‘as good as any’ UM has faced
physical and mature as he is. He has tremendous balance and vision. Been a very impressive back.”
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said this game is not just about Taylor. Wisconsin ranks No. 1 nationally in total defense, allowing 247.6 yards a game, while Michigan is No. 3 (254.8). The Badgers also are No. 1 against the run (81.5) and Michigan is No. 9 (110.3).
The Wolverines statistically have a better pass defense by a small margin and both are among the nation’s top five in sacks.
“Certainly, it’s a very, very impressive, very talented, well-coordinated defense,” Chryst said Tuesday, referring to Michigan’s defense. “And it’s going to take everyone and that’s why it’s not Jonathan versus that; it’s team offense versus team defense. That’s both sides of the ball. For any play to be successful against good opponents, you’ve got to execute, and everybo- dy has to do their part.”
The Wolverines rank ninth nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average 16.4 points, and gave up a season-high on the road at then-No. 2 Penn State in a 42-13 loss.
“A big task for our defense,” Harbaugh said of Wisconsin. “They have a very good, high-precision running game and a very good passing attack. Very good quarterback (Alex Hornibrook). Tremendous offensive line and core of receivers and tight ends that are very good. Very good personnel.
“They have really good schemes. They execute them very well. What kind of challenge will that be for our defense? It will be a stiff, challenging game.”
Freshman receiver Tarik Black, the team’s leading receiver when he suffered a broken bone in his left foot in the Air Force game Sept. 16, is not expected to be ready to return for the final two regular-season games, Harbaugh said.
Black potentially could be ready for the bowl game, but there's another option.
“If he does not return this year we would pursue a medical redshirt,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches’ call.
Black is Michigan’s fifth-leading receiver with 11 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Sean McKeon leads the receivers with 25 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
Harbaugh on what he appreciates most about the team’s three-game winning streak since losing at Penn State: “I feel like our execution has been improving. I feel like our effort has been improving and the way we finish has also been improving.”