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Michigan Vs. Purdue: Wolverines Return Home After Week Off To Take On Boilermakers

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In both 2009 and 2010, Michigan didn't lose a game until it played Michigan State. The Spartans handed Michigan its first loss in both years, and the Wolverines proceeded to collapse in the final part of the season. Michigan lost six straight games against FBS teams in 2009, and last year the Wolverines dropped five of their final seven games after losing to MSU.

So far, the script for 2011 is very similar to the previous two seasons. Michigan started 6-0 this year before losing to Michigan State, and now the possibility of another post-MSU collapse is being raised. While it might be unfair to compare this year's team to the 2009 and 2010 squads considering the coaching staff is different, Michigan will have to prove history won't repeat itself on the field.

The Wolverines' first chance to stop a potential second-half slide before it even begins will be on Saturday when Purdue comes to Michigan Stadium. A year ago, one of Michigan's two wins after its loss to MSU came against Purdue. It was an ugly game to watch, and Purdue somehow made a Greg Robinson-coached defense look good, but it was a satisfying win for then-head coach Rich Rodriguez, who lost his first two matchups against Purdue. The first loss followed an offseason in which Purdue head coach Joe Tiller called Rodriguez a snake oil salesman after Roy Roundtree switched from the Boilermakers to the Wolverines on signing day, and the second loss produced a bizarre post-game incident with Rodriguez and Purdue head coach Danny Hope.

Of course, Rodriguez is long gone, and the idea of there being bad blood between Michigan and Purdue went by the wayside when he was fired. However, memories of the collapses in Rodriguez's final two seasons at Michigan are still present in the minds of fans. So are thoughts about a potential run at the Legends Division title, which already seems unlikely after the loss to MSU. Making a run would be almost impossible with a loss to Purdue, so the Wolverines need a victory to not only silence whispers about another collapse, but also to stay alive in the hunt for a spot in the first ever Big Ten title game.