Game Time: 8pm EST | Wolverines vs Huskies coverage
Enemy Blog: The UConn Blog
Series History: Second meeting
Weather Forecast: Mid-sixties, 30% chance of rain all day, southward wind at 10 mph
Michigan had a full pads practice on Sunday, something they don't typically do. Can they also wear their pads for the duration of the week during class and while they sleep? It wasn't that the team looked bad, they just played terribly. MAC teams are supposed to be Michigan's annual cupcake game, but for 60 minutes it looked like those cupcakes had mutated into large, hulking terrors that Michigan had to give everything to slay. This would be a very different piece had they lost that game, but now Michigan gets their first-ever trip to East Hartford, Connecticut to return the favor for UConn coming to Ann Arbor in 2009.
Hold the snide comments about how Bill Martin agreed to a home-and-home with a then-Big East school. We're not doing that this time. This game will be tougher than Akron because it is the biggest football game in the UConn program's history. With any luck, Michigan fans will equal Huskies fans in numbers to make it more comfortable. Thank the football gods that this isn't Devin Gardner's first road game, either.
Two outcomes here. One: Michigan plays lights-out football and beats UConn by 50, causing me to put away my torch and pitchfork. Or, the stars, moon, and planets all align for 60 minutes and give Paul Pasqualoni a free pass for the rest of the season because he just beat Michigan and provided ESPN analysts with a new punchline that won't die for weeks. After so narrowly avoiding The Horror Part Deux, I'd prefer it if Michigan left no chance for The Public
The Huskies play in a small stadium, like Northwestern, but it's several miles away from the main campus, like Penn State. Neither of those are good hyperbole for what Michigan will see Saturday. I don't even think UConn is sure what the atmosphere will be like. Maybe Brent Musberger will have to work the stadium soundboard himself for all we know. Does UConn have a soundboard? Western Michigan has an in-house DJ maybe UConn could borrow him. About the only thing we do know is that Michigan will be there, with a healthy visiting fan presence, and a chip on their shoulder.
Michigan's fortunes are not, as last week proved, linked to the play of Devin Gardner alone. He went hot and cold, and they still won thanks to some bailout runs and catches. Fitzgerald Toussaint has to tear UConn to shreds to eliminate the risk of more Gardner interceptions at horrible times. The defense must not give away that they are in zone coverage and play the safeties so loose that the Huskies could throw a pass to an actual husky dog and get 15 yards before being tackled. As is usually the case with these weird trap road games, a special teams play or two probably decides the winner.
It's not going to be a shootout, nor a defensive battle. I don't know what it will be. Anything besides watching Michigan be the catalyst to another school's biggest football win in their existence is fine by me.