National Championship Mini-Preview: Alabama vs. Georgia

Tag: game preview

8Jan 2018
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National Championship Mini-Preview: Alabama vs. Georgia

The truth is that I had been planning a more in-depth preview of tonight’s national championship game, and then stuff happened. Here it is shortly after 6:00 p.m., and I haven’t posted it yet.


  • Alabama players recruited by Michigan: LB Chris Allen, LB Markail Benton, S Shyheim Carter, LB Ben Davis, CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, TE Miller Forristall, WR Robert Foster, DE Da’Shawn Hand, RB Damien Harris, RB Najee Harris, TE Hale Hentges, TE Kedrick James, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Derek Kief, CB Nigel Knott, OT Alex Leatherwood, S Jared Mayden, S Xavier McKinnon, LB Joshua McMillon, LB Dylan Moses, OG Kendall Randolph, DE LaBryan Ray, RB Bo Scarbrough, WR Tyrell Shavers, TE Irv Smith Jr., TE Major Tennison, OT Jonah Williams, OT Jedrick Wills Jr., LB Mack Wilson, S Daniel Wright
  • Georgia players recruited by Michigan: OG Patrick Allen, DT John Atkins, LB Robert Beal Jr., TE Jeb Blazevich, LB Lorenzo Carter, LB Reggie Carter, OG Ben Cleveland, TE Jordan Davis, QB Jacob Eason, S De’Angelo Gibbs, WR Mecole Hardman, DE Malik Herring, WR Jeremiah Holloman, RB Elijah Holyfield, LB Jaden Hunter, OG Netori Johnson, CB Richard LeCounte III, LB Nate McBride, RB Sony Michel, TE Isaac Nauta, CB William Poole, QB Brice Ramsey, LB Monty Nice, LB Roquan Smith, CB Ameer Speed, RB D’Andre Swift, OT Andrew Thomas, OT Isaiah Wilson, TE Charlie Woerner,
  • Alabama RB Damien Harris was committed to Michigan at one time
  • Georgia WR Jeremiah Holloman was committed to Michigan at one time


  • Georgia WR Mecole Hardman has a 70+ yard kick return
  • Georgia QB Jake Fromm throws 2 interceptions
  • Jalen Hurts’s feet are key in a win over Jake Fromm’s lack of mobility
  • Alabama 24, Georgia 20

What’s your prediction on the game?

31Dec 2017
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Outback Bowl Preview: Michigan vs. South Carolina


Michigan is #40 in rush offense (186 yards/game) and #54 in yards per rush (4.51). They are led by junior Karan Higdon, who is 71 yards shy of 1,000 yards for the season (147 carries, 929 yards, 6.3 YPC, 11 TDs). Junior backup Chris Evans came on stronger during the second half of the season, and he sits at 661 yards, 5.3 YPC, and 6 TDs. Both players started their ascent during the latter half of the year, which is when the offensive line started to gel in the running game. The right side of the line will probably be totally different than the way it started the season, because right guard Michael Onwenu (replaced by Cesar Ruiz) and right tackle Nolan Ulizio (replaced by Juwann Bushell-Beatty) both struggled mightily in pass protection. Oddly enough, Bushell-Beatty has been superior in both phases, and Ruiz has been good enough in the run game that Michigan hasn’t really missed Onwenu. Michigan is #10 in Adjusted Line Yards and #9 in Power Success Rate. Defensively, South Carolina is #41 in Adjusted Line Yards and #123 in Power Success Rate, and that ALY number is their highest ranking in any of Football Outsiders’ nine categories. They are #45 in rushing defense (147 yards allowed/game) and #42 in yards per carry allowed (3.9). They are not great, but they have been very consistent, allowing anywhere from 2.54 to 4.84 yards per carry in every game. (For some perspective, Michigan has a higher ranked rushing defense but allowed opponents anywhere from 0.41 to 6.4 yards/carry.) The Gamecocks are led in tackles by 6’2″, 218 lb. senior WILL Skai Moore, who is their best overall defender with 88 tackles, 8 TFLs, 2 sacks, and 3 INTs). Sophomore MIKE T.J. Brunson (6’1″, 230 lbs.) is second with 75 tackles, and senior strong safety Chris Lammons (5’10”, 190) has 70. Sophomore weakside end D.J. Wonnum (6’4″, 251) leads the squad with 13 tackles for loss. Sometimes crazy things happen in bowl games, but the numbers suggest Michigan should be able to run the ball okay but won’t go hogwild.
Advantage: Michigan

