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Michigan’s keys to victory vs. Washington

Michigan’s D might feast while their offense is tested.

Michigan v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Michigan (1-0) is set to take on Washington (0-1) after the two teams had polar opposite showings in Week 1. Michigan took care of business against Western Michigan while Washington was upset by Montana.

While Washington isn’t a favorite in this one, they still have enough talent to warrant Michigan taking them seriously. Here’s a look at Michigan’s keys to victory against Washington.

Make Dylan Morris’ day a nightmare

Washington quarterback Dylan Morris may be on a short leash. Morris and Washington didn’t score on their last twelve drives of the game. Morris was sacked three times, and threw three costly interceptions.

Part of Morris’ bad day a week ago can be attributed to horrendous offensive line play, and after watching film of last weeks disaster, it’s hard to believe Washington’s o-line can improve enough in just a week to solve the problems that plagued them versus Washington.

Michigan’ pass rush kept applying pressure in Week 1 against Western Michigan and QB Kaleb Eleby, and now they’re facing a quarterback that cannot handle a stiff blitz even remotely as well as Eleby.

Washington fans are clamoring to see backup QB Sam Huard take over, and that just might happen if Michigan is able to tee off and rock Morris’ early and often. Morris doesn’t thrown an accurate deep ball, and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see Michigan intercept him more than once before halftime.

Make Cade Otton a non factor

Washington has four receivers who will either be out or banged up against Michigan — Ja’Lynn Polk, Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Terrell Bynum.

Tight end Cade Otton had 8 receptions for 82 yards in Week 1, and is far and away Washington’s biggest receiving threat currently healthy. Otton is a sure handed playmaker at tight end with a big catch radius that’ll surely hear his name called in the NFL Draft.

Stopping Otton will be huge in this one, and there will be a couple ways to do so.

Otton kept having to stay home to block in Week 1 with Washington’s line reeling. The more Otton has to block on passing downs, the better.

Michigan will also scheme around who will be able to guard Otton the best, will Michael Barrett line up against Otton? Will Josh Ross? What about Dax Hill? Maybe all of the above — Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will likely throw a few different looks Otton’s way.

If Michigan takes Otton out of the game, there’s not a high likelihood that the passing game gets cooking.

Build upon the solid Week 1 performance offensively, respect Washington’s defense

It’s not rocket science — limit your mistakes, be aggressive when you need to be, play smart — if Michigan does those things they will win this game.

Cade McNamara played well Week 1, Michigan looks to have depth at receiver, running backs Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins looked to be quite the 1A/1B punch, and the offensive line had a better than average day. In short, Michigan looked good last week against a MAC opponent.

While Washington’s offense might be in the gutter, the same cannot be said for their defense, who led the Pac-12 in total defense in 2020. We’re about to see how good Michigan’s offense really is. Washington’s D has some skill in the secondary and will be able to challenge McNamara.

Week 1 was a good first step for this Michigan offense, but a dominating performance agaisnt the Huskies will bode well for UM heading into conference play later this month.