Quintez Cephus vs. Lavert Hill
With the newfound passing attack of Wisconsin football, Michigan will have another dimension to worry about on Saturday. Often times in the past, teams would load the box to shut down the run, at least, as well as they could, and force the Wisconsin offense to pass the ball.
Now, you can’t do that. I think shutting down the run should still be priority number one for any team facing this Wisconsin offense, but it will be even more difficult now. I’m sure Paul Chryst would love to see the Wolverines stack the box on Saturday. He’ll just send out any of the top four receivers, tight end Jake Ferguson and maybe Jonathan Taylor out of the backfield. Good luck.
Of the many receiving targets Jack Coan has at his disposal, he’s seemed to have found a favorite. Quintez Cephus has been a great feel-good story to start this year, but he’s more than that. He has been what Wisconsin football fans wanted him to be two years ago when he showed flashed his sophomore year before he got hurt.
Last week, he compiled a team-high 130 yards and two touchdowns. The Badgers haven’t seen that kind of production since Jared Abbrederis in 2013 when he went for 207 and a touchdown against Ohio State.
His presence will make it difficult to contain the running game. If the Wolverines hope to do so, they will need to contain the passing game as well. Enter Lavert Hill. Hill, a senior, already has one interception this season and four on his career.
His sophomore year was arguably his best year, having 24 tackles, four of which were for a loss, and two interceptions and seven passes defended. Last season was not as productive statistically, but he did earn first-team All-Big Ten honors last season. He is the leader of the Michigan secondary and will likely be charged with covering Cephus when he is on the field.
This will be a big matchup for both teams. If Wisconsin football can get Cephus involved early and often in the offense, then the Michigan defense will have to spread out a bit, giving the Badger running game some more breathing room to do what they do. Michigan will try to keep this passing game under clamps and load the box to keep Jonathan Taylor contained.