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24Nov 2017
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Preview: Michigan vs. Ohio State


Michigan is #35 in rushing offense (194 yards/game) and #52 in rushing average (4.64 yards/carry). Starter Karan Higdon has been hampered by an ankle injury over the past couple weeks and managed just 7 attempts for 20 yards last week against Wisconsin. With Ty Isaac working through an injury, Michigan’s three-man rotation was largely limited to Chris Evans (11 carries for 25 yards last week). Michigan is #20 in Adjusted Line Yards and #49 in Standard Down Line Yards. The line had been playing better for a few weeks, but the Wisconsin game saw the lowest yards per carry (1.57) all season, as well as the lowest rushing output (58 yards), with the previous low being 102 against Michigan State. Ohio State is #12 in rushing defense (114 yards allowed/game), and they allow the 10th fewest yards per carry (3.16). Their defense is actually #1 in Adjusted Line Yards and #4 in Standard Down Line Yards, so they’re very stout up front with a lot of guys they can rotate in as part of the front four. They’re #8 in tackles for loss with defense ends Nick Bosa (6’4″, 270 lbs.) and Sam Hubbard (6’5″, 265) leading the way with 11.5 and 7.5, respectively. Somewhat surprisingly, Ohio State’s top two tacklers are safeties Jordan Fuller (6’2″, 207) with 54 and Damon Webb (5’11”, 195) with 49. The last time Ohio State’s leading tackler wasn’t a linebacker¬†and the last time when the leading tackler didn’t have 100 tackles was in 2011, when safety C.J. Barnett led the squad with 75 tackles. The Buckeyes have some quality linebackers, but they don’t have a dominant player like Ryan Shazier or Raekwon McMillan.
Advantage: Ohio State

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17Nov 2017
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Preview: Michigan at Wisconsin


Michigan is #30 in rushing offense (208 yards/game), and that ranking comes after 865 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past three games. The Wolverines are tied for #41 in rushing average (4.91 yards/carry) and tied for #34 in rushing touchdowns. A couple of those stats are made more impressive by the fact that Michigan has generally struggled to pass the ball all season. Michigan’s offensive line is #10 in Adjusted Line Yards and #35 in Standard Down Line Yards, so they’re doing okay. Starting running back Karan Higdon (854 yards, 6.62 yards/carry, 10 TDs) left last week’s Maryland game with an ankle injury, but he is expected to return; he has two 200-yard games this season. Meanwhile, right guard Michael Onwenu is also expected back from injury. Wisconsin is #1 nationally in rush defense (81.5 yards allowed/game), and they have allowed fewer than 100 yards to six out of ten opponents so far. The most productive running team against them was Nebraska, who had 110 yards and averaged 4.23 yards/carry. Linebacker Ryan Connelly (6’3″, 228 lbs.) leads the team with 55 tackles, and seven of the top nine tacklers are linebackers in their base 3-4 defense. Six players have between 5.5 and 9.5 tackles for loss, led by senior outside linebacker Garret Dooley (6’3″, 246). The team is tied at #31 with 69 tackles for loss this season. Michigan has run the ball better than some people give them credit for this season, but it’s an offense still finding its way against the #1 run-stuffing defense in the nation.
Advantage: Wisconsin

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10Nov 2017
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Preview: Michigan at Maryland


Michigan has moved up to #29 nationally with 213 yards/game on the ground. They’re #38 in rushing average (4.98 yards/carry). Junior running back Karan Higdon has taken the lead with about 30 more carries than the top two other backs, and he’s now on pace to top 1,000 yards for the season (804 yards, 10 TDs). The Wolverines ran the ball all over Minnesota last week, with nearly 400 yards on the ground and three 60+ yard runs (2 by Chris Evans, 1 by Higdon). Michigan has improved its run blocking up front, partly due to the insertion of Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right tackle a few weeks ago. Maryland, meanwhile, is #77 in rush defense (175 yards allowed/game) and in yards per carry allowed (4.46). The leading tackler is senior linebacker Jermaine Carter, Jr. (6’0″, 228 lbs.) with 59, but the next three leading tacklers are all defensive backs. The leading tackler for losses is sophomore nickelback Antoine Brooks, Jr. (5’11”, 210) with 7.5, followed by Carter’s 6.0. Altogether, the Terrapins are tied for #81 in tackles for loss with 49 so far. They run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 with a standup Buck linebacker who plays like a weakside end. Coming off a week in which Michigan ran for almost 400 yards and Maryland gave up 239 rushing yards to Rutgers, the Wolverines should be in decent shape.
Advantage: Michigan

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