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Keys to Victory: Michigan vs. Hawaii

Michigan is favored by a whopping 52 points this weekend.

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Michigan Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY Sports

After a resounding 51-7 victory over a Colorado State team that went 3-9 last season, Michigan plays a team that might be even worse, as the Wolverines are currently a 52-point favorite on DraftKings in their matchup with Hawaii.

This game isn’t expected to be competitive, as Michigan fans should be concerned if they aren’t up by at least three scores at the half.

Here are a few things we’d like to see in this Week 2 game:

Let J.J. Cook

The reason why every Michigan fan will be tuning into this game will be to see the first career start of J.J. McCarthy. One of the most highly touted quarterback recruits in Michigan history, McCarthy has only played in short bursts but has done enough to have the Wolverine faithful clamoring for him to take Cade McNamara’s job as QB1.

We aren’t going to learn much about McCarthy that we didn’t already know in this game; if this games goes how most fans are expecting it to, he’ll probably be out towards the beginning of the second half.

That being said, we can finally see McCarthy outside of a few plays at a time: we will get to see him make calls at the line of scrimmage, how he reacts to a defense game-planning against him as a starter and see how he handles the flow of a college football game.

It’s not crazy to think that McCarthy could go for 300 yards combined through the air and on the ground, and hopefully for the sanity of Michigan fans, he does enough in this game to force Coach Harbaugh’s hand and make him the starter.

Rent a small condo in Hawaii’s backfield

Aside from the quarterback drama, the main takeaway from the win over Colorado State is that despite Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo heading to the NFL, the Michigan Wolverines can still have a dominant pass rush.

Nine different Wolverines had at least half a sack last week, as Michigan was able to rack up seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss in the victory.

A good pass rush can be great for any defense, giving the secondary more time to read coverages and forcing the opposing offense to make quick decisions.

I want Michigan to top their own sack and tackle for loss numbers, as Hawaii should never be comfortable dropping back to pass in this game. If they can add three more sacks and three more tackles for loss, Michigan might win this game by 70.

Stay healthy, and experiment a little on offense

You could honestly make this a key for every non-conference game against a bad opponent — Michigan should solely focus on coming away with the victory and with no injuries in this game.

Games like this allow Michigan to see what they have in their young players currently in second or third string roles. Additionally, I’d like to see Michigan try out some funky plays once they’ve established a healthy lead.

There’s not a lot to complain about last year’s Big Ten title team, but they did get a little predictable on offense at times. While you never want to reveal your whole playbook in games like this, I’d like to see Michigan try out some trick plays or trick-adjacent plays.

Run some wide receiver sweeps. See how well you can run screen plays. Maybe throw in a flea flicker or two. Trying out some gadget plays in a semi-meaningless contest like this will ultimately help Michigan when they need to keep defenses guessing in conference play.