Preview: Michigan vs. Nebraska

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21Sep 2018
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Preview: Michigan vs. Nebraska

RUSH OFFENSE vs. NEBRASKA RUSH DEFENSE

Michigan is #60 in rush offense (188 yards/game) and #37 in yards per carry (5.17). Senior Karan Higdon (228 yards, 6.7 YPC, 2 TD) leads the way, even though he missed last week’s game with a lower-body injury. Junior Chris Evans (172/5.7/2) is second, but he left last week’s game with what looked like a hamstring pull (or maybe just a cramp). Both players are expected to return against Nebraska, but that could come down to a game-time decision. The third guy on the depth chart is junior walk-on Tru Wilson (107/6.3/1), who has done okay but is unremarkable. Up front Michigan has struggled with stacked boxes at times, but on the plus side, right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty graded out as Pro Football Focus’s top Big Ten right tackle last week. Nebraska is #20 in rushing defense (93.5 yards allowed/game), holding Colorado to 44 yards on the ground before giving up a modest 143 yards to Troy on 34 attempts. Junior inside linebacker Mohamed Barry (6’1″, 230 lbs.) leads the team with 15 tackles, followed closely by junior linebacker Tyrin Ferguson (6’2″, 230) with 14 and senior Luke Griffin (6’4″, 245) with 14.
Advantage: Nebraska

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14Sep 2018
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Preview: Michigan vs. SMU

This has been another ridiculously busy week, so here’s an abbreviated preview for tomorrow’s game.

MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE

Rushing Offense: #65 (183 yards/game), #39 (5.38 yards/attempt)
Leading rushers: 
RB Karan Higdon (228 yards, 6.71 YPC, 2 TD), RB Chris Evans (87 yards, 7.3 YPC, 2 TD), RB Tru Wilson (54 yards, 9.0 YPC)

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7Sep 2018
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Preview: Michigan vs. Western Michigan

RUSHING OFFENSE vs. WMU RUSHING DEFENSE

Senior running back Karan Higdon (21 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD) dominated the carry count last week against Notre Dame; the only other running back to carry the ball was Chris Evans (2 carries, 1 yard). The offensive line’s blocking was okay against a solid Notre Dame front, but they weren’t getting to their second-level blocks and Higdon didn’t do the team many favors by missing a gaping hole and failing to break tackles. His longest carry went for 9 yards. Michigan’s line will likely remain the same as last week, meaning left tackle Jon Runyan, Jr. and right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty will still have something to prove. Western Michigan’s defensive line consists of light defensive ends (240 and 235 lbs.), a decent sized nose tackle (converted offensive lineman Wesley French, who’s 6’5″, 295), and a light 3-tech (Ralph Holley, who’s 6’2″, 270). Free safety A.J. Thomas led the team in tackles last week against spread-happy Syracuse, but junior linebacker Alex Grace (6’1″, 220) is the front seven’s most effective tackler. Syracuse allowed 334 rushing yards to the Orange last week.
Advantage: Michigan

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31Aug 2018
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Preview: Michigan at Notre Dame

RUSHING OFFENSE vs. NOTRE DAME RUSHING DEFENSE

Michigan’s offensive line and running back situation will remain largely the same from last season. The biggest changes will come at left tackle, where Jon Runyan, Jr. has taken charge, and center, where Cesar Ruiz will be a “new” starter after starting six games at right guard in 2017. The offensive line was #20 in Adjusted Line Yards and #7 in Power Success Rate. The top two running backs also return: Karan Higdon and Chris Evans averaged 6.1 and 5.1 yards/carry last year, and Higdon was six yards shy of hitting 1,000 yards for the season. Michigan does lose two experienced fullbacks, so the usage of sophomore Ben Mason, fifth year senior Jared Wangler, and/or freshman Ben Van Sumeren could be interesting to watch. Michigan will also have a mobile quarterback in Shea Patterson, who had 136 yards rushing and 1 touchdown (but lost 152 yards in sacks). Notre Dame inside linebacker Te’von Coney (6’1″, 240 lbs.) led the team last year in tackles (116), and weakside linebacker Drue Tranquill (6’2″, 231) was third with 85. Those are the top two returning tacklers, and they also led the team with 12.5 and 10.5 tackles for loss, respectively. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (6’7″, 305) is the most dangerous defensive lineman and had 56 tackles with 9 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2017. The team was 51st in rushing defense (154 yards allowed/game), but they were tied with Alabama for #7 in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (9).
Advantage: Michigan

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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.

ROSTER NOTES

  • 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

PREDICTIONS

  • 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?

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