A long, long time ago Maize N’ Brew was one of the early SB nation blogs that helped me get established here at SB Nation. They, along with The Daily Gopher, black Shoe Diaries, and Black Heart Gold Pants, were the first SB Nation B1G blogs and offered a tone of great advice when I moved over here. The ownership has changed, but they are still a great site to work with.
This week we have Josh LaFond from Maize N’ Brew stopping by. I answered his questions earlier today over there, but here are his answers to my questions:
T-Mill: Purdue actually has positive energy as a football program and this may be the first sellout in a very long time. Is there some concern coming into this game?
Josh: Michigan fans, I think there is. Purdue has gotten off to a hot start, and has been playing a dynamic brand of football on the offensive side of the ball. Getting off to a 2-1 start – which should be 3-0 in my opinion -- has reenergized an almost sleeping fan base and brought them back to life with the incumbent sell out.
With Michigan searching for answers on offense after 3 games, this game might end up being very interesting. If the Wolverines come out on offense the way they did against Florida, and particularly against Cincinnati, and Air Force they might not be walking out of West Lafayette with a win.
T-Mill: The defense has been pretty stout so far for the Wolverines, but is Purdue the best offense they have faced yet?
Josh: I would put Purdue right up there with the Air Force Falcons as the best offenses they've faced. Although Air Force runs that triple option, that doesn't mean it's not hard to defend, and the Wolverines held them to their lowest yards rushing since 2012.
The question I have with Michigan’s defense is how these young cornerbacks perform against the Boilermakers passing attack. They weren't really m tested against Air Force or Cincinnati, and Florida had their fair share of problems. With Penn State and their lethal passing game looming for the Wolverines, the performance of their secondary will tell a lot about how prepared this team is to make a run for the Big Ten Title.
T-Mill: Michigan has struggled in the red zone. Purdue is coming off of its best defensive performance in years. Does Michigan figure things out this week?
Josh: I certainly hope they do, because if not it'll be a long week and a long season. For the Wolverines to get this offense in high gear, this game is one of your last shots at that. I know you're thinking well it's only the 4th game of the year, but with Michigan getting that BYE week next week, then on to a huge rivalry game against Michigan State, followed by what might be dubbed a trap game @ Indiana, and then the REAL test in Happy Valley versus the Nittany Lions, you're not left with much time to figure stuff out against teams.
I mentioned at the start that I hope they figure it out, but to be honest, I do think they figure it out. This coaching staff knows what needs to be changed as far as play calling and/or personal changes, and I think they do that this week.
T-Mill: It has been a long time since these teams have played (2012) are we even still in the same conference?
Josh: Ha! We miss you guys in the East or back when it was called the Legends or whatever... I hated those division names, thank god they changed them.
Purdue to me, has always seemed like a team that was on the cusp of a pulling off a huge upset in 1 or 2 of their games but could just never do it, I think they'll pull out some of those upsets under [Head Coach] Brohm. Basketball season is always interesting against the Boilermakers. I'm still salty that you took Spike Albrecht, he's a legend round’ here.
T-Mill: Has this game slid from "certain win" to "scary" territory given the improvement Purdue has shown in the first three weeks?
Josh: Somewhere in between I think. It kind of has the same aura that the games against Minnesota and Indiana did in Jim Harbaugh’s first season here, where you didn't think Michigan was going to lose, but it just had this weird feeling to it like the game might be in doubt.
Both of those games came down to the wire -- Minnesota game ending in a goal line stuff with no time left, and the Indiana game ending in double overtime -- now do I think it comes down to the wire Saturday? I hope not, but it just feels like it might.
T-Mill: What do you think is the biggest matchup on Saturday?
Josh: Going back to what I said earlier, it's gotta be these Michigan cornerbacks against the Purdue passing attack, whether that's David Blough or Elijah Sindelar. The Wolverines have the talent to halt the Boilermakers on the back end, but this is the week to show if they have it all together or not. That'll be a fun – and nerve wracking – to watch.