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10 Ways for Michigan to Show Improvement vs Cincinnati

Opportunity for a Top 10 Team to Show Development

NCAA Football: Florida at Michigan Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back with another 10 things piece. Week one’s sound victory over #17 Florida has left Michigan fans with a lot of confirmed optimism. The suspensions of ten Florida players prior to the match seemed to take away a lot of the game’s intrigue and suspense, but Michigan still finds itself 1-0 and up to #8 in the AP Poll.

NCAA Football: Florida at Michigan
Michigan finds itself 1-0 and up to #8 in the AP Poll
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan will likely be double digit favorites in each of their next five games until they play Penn St. However, they still have to take it one game at a time. They are a 34 point favorite over the Bearcats, so many of the following keys to the game may not be necessary to win, but they are what Michigan fans will be looking for in a team vying for playoff contention. That being said, here are 10 ways for the Wolverines to show improvement against Cincinnati:

#1 Wilton Speight Bouncing Back. Speight disappointed a lot of fans by keeping Florida in a game they were very much over-matched by his two pick 6’s. He doesn’t have to throw for 300 yards to win this game or to prove something, but he needs to show devastating turnovers are not going to be a pattern going forward.

NCAA Football: Florida at Michigan
Speight needs to show devastating turnovers are not going to be a problem going forward.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

#2 The EvIsDon Trifecta. Michigan will attempt to use its size, strength, and running back depth up front to make the game get ugly early. Look for a heavy dose of the Evans, Isaac, and Higdon trifecta and for all of them to flash their talent. Also look for redshirt freshman Kareem Walker to get his first career carries.


Which Wolverine running back will have the most rushing yards against Cincinnati?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Chris Evans
    (411 votes)
  • 32%
    Ty Isaac
    (242 votes)
  • 12%
    Karan Higdon
    (91 votes)
744 votes total Vote Now

#3 Michigan’s Front 7 Flashes Young Talent Again. It will be tough to improve on giving up 11 rushing yards to a top SEC team, especially when eyeing a Bearcat team that only had 97 rushing yards against a bad FCS team last week. The only thing to watch for is the slight tendency the unit showed to over-pursue some plays and perhaps being vulnerable to misdirection and quarterback draws.

#4 Michigan’s offensive line has to dominate. The Bearcats gave up 224 rushing yards to an FCS team last week. Junior Nolan Ulizio had a some bad moments against the Florida defensive front last week and is eager to show why he is a starting right tackle for a top 10 team. This unit needs to show it is better than last year’s if it hopes to make a run for the Big Ten Championship.

#5 Better Tight End Blocking. There were several moments when guys like Bunting failed to set the edge in run plays. We know they can catch the ball, but they need to block better. McKeon probably had the best all around game last week, but Wheatley and Bunting need to show blocking consistency. Look for 5 to 6 tight ends to see action.

#6 No Turnovers. Michigan doesn’t need to be mistake free to win this game, but the two pick six’s last week kept an overwhelmed Florida team in a game that could have easily finished 39-3. Michigan’s offense needs to use games like this week to gain confidence and improve on execution.

#7 Lavert Hill, David Long, and Brandon Watson forcing some turnovers. With an underwhelming rushing attack that only had 97 rushing yards last week against a FCS opponent, the Bearcats are going to be airing it out a lot. Look for the young Michigan corners to make some plays.

#8 Quinn Nordin Has Another Solid Game. Did you know no Michigan kicker had ever made multiple 50+ field goals in a single game before last week? Nordin did still miss his last two attempts, which showed he’s not perfect. It would be great if he can have another solid game, maybe hitting another 50 yarder, even if just to show last week wasn’t a fluke!

#9 Big Plays on Cincinnati Punts. Michigan is faster, stronger, and very well coached in special teams. Look for this to show either with a blocked punt or a big return.

#10 Young Michigan Receivers Shine. Tarik Black had a great game against Florida, but now he’s going to be playing against a secondary he can really overpower. Look for Black to make big plays again off play action and Grant Perry in third down situations.

Fun fact: Michigan fans may notice a familiar face on the Cincinnati sideline. Only one Ohio St head coach has lost to Michigan since 2004. Yes, the only time Michigan beat Ohio St in the last 13 years- Luke Fickell was the interim head coach. There is no doubt about it, Fickell has his hands full with a serious rebuilding project, but it’s a fun matchup. Cincinnati is not a good team, but there is still a lot for Michigan players to learn as they play them, regardless of the final score.