It’s Week 3 of the college football season, and the Michigan Wolverines have another cupcake on the schedule with the Connecticut Huskies coming to Ann Arbor on Saturday. So far, the Huskies have dropped games to Utah State and Syracuse losing by a combined 45 points in those two games. Their only win came against an FCS school in Central Connecticut.
Just like last week, many national outlets rank the Huskies as one of the worst teams in college football. Losing 48-14 to the Orange last week certainly did not do them any favors. Still, there are some standouts on this team that could make a difference on Saturday and challenge a few of the Wolverines’ starters.
LB Jackson Mitchell
The first is junior linebacker Jackson Mitchell. In Week 0 against Utah State, Mitchell recorded 16 tackles and was all over the football field. This is just one of two games that he has achieved that mark on the season, having a repeat performance against Syracuse this past weekend.
What a game yesterday by #UConn LB Jackson Mitchell (#8). 16 tackles (!!), 1 sack, 1 FF and FR (took the ball out of RB’s hands) just overall monster game.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) August 28, 2022
Finished w/113 tackles last year and well on page for that in 2022. pic.twitter.com/h9AAeuiC6C
Head coach Jim Mora compared him to some of the NFL defenders he has coached in his career. Guys like Myles Jack, Pro Football Hall of Famer Sam Mills, and Anthony Barr came to mind when the head coach was speaking about him.
Mitchell has been a starter since he was a true freshman, and he is one of the few bright spots on a subpar football team. I would assume it will be a focal point for Sherrone Moore and this offensive line to have their eyes on Mitchell to pick up larger chunks in the run game on Saturday.
RB Nathan Carter
Carter is one of the most explosive running backs in the lower tier of the FBS. Last season he showed flashes, but this year he has been a star on the offensive end. In three game he already has 59 attempts for 384 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
His speed shows up with and without pads on, clocking in at a sub 4.39 40-yard dash in high school. Surely he has only gotten even faster since starting collegiate training in East Hartford.
UConn’s Nathan Carter is available in 94% of leagues on fantrax— Matt Hicks (@TheFF_Educator) August 27, 2022
Currently he has 20 touches for 194 total yardspic.twitter.com/nnxSrfVNVQ
Carter can also catch passes out of the backfield, making him a dangerous weapon for his quarterbacks. This guy has Power 5 speed, and he is going to be the best back the Wolverines have seen this season (which isn’t saying much). It will be a helpful warmup for this Michigan defense to face a back like this so early in the season in a game where they are heavily favored.
WR Aaron Turner
As a true freshman last season, Turner led the team with 33 receptions. Only tallying 232 yards was a bit of a damper on that, but he is off to a hot start in 2022 in efforts to add more yards per catch.
So far he is at 11 receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown through three games. He’s only 5-foot-7, but he’s absolutely another speedster that the Wolverines will need to look out for off of screens. This play against Syracuse last week is the perfect example of that:
TOUCHDOWN!— UConn Football (@UConnFootball) September 11, 2022
Aaron Turner takes it 55-yards to the HOUSE pic.twitter.com/85rCpIiqI9
I’m not sure he has what it takes to hang with Michigan’s No. 1 corners, but later in the game, he is going to be a viable option for some of the younger guys like Will Johnson to cut his teeth against.
Open-field tackling and taking the right angles (basic fundamentals) will be challenged this week for the Wolverines when Turner gets the ball in his hands. It will be an opportunity for some of the freshman to get some good tape early in the season.