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Published: Thursday, 11/14/2013

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

End Zone: UM Wolverines

Michigan-Northwestern a run-of-the-mill Big Ten game

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Remember when Saturday's game in Evanston, Ill., was projected to be the hot matchup on the Big Ten schedule?

Confession: I sipped the Kool-Aid. I was among the believers who proclaimed that Michigan-Northwestern was going to be the game that decided the Legends Division. I even put it down in writing. What's the No. 1 rule of documentation? Don't leave a paper trail.

There's nothing sexy about this matchup. Instead, it's another run-of-the-mill Big Ten game between a pair of run-of-the-mill teams. Can it somehow distinguish itself from the rest of the pack?

Either a win or a loss this weekend will help answer that question — and it might be one of the only answers we get, as the Wolverines have successfully dodged any questions that have been posed about their recent ineffectiveness.

However, it took a few seconds for linebacker Jake Ryan to answer a question about his team's identity. Either he couldn't pinpoint it, or he tried to find the right way to properly phrase it. This is a family-friendly publication, after all.

"Motivated," Ryan finally answered.

Ryan's hesitation sent a message, and it justified what many have seen over the past month: We're not quite sure what this team is about right now. There are three games left. That's not a lot of time to figure out who you are and what you represent.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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