michigan (4-5) meet at Ryan Field in what is essentially a bowl play-in game. Both sides are in desperate need of a victory to boost their postseason hopes.
The Cats must win three of their remaining four games to reach six wins and automatically qualify for a bowl. While they have a chance of making a bowl at 5-7 because of their high APR score, the Cats pretty much have to win today with a road trip to No. 8 Notre Dame looming next week.
Michigan, on the other hand, needs to win two of its last three contests to become bowl eligible. With that said, this is a crucial game for the Wolverines. If the Wolverines lose today, that means they'll have to beat Maryland next Saturday and No. 13 Ohio State on the road in the final week of the season to make a bowl.
In their last six quarters Northwestern has been outscored 72-7. It will be interesting to see if coach Pat Fitzgerald has anything different planned, especially schematically on offense. Fitz pulled quarterback Trevor Siemian in the fourth quarter against Iowa. How quick will Fitz be to make a change at the QB position if Siemian continues to struggle?
While Michigan has also struggled to score points this season, it has a top 25 defense, so this has the makings of a low scoring affair. Something to watch for is the turnover battle. Both Michigan and Northwestern are undefeated this season when they've won the turnover battle.
The last two meetings between Northwestern and Michigan went to overtime. We could be in for another close one today.
If you're not at Ryan Field, make sure to discuss the game with us below!