Wisconsin: CB Faion Hicks
The senior defensive back was listed as questionable in Monday’s preliminary injury report, but he’ll play a huge role for Wisconsin’s defense if active against Michigan. Hicks, who didn’t play against Eastern Michigan, has recorded eight solo tackles in two games and is the Badgers’ top cornerback.
He made four pass deflections and was arguably Wisconsin’s most outstanding defensive player in the blowout loss to Notre Dame. Hicks did allow a 36-yard touchdown, although it took a beautiful throw from Jack Coan and an equally impressive catch from Kevin Austin Jr. to beat him.
Hicks figures to match up with Michigan’s top wide receiver Cornelius Johnson, who’s averaging 24.8 yards on his eight receptions. The Wolverines attempt only 16 passes per game, but they take their shots downfield and Hicks will likely be responsible for limiting Johnson’s bulk plays.
Michigan: RB Blake Corum
The 5’8”, 200-pound sophomore currently ranks ninth in the FBS with 475 rushing yards, and he’s averaged a stellar 6.9 yards per attempt through four games. Corum has accumulated eight total touchdowns, seven of which have come on the ground. For context, Wisconsin’s offense as a whole has found the end zone just six times in three games.
He has also recorded 57 receiving yards and is tied for the team lead in receptions with eight. Only one other Michigan running back has caught a ball this season, so Corum will see far more snaps on passing downs than fellow tailbacks Hassan Haskins and Donovan Edwards. Facing a Wisconsin defense that’s shockingly yielded only 23 rushing yards per game and one yard per attempt, Michigan figures to throw more often than usual this Saturday and Corum should be a top short-to-mid-range target for quarterback Cade McNamara.
Last week against Rutgers was Corum’s worst performance of the season to date, as he managed only 68 yards despite carrying the ball 21 times. Whether it’s on the ground or through the air, he’ll look to get back on track against Wisconsin.