The time for talk and speculation is ALMOST over folks. Kickoff is just over twenty-four hours, and wheels are down in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I have my own game to coach tomorrow night and will be watching the game on tape delay. Here are just a few of my predictions for tomorrow night.
1. The offense will not throw more than twenty times.
– Harbaugh will look to establish the run early and often, and we’ll probably see him force the issue if necessary. The only way the Wolverines throw more than twnety time is if they are down in the fourth quarter.
2. No back will carry the ball more than ten times.
– De’veon Smith is listed as the starter and will see the first few carries of the night, but after that I expect to see Derrick Green, Ty Isaac and potentially Karan Higdon in certain packages and personal groupings throughout the night.
3. The offensive line will only give up one sack.
– I believe this retooled offensive line under Tim Drevno will shore up ALL of the faults we saw under Brady Hoke and Darrell Funk.
1. Jabrill Peppers had eight total tackles, two TFL and one pass defended.
– I anticipate the defense will be in either a 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 alignment most of the night to defend Utah’s spread offense, which will put Jabrill all over the field. On the line of scrimmage, twelve yards off ball and in the nickel corner slot.
2. The defense gives up only one play of 40+ yards
– This defense is incredibly athletic and fast and will rally to the ball on everything underneath or outside. However, this is a new scheme for these players and it would be silly to think there wont be at least one coverage breakdown.
3. Three sacks between the D-Line and line backers.
– The new scheme will be an advantage here, as Durkin will be able to dial up some blitzes in zone and man coverage that the Utes have never seen before.
Final Prediction: Michigan-28 Utah-24
I firmly believe the defense will hold the Utes to under four scores (the fourth obviously being a field goal) and if that happens, all the Offense has to do is match or overtake by a few points to be in the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Kyle Wittingham himself has said he doesn’t know what to expect from the Wolverines, and if they can capitalize early in the first half, the only way the Utes will catch up is if their staff can make effective half time adjustments.