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There’s a new king of the Big 10, and he wears navy blue and yellow. For the first time in over twenty years, Michigan beat Ohio State at home in a performance where their elite defense made CJ Stroud and the Buckeyes look crappier than Urban Meyer’s finger after a night out in Columbus. Last year, the Wolverines eviscerated Iowa 42-3 in the Big 10 Championship game, and Big 10 coach of the year, Jim Harbaugh, and company will look to do the same against Purdue at home. As incredible as Michigan has played this year, Purdue is no longer a joke. Under Jeff Brohm, the Boilermakers have elevated their game to a new level, coming off their second eight-win season and attempting to win a Big 10 Championship for the first time since a fella named Drew Brees was behind center over twenty years ago. Speaking of great quarterbacks, Purdue has one of their own, which is nothing new for a school dubbed Quarterback U. Sixth-year senior Aidan O’Connell has once again eclipsed 3,000 passing yards on the year, and the Boilermakers average 279.1 passing yards a game. O’Connell is coming off a gutsy performance to clinch the Big 10 West last weekend. After learning about the death of his oldest brother, O’Connell suited up against Indiana and went 18-of-29 for 290 yards and two touchdowns. It’s hard not to root for O’Connell. He’s the only kid to ever go from a walk-on to a starter as a quarterback at a school that’s produced some of the NFL’s best gunslingers. He leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (284.0) and is tied for second in league with 22 TD passes. He’s been the heart and soul of Jeff Brohm’s offense the past two seasons, and he’s certainly left his mark. He ranks sixth in school history in career passing yards (8,853) and fifth in TD throws (65). With that being said, Purdue has struggled all season to run the ball, and it’s affected their passing game greatly (O’Connell has more than 500 fewer passing yards than last year with more attempts)… they’re also yet to play a defense like Michigan’s. Want to know why? Because these are the following categories where the Wolverines’ defense is ranked top two in the country.
Opponent yards per play
Opponent yards per game
Opponent points per play
Opponent points per game
Opponent rush yards per game
Opponent yards per rush
After last week’s win against Ohio State, Michigan is clearly the scariest team in college football (we’ll give Georgia an honorable mention). Against one of the better running defenses in the country without their starting running back, the Wolverines ran over the Buckeyes like they were in a Detroit Target on Black Friday. Donovan Edwards ran the ball 22 times for 216 yds, finishing the game with 9.8 yards per attempt. Even if Blake Corum sits another week, Edwards, behind an offensive line that’s stronger than Trump’s border policy, should have no problem against a Purdue team that’s, on average, giving up 135.8 rushing yards a game. JJ McCarthy (now 11-0 as Michigan’s starting quarterback) has shown time and time again that he is the man for this job. When Michigan was having a tough time running the ball in the first half against Ohio State, McCarthy connected on deep passing touchdowns to Cornelius Johnson for 69 yards and then 75 yards. He later found Colston Loveland for a 45-yard score. I like his chances against a Purdue secondary that’s struggled all year. A Purdue secondary that (and I’m so sorry for this stray shot, Wisconsin fans) was chewed up by Graham Mertz. There are so many ways that Michigan can win this game. Vegas likes Michigan -16, and they will have no problem covering that. Michigan Moneyline? Next question. Take the Wolverines moneyline and get your free $150 from DraftKings!