RUSH OFFENSE vs. CINCINNATI RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan put up a respectable 215 yards in the season opener, tying them with none other than Michigan State for #49 in the country. The Wolverines are tied for #64 in rushing yards per carry after going against a solid run defense in Florida. Presumed third-stringer Ty Isaac broke out with 11 carries for 114 yards in the season opener, largely as a third down back. Meanwhile, starter Chris Evans had 22 carries for a mediocre 78 yards. Those carry totals are too high for Evans to sustain, and he should get a bit of a break against Cincinnati. Up front Michigan blocked fairly well in the run game, but the left side (LT Mason Cole, LG Ben Bredeson, C Patrick Kugler) is more reliable than the right. Cincinnati gave up 224 yards on the ground (#104) on 3.73 yards/carry (#75) against Austin Peay. Junior free safety Malik Clements leads the team in tackles with 18, and sophomore WILL Perry Young is right behind with 17. Young also leads the team with 3 tackles for loss. The defensive line goes 258, 297, 260, and 245, so they will be severely outsized. Last year Cincinnati was #75 in rushing yards allowed per game, and that probably won’t change much for the better this year.
Hit the jump for more on the game.
PASS OFFENSE vs. CINCINNATI PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #73 in passing yardage with the 218 yards gained last week, all but 37 of which came from Wilton Speight. The Wolverines are #97 in passer efficiency rating. Starting quarterback Wilton Speight completed 11/25 passes for 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns. The breakout target was freshman Tarik Black, who made 2 catches for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. Junior slot receiver Grant Perry caught all 4 of his targets for 46 yards. Michigan’s quarterbacks were sacked 5 times by Florida, placing them tied for #116 after one week. The weak spot is on the right side of the line, particularly first-year starter Nolan Ulizio, a redshirt sophomore. Cincinnati is tied for #72 after making 1 sack last week, and that came from SAM linebacker Tyrell Gilbert. They were #74 against the pass in 2016, but they’re #12 this season on the strength of playing Austin Peay in game one. Starting corners Mike Tyson (5 interceptions, graduated) and Alex Thomas (4 interceptions, kicked off the team for alleged robbery) are gone, leaving two 6’0″ corners to start on the outside in Grant Coleman and Linden Stephens. The most dangerous pass defender is Gilbert, who had 3 picks last season. Cincinnati likes to play quarters coverage, which Michigan should be able to take advantage of they can hold up in pass protection.
RUSH DEFENSE vs. CINCINNATI RUSH OFFENSE
Last week Michigan held Florida to 11 yards rushing, good enough for the #4 rushing defense in the country. The Gators were without their starting running back, but the biggest problem was Michigan crushing the offensive line. Sophomore linebacker Devin Bush, Jr. led the team with 7 tackles and 3 tackles for loss, and he’s followed by safety Tyree Kinnel and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr. Michigan has a fast unit that flies to the football, and they’re solid tacklers when they arrive. Michigan was #15 in rushing defense in 2016, and they don’t look to have fallen off much since then. The Cincinnati offensive line is a senior-laden unit, but one spot to watch is 6’4″, 293 lb. LG Keith Minor, who switched from DT to OG last season and played just two games on the offensive line. Another sore spot is 6’7″, 300 lb. RT Kendall Calhoun, who struggles in pass protection and getting to the second level. The Bearcats got 97 yards last week (#95 in the country) on 3.34 yards/carry (tied for #86). Senior running back Mike Boone (5’10”, 205 lbs.) is the lone back in the backfield, and he put up a respectable 100 yards and 5.26 yards/carry last week, but that was against an FCS school.
PASS DEFENSE vs. CINCINNATI PASS OFFENSE
Michigan allowed 181 yards last week, good enough for #49 in the country. The 112.33 passer efficiency rating allowed is #57 nationally. Michigan is a little weak in coverage due to a young secondary, but they made 6 sacks against Florida last week, which ties them for #4 in the country. Defensive coordinator Don Brown loves to blitz, and that won’t stop against the Bearcats. The questionable offensive line and quarterback Hayden Moore are going to be under duress all game. One returning receiver is 6’0″, 205 lb. junior Kahlil Lewis, who made 48 catches for 605 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, and 6’5″, 185 lb. sophomore Thomas Geddis is also a frequent target. The slot guy is 6’0″, 177 lb. Devin Gray, who made 58 catches for 860 yards and 5 touchdowns. Senior Tyler Cogswell (6’5″, 254 lbs.) mans the tight end spot, and he has 10 career catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Hayden Moore has 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in his career. Cincinnati is overmatched in this phase of the game, but not so much because of its QB and receivers – they’re overmatched because the offensive linemen are going to be helpless against Michigan’s schemes and talent. I expect to see backup QB Ross Trail by the end of the day.
- Players recruited by Michigan include: OT Kyle Trout (who transferred from Ohio State), LB Joel Dublanko (took an official to Michigan but wasn’t offered)
- Players from the State of Michigan include: UD Jesuit S Sheldon Doss, Lakeland OT Morgan James, Detroit Cass Tech WR Marcel Paul, Ypsilanti CB Marquis Smith
- LB Kyle Bolden is the younger brother of former Michigan LB Joe Bolden.
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED…
- They haven’t. Ever.
- Michigan makes 7 sacks, including 2 from Rashan Gary. It would be more, but Cincinnati won’t be able to sustain drives.
- Wilton Speight throws 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
- Nick Eubanks catches his first career TD pass from Brandon Peters.
- Michigan 48, Cincinnati 6
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