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Tony Ding, Associated Press
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) scores a nine-yard touchdown run in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

EVANSTON, Ill. — No. 12 Michigan is hitting the road for the first time this season, putting its perfect record on the line Saturday night at Northwestern.

The Wolverines (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) are coming off three straight lopsided wins, pounding Eastern Michigan (31-3), San Diego State (28-7) and Minnesota (58-0) and jumping seven spots in the most recent poll.

The Wildcats might (2-2, 0-1) be shaking off losses at Army and Illinois, but they also have quarterback Dan Persa back after he missed the first three games while recuperating from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

He will test a much-improved Michigan defense that is allowing only 10.2 points per game, down from 35 last season.