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Getting to know Michigan’s opponent: Cincinnati

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The Michigan Wolverines are playing the Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend

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Austin Peay v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Usually when a team is expected to lose by over thirty points, you don’t hear a lot of confidence coming from one of their players. The Cincinnati Bearcats are bucking this trend, as they are 34.5 point underdogs against the Michigan Wolverines, yet they have a player who likes their chances.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we can go out and shock the world. We just want to come out and execute.” Cincinnati halfback Mike Boone said. Easier said than done.

Boone is feeling pretty confident, considering they beat an Austin Peay team who’s lost 28 straight games by just twelve points (26-14).

The Bearcats biggest difference maker is their first year head coach, a name Michigan fans may be familiar with, Luke Fickell. The Co-Defensive Coordinator of the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2012-2016 is trying to turn around a program that has become one of the most lackluster in the FBS. Fickell’s resume is a strong one, and he knows the scheme of Michigan’s offense very well.

Despite Fickell being fully aware of Michigan’s schematics, he realizes there’s a big talent gap. "Obviously, they've got great personnel. Beyond that, they play hard and they play fast." Fickell also noted he doesn’t think there’s a major difference in talent between the top 22 on each roster.

Stats of note:

  • Gave up 224 yards rushing to Austin Peay
  • No. 109 out of 130 in the Football Power Index
  • 3.3 yards per carry versus Austin Peay
  • Kicker Andrew Gantz missed a 26 yard field goal and an extra point against Austin Peay
  • Only had the ball for 22:19 versus Austin Peay
  • The Bearcats were 4-8 last season
  • Averaged 19.3 points per game in 2016, which ranked 123rd in the country
  • First meeting between Michigan and Cincinnati
  • 56th ranked defense in 2016
  • Quarterback Hayden Moore threw for three touchdowns last week

The likelihood of Cincinnati competing for four quarters against Michigan is highly unlikely. Michigan should be able to run at will against their defense, and this could be a perfect game for Wilton Speight to shake off what happened last week and throw the football with confidence. This could also be a perfect opportunity to give John O’Korn, and maybe even Brandon Peters, some reps.

Expect Michigan to dominate in all phases of the game.