Is this finally the year head coach Jim Harbaugh has finally turned the corner? Is Michigan football real or impostors through the first five games of the 2021 season?
Michigan football enters its sixth contest against a gritty Nebraska club with a 5-0 record. The Wolverines are the first college football team this century to start a season 5-0, having one or fewer total turnovers and not trailed in a game at all. Pretty impressive regardless of the competition.
Through the first five games of the season, the Wolverines are playing such a Harbaugh brand of football that prides itself on a stout defense and running the football.
Michigan football vs. Nebraska: Tale of the tape.
Per Rivals, the Wolverines’ defense has forced 21 three and outs this season, suitable for a 36.2% clip. That’s kind of crazy to me; Michigan has forced a three and out nearly 40% of the time through five games.
Harbaugh’s defense has yielded just seven touchdowns in five games, allowing under 13 points per game that ranks sixth in all of football while averaging the 12th best whopping 39.8 points through the first five weeks.
Michigan football’s defense is much improved under Mike Macdonald than in years past with Don Brown. The Cornhuskers pose a bit of a threat with their option run offense, and Michigan historically struggles to defend against mobile quarterbacks.
The Wolverines struggled to run the football last week against Wisconsin, albeit cruising to another victory. Michigan averages 255 rushing yards per game, yet only totaled 112 against the Badgers. That forced offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to rely on McNamara more than usual, but still not enough for us to identify if McNamara can get it done against a ranked team late in the season.
McNamara completed 60% of his passed against the Badgers, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and a season-high 197 yards.
Speaking of quarterbacks;
If it seems Nebraska has had a Martinez at quarterback forever, it’s because current signal-caller Adrian is in his fourth season under center, and many college fans will remember Taylor Martinez, who also started four seasons for the programs from 2010-13.
Adrian Martinez has completed nearly 67% of his pass attempts through six games totaling 1,467 yards and six touchdowns to two interceptions. Martinez is also averaging a career-high 9.8 yards per attempt. If Nebraska hopes to upset the Wolverines in prime time, Martinez needs to play a spectacular game.
The dual-threat quarterback has also amassed 399 rushing yards and a stellar nine rushing touchdowns in 2021 while averaging 5.1 yards per carry may give the Wolverines’ defense fits Saturday evening on the road, in front of a ruckus crowd.
The Cornhuskers are riding high after torching Northwestern a week ago to the tune of 56-7. Nebraska’s three losses on the season have come to no. 11 ranked Michigan State 23-20, no. 6 ranked Oklahoma 23-16, and an opening week loss to Ilinois 30-22. Since that embarrassing loss to the Fighting Illini, head coach Scott Forst has his club playing tough football.
Nebraska has yet to earn a signature win, but they’ve easily disposed of Buffalo, Fordham, and Northwestern to complete their 3-3 record.
Michigan football betting odds, spread, and prediction.
According to WynnBET, Michigan football is a 3.5 point favorite. The Moneyline is set at -165 to Michigan and +145 to Nebraska, with the Under/Over currently set at 51 (-110).
Michigan football’s total points Under(-110)/Over(-120) are set at 26.5, with Nebraska at 23.5 points with the same Under/Over betting odds.
I like the Wolverines winning this game covering the 3.5 point spread. I feel that Michigan football will control the football with their ground and pound rushing attack despite some expected tough sledding against a solid Cornhusker defense.
Michigan likely yields 24 points to the talent Martinez, but I’ve got them coming away with a 31-24 road victory under the lights.