The Michigan Wolverines (3-1) travel to College Park on Saturday to take on the Maryland Terrapins (2-2) in agame that has a pretty large cloud hanging over it. (No pun intended)
Kickoff has been moved up eight hours to noon ET following the forecast of some inclement weather as a result of Hurricane Joaquin.
Here are some of the matchups that I will be keeping an eye on:
Michigan vs. The Hurricane
It sounds like the title of a bad disaster film, but hey, these are the cards that the Wolverines and Terrapins have been dealt.
Jim Harbaugh has spoken before about making sure first and foremost that you bring your defense with you when you play on the road. Michigan showed against Utah that being away from the Big House would not affect how the defense plays, but that was only one game and it was a month ago.
Maryland is not a very good offense team by any stretch of the imagination, but bad weather is the ultimate equalizer when it comes to the game of football. It will be interesting to see how that affects the Wolverines on defense. On paper, they should dominate this matchup on that side of the football.
On offense, a wet football can always cause problems with handoffs and ball security, so an extra emphasis will have to be placed on protecting the football.
Jake Rudock vs. The Turnovers
This seems like it has been in all of these articles this year, but I will be looking at this closely again Saturday with a damp field and "swirling winds" in College Park. Do not expect to see much of the passing game, but a second-consecutive clean outing from Rudock would be a huge positive going forward. We are starting to see the game slow down for him a bit, at least against BYU. Keep the ball off of the ground and the Wolverines will be fine offensively.
Will Likely vs. Michigan's Special Teams
Something that does not get talked about enough is how improved Michigan is in this aspect of the game. Special teams is the most underrated part of football and the Wolverines have one of the best coaches in the country in John Baxter to lead this unit.
Maryland's biggest threat comes in the return game, where dynamic runner Will Likely has the ability to take a kick to the house almost every time he touches the football. In a sloppy game where field position may play a large factor, Michigan has to be able to limit his damage and make the Terrapins drive the length of the field.
Harbaugh went out of his way during his Monday presser to discuss Likely and his return ability, so do not expect the Wolverines to be caught off guard. They know what they are dealing with. They just are tasked with stopping it.
That's it for this edition. What matchups will you be looking forward to on Saturday? Sound off in the comments below!