MICHIGAN vs MIAMI (OH)
Saturday, September 13 • 3:30 ET • Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI (109,901)
TV: BTN • Announcers: Eric Collins, Marcus Ray, Lisa Byington
Line: UM -31 • Series: UM leads 5-0 • Last Meeting: Sept. 6, 2008: UM 16 MU 6
MU by the numbers
0-2 (0-0), Mid American Conference
Head coach: Chuck Martin
at MU: 0-2, 1st year
Rush: Spencer McInnis (11-54 yards) and Dawan Scott (13-36 yards)
Pass: Andrew Hendrix (49-101, 677 yards, 4 TDs)
Rec.: David Frazier (13-215 yards)
Tackles: Kent Kern (23 tackles)
Sacks: Kent Kern (2.0-12 yards) and J’Terius Jones (2.0-4 yards)
Related MBN Game Week Content
• The Dogs of War
• B1G Week 3 Preview
• Week 2 B1G Power Rankings and Bowl Projections
Reasons to be concerned
Seriously, like I need to even type anything here. If you're a Michigan fan without at least an inkling of concern, consider yourself not a Michigan fan. Because right now, everything concerns me.
OK, maybe not everything...but most things. What concerns me the most is not the x's and o's...at least not tomorrow. What concerns me the most is the psychological state of this team. How will they respond to being taken out behind the woodshed by a Notre Dame team that, frankly, was not supposed to be nearly as good as they were when we played them. How do you get back up from a 31-point shutout against a major rival on the road?
Well, playing Miami of Ohio is one way. The Redhawks are riding an 18-game losing streak. Beating a team like this doesn't prove anything, of course, but it does help wash away the stench of failure which is hovering over the program right now. Losing to a team like Miami can really only be described as rock-bottom for a program seemingly on the brink of either falling completely on its face, or turning it all around.
Much like Appalachian State, the advantage of playing a team like Miami (NTM) is negligible. There's minimal upside if they win, and the potential for epic catastrophe should they lose. Honestly, maybe the biggest concern tomorrow should be injuries, which seem to be taking a costly toll on this team so far this year...especially on defense.
Miami head coach Chuck Martin is in his first year in Oxford. Prior to this, he was the offensive coordinator and QB's coach at Notre Dame...you know, that team that just throttled us? Yeah, and his QB at Miami is Andrew Hendrix...who transferred from Notre Dame. They feature the same sort of offense and same sort of QB style as the Irish and Everett Golson. Short drops, quick throws, a pass-heavy attack.
Reasons to be confident
Well, first of all...this is Miami (not that Miami). They're on a 18-game losing streak. They have an extremely one-dimensional offense. They have a middle of the pack defense by MAC standards. And lastly, they're being paid to come to Michigan Stadium to lose. Granted, historically that hasn't always worked out well for Michigan, but we're assuming the worst team in the MAC is not going to shock the world.
Michigan, amid all the shortcomings last week, looked actually pretty good early on. They had sustained drives...which didn't turn into points...but Michigan was able to run the ball effectively and Gardner had some pretty great passes.
I don't see any major x's and o's issues with Michigan aside from the cornerbacks which had a very rough outing last week. Of course, we don't have any injury updates to guys like Peppers or Raymon Taylor. I'd like to assume Peppers will be ready to go...Taylor could be a little more iffy. But again, against a team like Miami, this needs to be a game where all position groups can get some confidence back.
Offensively, I predict a good game for Michigan. The line actually played pretty well last week...I expect more running plays to help develop that part of the offense more and more. Anything to help ease any pressure on Gardner must be an emphasis for Michigan's offense. Its not that Gardner can't be relied on to deliver when he has to, but Nussmeier and Hoke want to create a balanced attack that features a physical ground game. If Michigan is going to get there, it needs to start in games like tomorrow's.
Michigan is going to roll tomorrow. They have to, right? For reasons passing understanding, I feel confident that the lopsided score a week ago clouded the fact that the game itself was actually much closer than it looked. If the confidence and resolve of this team is still intact, we'll see it immediately tomorrow afternoon.
If Michigan gets off to a slow start and struggles to separate from the Redhawks early, you should worry. The talent gap on the field tomorrow should be obvious right from the start. Sure, Miami is going to come in with a little more confidence because of how bad Michigan lost last week. They smell blood in the water.
But this game is about how dangerous playing a wildly overmatched opponent is a week after a monumental loss. How much did that shutout affect this team? How was their confidence impacted? How about their cohesiveness? Like we saw against Akron and UConn last year, we'll know right away if Brady Hoke still has this group playing together as a team.
I think he will.
Tweet obnoxiously if…
• Green/Smith pick up where they left off two weeks ago.
• The Devin's pick up where they left off 2 weeks ago.
• The OL can continue to develop and get better, which they've done so far this season.
• Miami looks like a team on a 18-game losing streak should against a much better opponent.
Commence panic if…
• Michigan isn't controlling the line of scrimmage on offense and defense.
• Michigan's corners are still getting exposed by short passes.
• Michigan isn't up by 2 or more scores at halftime.
• Gardner is still making bad decisions and errant throws.
Michigan 45 Miami 10