Preview: Michigan at Rutgers

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20Nov 2020
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Preview: Michigan at Rutgers

Isaih Pacheco

To discuss this post or share your own prediction about how the game will go, please head on over to touchthebanner.blogspot.com while I work out the issue with comments not working here.

RUSH OFFENSE vs. RUTGERS RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is now #106 in rush offense (117 yards/game) and #55 in yards per carry (4.59). As bad/mediocre as that sounds, it’s worse than that, because Michigan ran all over Minnesota in the opener and has done nothing since. No word has trickled out about whether Michigan’s starting offensive tackles will return this weekend from injury, but I expect very little unless at least right tackle Jalen Mayfield returns. Last week Michigan gave leading rusher Hassan Haskins (7.8 yards/carry) just one touch, so I have no idea what’s going on with the running back rotation. Rutgers is #70 in rushing defense (175 yards allowed/game) but #46 in yards allowed per carry (4.0). They’re led in tackles by senior linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi (6’1″, 234 lbs.) with 50, while senior Tyshon Fogg (6’1″, 232) is second with 39. Fatukasi (6.5) and defensive tackle Julius Turner (6’0″, 265) lead the team with 6.5 and 4.5 tackles for loss, respectively. Turner is undersized, but I like his quickness. Former Michigan defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour (6’1″, 296) has notched 14 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss so far this year.
Advantage: Rutgers

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13Nov 2020
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Preview: Michigan at Wisconsin

Graham Mertz (image via The Spun)

As I write this on Wednesday/Thursday, there’s not much known about which Wisconsin players will be available to play on Saturday, including starting QB Graham Mertz, which is kind of a big deal. This preview assumes they’re at full strength.

RUSH OFFENSE vs. WISCONSIN RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #84 in rush offense (140.3 yards/game) and #31 in rushing average (5.1 yards/carry). That second number is a bit of a lie, because the Wolverines ran all over Minnesota in week one and have struggled mightily in the past two games. The “bell cow” so far this season is Hassan Haskins, who is averaging a whopping 6.67 carries per game. I have confidence that the offensive line will improve as the season goes along, because offensive line coach Ed Warinner has pulled off that feat before. But Michigan was missing its starting offensive tackles last week, and it’s unclear whether they’ll be back for Wisconsin or not. Meanwhile, Wisconsin allowed 131 yards in its lone game against Illinois this season on 5.24 yards/attempt. Those numbers aren’t good for the Badgers, but they were hurt by a couple quarterback keepers (by former Wolverine Brandon Peters) that Michigan has seemingly been unwilling to run. Wisconsin runs a 3-4 look that generally does a good job of swarming to the football. Junior linebacker Jack Sanborn (6’2″, 232 lbs.) is probably the biggest name on defense, and he made 3 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries in the opener. I was also impressed by senior defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk (6’7″, 293) in that game against the Illini.
Advantage: Wisconsin

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5Nov 2020
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Preview: Michigan at Indiana

Michael Penix, Jr. (image via IndyStar)

RUSH OFFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH DEFENSE
It’s too early for advanced stats, so Michigan is #25 in rushing average (204 yards/game) and still #4 in yards per carry (6.28) despite an overall poor effort last week against Michigan State. The Wolverines did not play well up front against an attacking, downhill defense, and the team may be without its only returning starter, right tackle Jalen Mayfield, due to an injury. Hassan Haskins leads the team at 9.9 yards/carry with 3 touchdowns. Indiana is #80 in rush defense (185.5 yards allowed/game) and tied for #73 in yards allowed per carry (4.36). The leading tacklers are junior middle linebacker Micah McFadden (6’2″, 235) and junior safety Jamar Johnson (6’1″, 197) with 16 takedowns each.
Advantage: Michigan

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30Oct 2020
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Preview: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Rocky Lombardi (image via Detroit News)

RUSH OFFENSE vs. MICHIGAN STATE RUSH DEFENSE
Last week against Minnesota, Michigan averaged 8.26 yards per carry, which is currently #1 in the country. It’s only one game, but anytime you average over 8 yards/carry, things look pretty good. Michigan’s revamped offensive line looked good and did not allow much penetration. The mammoth offensive guards were moving people. Michigan’s top two backs, Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, averaged 17.5 and 13.7 yards/carry, respectively. Michigan State is #20 in rush defense after a loss to Rutgers, in which the Spartans allowed 106 yards on 41 carries. (Oddly, they allowed 4 rushing touchdowns.) Leading tackler Antjuan Simmons (6’0″, 225 lbs.) made 11 tackles and Noah Harvey (6’4″, 240) made 9. Defensive end Drew Beesley (6’2″, 260) made 3.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. The Spartans have some large defensive tackles, namely Naquan Jones (6’4″, 340), but Jones tends to be somewhat upright and shouldn’t get a ton of penetration.
Advantage: Michigan

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23Oct 2020
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Mini-Preview: Michigan at Minnesota

Rashod Bateman (image via 247 Sports)

I have to be honest, and I’ve been so busy with finishing up the season preview and a bunch of other stuff that I haven’t had time to do a good preview. And tonight while I’m finishing this up, I’m deciding to watch the presidential debate instead of trying to watch a bunch of Minnesota stuff.

HOW TO WATCH

Saturday, October 24th, 2020: 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC

ROSTER NOTES

  • Minnesota players offered by Michigan: OL Curtis Dunlap Jr., OL Daniel Faalele, DB Benny Sapp III, DB Benjamin St-Juste
  • Minnesota players from the State of Michigan include: LB Trenton Guthrie (Northville), DL Ali Saad (Dearborn), TE Bryce Witham (Grand Rapids West Catholic)
  • Minnesota DB Benjamin St-Juste signed with Michigan out of high school before transferring to Minnesota
  • Minnesota DB Benny Sapp III is the son of former NFL DB Benny Sapp II, who played with the Chiefs, Vikings, and Dolphins

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