We’re back with another 10 things, pregame installment. After an uncomfortable 22-point win against Cincinnati last week, Michigan hosts Mountain West opponent Air Force to the Big House. Here are 10 answers for this matchup:
#1 Who will be the most exciting player to watch? That would be Devin Bush Jr. The young ballistic missile has already developed a knack for getting into the backfield, sacking quarterbacks and creating tackles for loss. He is going to have a consistent opportunity to feast with a triple option attack that runs the majority of the time.
#2 Who’s going to make the biggest highlight play? Do you realize Michigan’s defense has scored more points than it has allowed? That is incredible. Tyree Kinnel is going to be on ESPN a lot this week on a play where Rashan Gary strips the ball carrier and he takes the fumble for a touchdown.
#3 Who is the downtrodden player who will finally have a good game? With a week one annihilation of VMI followed by a bye week, there really isn’t a disappointing player on Air Force just yet. Look for Wilton Speight to finally have a solid game, completing 60 percent of his passes with at least two touchdowns.
How will Wilton Speight respond to two lackluster performances?
This poll is closed
Explode: 300+ pass yards and 3+ Touchdowns
Improve: 60% completion and 200+ pass yards
Coast: 50% or worse completion rating and 1+ INT
Tank: two INTs in first half and get benched
#4 What is a position of concern? It is supposed to be quarterback, but the right side of the offensive line is still stressing a lot of Michigan fans. They went into the season still twitching with moments like the sack safety by Iowa in the latter portion of 2016 that cost the Wolverines to fall to an unranked opponent. The last two weeks have not done anything to treat that anxiety so RG Michael Onwenu and RT Nolan Ulizio have to have better games, especially against defensive line twists.
#5 Which team will have more rushing yards? The matchup between a triple option team and a top 10 team is always intriguing. Air Force was third in the nation in rushing yards, averaging 317 rushing yards a game in a 10-win season last year, but is facing a dominant front seven only giving up an average of 39 rushing yards. Air Force’s front seven does not have the athletes of top programs but are very aggressive, intelligent, and facing an offensive line that has allowed 16 tackles for loss in just two games (only six Power 5 schools are worse).
#6 Which triple option player will likely give Michigan fits? The Falcons had seven different players score a rushing touchdown in a 62-0 romping of VMI two weeks ago. Running back Timothy McVey is probably the most talented player in Air Force’s offense and is their lead rusher AND receiver, but he is actually not who will bother the Wolverines the most. If the Falcon offense ends up moving the ball the way they want, it is going to be because QB Arion Worthman makes the correct option reads quickly and passes surprisingly well and surprisingly often.
#7 Will there be a special teams blunder and from which team? Michigan had its fair share of blunders last week with a punt deflecting off the foot of a blocker and a couple shanked punts. Expect Air Force to come after several punts to try to throw Will Hart off. Air Force’s kicker is very solid, so don’t expect much opportunity to run kicks back. It is definitely Michigan who is most likely to shank another punt or fumble a return.
#8 Will Ty Isaac three-peat as Michigan’s lead rusher? Ty Isaac is coming off back-to-back 100+ yard performances, a very pleasant surprise. He is averaging just under eight yards per carry. Chris Evans has gone from being the talk of the town to possibly being the third best back on the roster as Karan Higdon has looked solid as well. Isaac will likely have another good game, but Higdon and Evans will get their carries. One or both of them will likely have a big play come games end.
#9 Michigan wins if... the defense holds Air Force to less than 200 yards rushing. That sounds easy, but if they are running 60-80 times a game, that’s pretty good. Michigan’s offense doesn’t have to be great, but they do need to make the most of their possessions.
#10 Air Force wins if... the Falcons are able to put together long scoring drives for touchdowns. In other words, dominate time of possession and Michigan consistently fails to convert on third downs. Even then...Michigan could win anyway with another late surge.
Another great matchup to conclude Michigan’s non-conference schedule. This the last game Michigan has to iron out some kinks before a grueling conference schedule. The Purdue, Michigan State and Indiana games all look harder now than they did before the season started. Michigan just has to take it one game at a time. This week is no exception.