Really, there's no way around it. When Michigan takes the field today, it will be doing so with the guarantee of finding its 912th win in program history. A 2013 season in which the Miami Redhawks went 0-12 was only a large part of an ongoing 18-game losing streak that most recently saw Miami fall to FCS Eastern Kentucky by a score of 17-10. Miami's rushing attack managed 2.7 yards per carry in 2013, and against Marshall and EKU, so far that has gotten worse.
For both teams, this will be a game of symbolic victories. Michigan is trying to erase a blowout loss from a week before, hoping to escape a nightmare season from unfolding. Miami is hoping to compete, to get stops against the winningest team in history and go home with something to be proud of. And in the background will be Bo Schembechler, who left Oxford, Ohio with a 40-17-3 record to capture 13 Big Ten titles at his adopted home.
How to witness
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET on BTN.
Radio: WWJ, AM Radio 950, Sirius Radio, Channel 113, and XM radio, Channel 195.
Notre Dame transfer Andrew Hendrix has completed less than 49% of his passes, but when he connects with his receivers they gain 13.8 yards a catch. That is by far their most impressive offensive output, but it comes attached with an average of 2 interceptions per game. Overall, Miami has been one of the ten worst offenses in FBS against below-average teams in Eastern Kentucky and Marshall. This has forced Chuck Martin to try and play keep-away; the Redhawks have held onto the ball more than all but three teams in the country.
For Michigan, this will be more about consistency than inflating statistics. However, some core concerns are turnovers (97th), tackles for loss (99th), and sacks (68th). If a young defensive line can smell blood and assert an aggressive identity, that will be the biggest takeaway heading into a Week 4 game with Utah.
Three names to know
Once again, this will be all about Michigan. The first player to keep an eye out for is Michigan's Frank Clark, who is trying to kick off an All-Big Ten campaign that ends with an NFL Draft selection. He was largely kept out of the game against the Fighting Irish, but this time he will not be denied.
A second name to keep an eye out for is Dennis Norfleet, who has unmatched speed by anybody on Miami's roster. Funchess will get his touches, but a well-oiled Nussmeier attack means running through a mix of dangerous weapons. Miami can't stop Funchess, but they can't stop Norfleet, either. This would also be a perfect chance to try and kindle the deep passing game, something that's been lacking so far.
Finally, the patience and restraint of Jourdan Lewis will be a key component to Michigan's success. If he can shut down receivers without drawing more penalties, that will bode well for Michigan's chances in a lot of games going forward. With a Week 4 match with Utah's Dres Anderson looming (27.9 ypc, 2 TD's so far), Michigan will also have to game plan for Rutgers' Leonte Carroo (24.4, 2), Penn State's Geno Lewis (19.4, 1), and Michigan State's Tony Lippett (20.0, 3), all in a span of five games. If Lewis shows improved control, Michigan will be able to feel confident going into those matchups.
Week 1 was about the company; Week 2 was about Michigan fandom. This time around, it's all about the food. Fall is coming, and this week's games are a little light to qualify as keep-your-butt-in-the-seat material. So, try something you haven't cooked before, hopefully with a couple friends. Check in on some of the noon action (UCF-Missouri?) and make a shrimp gumbo with plenty of mouth-watering veggies - from celery to onion and a little bit of corn. Then, snack on some banana bread before a light dinner of BLT salads. If Penn State-Rutgers or UCLA-Texas doesn't impress, nobody would begrudge you pulling out your favorite movie, either.