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Three Michigan players to watch against Nebraska

These Wolverines will have a chance to make an impact in Saturday’s game.

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Michigan is back home this week to face a Nebraska team on the verge of not making a bowl for the sixth straight year. Its defense is porous, especially on the ground so I wouldn’t expect this to be the week Michigan opens up the passing game. Michigan’s defense will have a little tougher of a test but a key injury could harm Nebraska’s chances even more.

Here are the three Wolverines to watch.

CB Will Johnson

Despite his five-star status coming out of high school, Johnson has been held out of significant playing time before last week. After earning more snaps against Rutgers, Johnson will face a tougher test against Nebraska’s leading receivers.

Trey Palmer is the clear leader of the group with 53 catches for 819 yards and five touchdowns. He’ll be a difficult matchup for Johnson but starting quarterback Casey Thompson may be out with an injury, which should make getting Palmer the ball a little more challenging.

LB Michael Barrett

Barrett is another Wolverine defender who earned more playing time against Rutgers and made the most of it, collecting two interceptions including one for a touchdown. The biggest question mark about his ability as an inside-the-box linebacker is his size. If Thompson is out, Nebraska may have to rely on the run more, testing Barrett’s tackling skill.

He’ll have a tough matchup in JUCO transfer Anthony Grant, who is listed at a stout 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. He’s rushed for 858 yards and six touchdowns this season so far. Barrett can fill a big hole in Michigan’s defense by showing the willingness and strength to take on blocks and bring down ball carriers.

RB Donovan Edwards

Edwards got to show off his versatility last week with more than 100 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving and a touchdown. Nebraska is a terrible matchup for Michigan defensively as it is giving up 183 rushing yards per game, second-worst in the conference.

Edwards may have a good chance this week to show he’ll be ready to handle a full workload next year. Even with Corum on the field, Michigan should be able to draw up some fun concepts to get Edwards involved in the passing game, although it may not need to open the playbook yet.