Opponent Watch: Week 3

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Perfect-ish form.

Wondering what Michigan's future opponents did last weekend? Well wonder no more. Plus...a handy W/L record chart at the bottom of this post for added convenience.

#22 BYU (2-1)
Last week: Lost to #10 UCLA 24-23
This week: @ Michigan 

The secret magic that BYU had in week's 1 and 2 ran out in the Rose Bowl versus top-10 UCLA. Amid a bevy of early turnovers by the Bruins, BYU wasn't able to turn those into points which cost them down the stretch. BYU had the lead late in the game, but UCLA was able to come back thanks to 296 rushing yards as a team. Tanner Mangum hoped to channel more heroics in the waning seconds, but his final pass was picked off as UCLA ran out the clock.

Stock: Down

Maryland (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: Beat South Florida 35-17
This week: @ West Virginia

Maryland QB Caleb Rowe had quite a day. 21 of 33 for 297 yards 4 touchdowns and 3 picks. He also fumbled the ball 3 times (none of which were lost)...in an 18 point win. To put it bluntly...how bad is South Florida? The answer is very not good at all. After getting blown out by Bowling Green, Maryland rebounded to get the win putting up big offensive numbers, 411 yards of total offense. We'll find out this week if this win will be just a flash in the pan when they travel to Morgantown.

Stock: Down

#17/19 Northwestern (3-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Duke 19-10
This week: vs Ball State

There's no more ignoring Northwestern and their stout defense. Maybe the Stanford game was just a apparition, but as long as both NU and Stanford continue to play well, that week 1 win starts to look more and more impressive. Playing at Duke, while not a huge test, is still a good win nonetheless. NU has given up only 5.3 points per game...ranked #1 in the country in scoring defense. Keep this up and there's no doubt they could roll into Ann Arbor 5-0 on October 10th.

Stock: Up

#2/2 Michigan State (3-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Air Force 35-21
This week: vs Central Michigan

It was the Cook to Burbridge show on Saturday that led Michigan State to a 14 point win over Air Force. Cook hooked up for 3 scores with his favorite receiver including an acrobatic snag in the second quarter on a 28 yard pass. However, hard to ignore MSU's 77 yards on 42 rushing attempts (1.8 ypc). Connor Cook is a good QB, but to make it through the season as the #2 team in the country, MSU's going to need a real ground game. They're also going to need a defense that doesn't give up an average of 414 yards per game...coming in at 94th in the country.

Stock: Unchanged

Minnesota (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Kent State 10-7
This week: vs Ohio

I would appear Minnesota's offense under QB Mitch Leidner has gone missing as they squeak by a mid-major opponent by 3 points. Head coach Jerry Kill said after the game in a rather testy mood, "I don't have the magical answer right now, but I better get it or I don't deserve to be here." Strong words from the coach, but they echo the frustration being felt in Minneapolis right now. Minnesota was a media darling heading into the season, and even at 2-1 with a good showing against TCU in the opener, it would appear cracks have begun to form, especially on the Gopher offense.

Stock: Down

Rutgers (1-2, 0-1)
Last week: Lost to Penn State 28-3
This week: vs Kansas

Perhaps Kyle Flood is the only thing keeping the Rutgers dumpster fire from swelling out of control. Off the field, yes, Rutgers is a mess mostly because of Flood. But until last week in Happy Valley, the on the field performance was at least commendable. Not so much now. Rutgers got beat up by a not very good Penn State team. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 3 times and gave up 330 yards rushing to an offense that ranks 114th nationally in total offense.

Stock: Down

Indiana (3-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat WKU 38-35
This week: @ Wake Forest

I suppose we'll find out a little bit more to the Great Indiana Riddle of 2015 this coming weekend. Is this team that good, worthy of all the hype, or have they just not played anyone worth a damn? Indiana can score points, no question about that. But it's that pesky defense that always screw IU in the end. Much like 2013, the Hoosiers are scary in terms of scoring in bunches very quickly. If they can get passed Wake Forest this weekend, watch out Buckeyes...who come calling on October 3rd.

Stock: Unchanged

Penn State (2-1, 1-0)
Last week: Beat Rutgers 28-3
This week: vs San Diego State

Well, they beat Rutgers. That's...sort of something worth feeling good about. Despite the offensive numbers being less than mediocre, Penn State's defense has had it's bright spots. The rushing defense is one of the best in the nation and so far they're only allowing 14.7 points per game, which seems about right given their schedule so far...Temple, Buffalo and Rutgers. But if the Nittany Lions can resurrect Christian Hackenberg, they could salvage a decent season with many so-called winnable games left on the schedule.

Stock: Down

#1/1 Ohio State (3-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Northern Illinois 20-13
This week: vs Western Michigan

If Ohio State intends to remain #1 all year, they need to shore up their offensive woes. They have, legitimately the most dynamic offensive weapons in the country, but only the 75th ranked offense in terms of yards per game. Turnovers, uninspired performances the last 2 weeks, and a quarterback controversy anyone could've seen coming a mile are all working against the psyche of what should be an overwhelmingly great Ohio State squad. If they struggle again with another MAC opponent this week, watch out for that trip to Bloomington in 2 weeks.

Stock: Down

Handy chart...

Michigan's Opponent Records

UTAH W W W - - - - - - - - - - 3-0
ORST W L W - - - - - - - - - - 2-1
UNLV L L L - - - - - - - - - - 0-3
BYU W W L - - - - - - - - - - 2-1
UMD W L W - - - - - - - - - - 2-1
NW W W W - - - - - - - - - - 3-0
MSU W W W - - - - - - - - - - 3-0
MINN L W W - - - - - - - - - - 2-1
RUT W L L - - - - - - - - - - 1-2
IND W W W - - - - - - - - - - 3-0
PSU L W W - - - - - - - - - - 2-1
OSU W W W - - - - - - - - - - 3-0
TOT 9-3 8-4 9-3 - - - - - - - - - - 26-10

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