2017 Michigan football opponent preview and prediction: Wisconsin

Editor’s note: Counting down to Michigan football’s season opener, Land of 10 is taking a look at the Wolverines’ 2017 opponents.

Michigan at Wisconsin

When: Saturday, Nov. 18

  • Kickoff time: TBA
  • Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
  • Last meeting: The Wolverines won a slugfest, 14-7, last season at Michigan Stadium. Wilton Speight’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Amara Darboh with 7 minutes, 56 seconds remaining to play put Michigan in the lead, while Jourdan Lewis’ acrobatic one-handed interception with 2:23 left cemented the program’s first win against a Top-10 opponent since 2008.

Wisconsin at a glance

Coach: Paul Chryst
2016 record: 11-3 (Big Ten West division champs)

Badgers players to watch

Troy Fumagalli | Tight end

Fumagalli is Wisconsin’s answer to Jake Butt. He led the Badgers in receptions last season while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches behind Butt. Fumagalli is a preseason All-American pick and is rated the top senior tight end prospect for next year’s NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 234-pound Fumagalli is a matchup nightmare for defenses, especially if Wisconsin is able to run the ball.

D’Cota Dixon | Safety

Wisconsin’s new defensive coordinator is former Badgers player Jim Leonhard, who was a hard-hitting and smart safety during his days in college and the NFL. Dixon fits into that same mold. A third-team All-Big Ten pick by the media last season, he had 4 interceptions, including 1 to seal Wisconsin’s win against LSU. He was among Wisconsin’s leading tacklers last season. Wisconsin uses him on the blitz, but he is strong in pass coverage, too. Dixon can play all over the field.

Our take

The last time Michigan won a road game against a ranked opponent was Sept. 16, 2006, when the then-No. 11 Wolverines beat No. 2 Notre Dame, 47-21. It’s a good bet both Michigan and Wisconsin will be ranked by the time this game comes around, and both teams expect to be in the hunt for their respective division titles. This will be only the fifth time Michigan has played in Madison since 2001, which coincidentally happens to be the last time it won at Camp Randall. There’s no reason to think this game won’t be tight like last year’s. By this time of the season, Michigan’s youth should have gained enough experience to pull out the victory and end the long drought.

Prediction

Michigan 20, Wisconsin 17

The post 2017 Michigan football opponent preview and prediction: Wisconsin appeared first on Land of 10.

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