Friday, September 19, 2014

Lazy Man's Michigan Preview: Utah


Let's hope I'm not switching over to Point Break by halftime.

Hey look it's a real, live PAC-12 team. Another measuring stick for Michigan, as we all try and get the taste of tomato soup out of our mouths.

Utah Utes (2-0, 0-0 PAC-12) @ Michigan Wolverines (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Michigan Stadium, Saturday, 9/20, 3:30 pm ET ABC/ESPN2

Offense
Well Michigan is lining up against another opponent with a pulse. So how will the offense respond? That's the question on all the fans' minds. Utah is the third ranked defense in FEI. Now, they've played Idaho St and Fresno St, two not-so-good teams. So take that for what its worth. Regardless the offense needs build on the momentum from last week. Against Notre Dame the answer was no. Let's see what happens here.

Devin Gardner has to make better decisions in the passing game. Funchess's status is, oh who the hell knows given Hoke's very Belicheckian policies. I think the Wolverines will need both Devin's to play well to win this game.

The offensive line is actually doing good things. Greene seems to be learning game to game. So I expect a good but not great day from the run game. The "explosive plays", as Nuss calls them, will come in the passing game.

Defense
It's hard to say if Utah's offense is any good. I think the defense will be tested once again. I'm certain Utah looked at the ND film and will try to get all slanty with it. I suspect Michigan will see lots of three step drop, quick passes in an effort for the Utes to keep Travis Wilson's jersey clean.

Big key here will be if the DB's can give an extra half a second to Frank Clark. If Utah's timing is off slightly Clark could have a big, big day. Look for Pepper's to reprise his role as the boundary corner and Countess to see time at the nickle. That seemed to work well last game.

Special Teams
For the love of everything good and holy, no more punts from the 37!

Prediction
Well, I'm not sure. Is Utah any good? Can Michigan step it up against a decent to good team? I'd love to say "yes" with confidence. But I just can't.

The defense should hold up just fine. And if the offense can just keep from turning the damn ball over, Michigan should squeak out a win. But, can they? The offensive line is going to need to control this game. If Michigan can have success on the ground and keep Gardner from having to do it all with his arm, success is there for the taking.

Jake Ryan does something that makes us remember that he's JMFR. Norfleet gets more involved in the offense. Gardner doesn't turn the ball over. Michigan wins.

Michigan 27-24

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