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Better than a bye week?

September 15, 2012

 

If you’ve already read Mike’s in depth preview of the UMass game, you know this one won’t be close.  The Minutemen are a far cry from the team that almost won in the Big House in 2010, and thankfully, so are we.  If Michigan we’re to lose this game, it would be more unexpected than a Mark Dantonio smile.

The best part about tomorrow’s game is that Michigan will hopefully get to work out some kinks on both offense and defense, will get to rest some key players before the Notre Dame game, and will get some experience for some young guys who normally don’t see the field.  And if a walk-on can score a touchdown or make a tackle, that’s great too!

This weeks recipe for a win is to make sure that the bus driver safely makes it from the Campus Inn to the corner of Stadium and Main.  Instead, let’s take a look at a few things to watch out for/build on:

  • The Rush Offense – The rushing game outside of Denard has been non-existent the first two weeks.  Indiana rushed for 333 yards last week against UMass.  If we can’t run effectively against UMass, we may never find our groove this year. Hopefully Toussaint finds his groove tomorrow, the offensive line gels a little bit and gains some confidence, and we’re all rooting for Justice Hayes by the 3rd quarter instead of Toussaint and Rawls.
  • The Rush Defense – Through two games, UMass is 121st in rushing yards in the country – dead last.  And their two opponents were Indiana and UConn.   This is a very very bad rushing attack.   I said that we couldn’t judge this rush defense against Alabama because of how good the offensive line was and we couldn’t judge it against Air Force because of the uniqueness of the offense they run.  While a strong performance tomorrow doesn’t prove that we have a solid defense (see Indiana and UConn), a poor performance means there is reason for alarm.  Barring one big run or a lot of yards against the 2nd/3rd teamers, UMass shouldn’t be anywhere close 100 yards on the ground tomorrow.
  • Russell Bellomy/Devin Gardner – If as expected Michigan builds an early lead, it should be a short game for Denard Robinson.  That means we should get a good luck at the current #2 QB Russell Bellomy and will get a chance to see if he has the goods to take over for Denard next year, fend off super frosh to be Shane Morris and keep Devin Gardner at receiver.  Bellomy will be the first QB in after Denard – but I’ll be very interested to see if Gardner gets any snaps at QB too.

PREDICTION

3 years ago Michigan played a similar caliber opponent in Delaware State and won 63-6, and it wasn’t that close.  UMass is probably better than the Hornets, but not by a ton.  Denard is gone by the start of the 3rd quarter, two Michigan backs rush for 100 yards, Jordan Kovacs looks like his old self, and the only thing keeping Dennis Norfleet from a career day is that he’ll probably only get 3 chances at best to return a kick.

Michigan 55

UMass 6

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