The Michigan Wolverines still have a shot at winning the Legends Division this season, but that would all go down the drain with a loss on Saturday to Illinois. The Fighting Illini, meanwhile, are a solid 6-3 on the season, but all of those losses have come in the past three weeks, and much of the shine has come off of what was a surprising start by head coach Ron Zook. But the Illini having lost three straight doesn't mean that they're in any way a pushover, as the losses have been by a total of only 20 points.
The key question on Saturday will be whether or not the Michigan offense will be able to run on Illinois. The Wolverines are currently 15th in the country in rushing offense, averaging just over 232 yards per game, while the Illinois defense is also 15th in the country, allowing only an average of 102 yards per game. In losses to Ohio State and Penn State, the Illinois defense was up to the task of slowing down the run, but the offense faltered, unable to overcome two teams that were almost completely one dimensional. If Michigan's offense gets anywhere near the 676 yards they amassed in last year's loss to the Illini, it could get ugly for Illinois. But if they can make Michigan QB Denard Robinson try and beat them through the air, the offense will have a chance to step up and win the game.