The Associated Press
No. 19 Michigan (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten, CFP No. 24) at No. 5 Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0, CFP No. 5), Saturday, noon ET (Fox)
Line: Wisconsin by 7½.
Series record: Michigan leads 50-14-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
It’s the most important game yet for Wisconsin to make a statement to the College Football Playoff selection committee. A victory in the home finale would give the Badgers two straight wins over ranked opponents, sitting on the precipice of getting into the top four. Michigan still has longshot hopes to win the Big Ten East Division crown, but needs help. The Wolverines though are relishing the chance play spoiler as they close out the season against playoff hopefuls Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Michigan defensive line against Wisconsin offensive line. Strength against strength. With an athletic, physical front leading the charge, the Wolverines lead the Big Ten in tackles for loss (8.4 per game), third downs allowed (23.7 percent) and pass defense (144.5 yards). Badgers QB Alex Hornibrook has thrown 11 interceptions in seven league games. A Wisconsin starting five that ran roughshod over Iowa’s physical defense last week could be without center Tyler Biadasz (left leg) against Michigan. The line must create holes for the running game to keep the offense out of third-and-long situations.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michigan: QB Brandon Peters. The grace period is over for the sophomore who made his first career start two weeks ago against Minnesota. After double-digit wins over the Gophers and Maryland, Michigan’s young quarterback must now face Wisconsin’s best-in-the-nation defense at hostile Camp Randall Stadium — a week after the Badgers shut down Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
Wisconsin: RB Jonathan Taylor. Ball security has become an issue of late for the Big Ten’s leading rusher. But another productive day for the freshman — minus the turnovers — could raise Taylor’s profile among Heisman Trophy voters.
FACTS & FIGURES
Michigan making first trip to Wisconsin since 2009, when Rich Rodriguez-coached Wolverines lost 45-24. … Michigan, Maryland and Houston are the only schools in the country to have three different QBs record a victory this season. … Michigan LB Khaleke Hudson leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss (1.5 per game). … Taylor leads the Big Ten with 12 rushing TDs. … With 42 victories, Wisconsin’s seniors are winningest class in school history.
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