Michigan is facing its third and final cupcake opponent to end the non-conference slate of the 2022 season. It will be another chance for plenty of guys on the roster to see live game action, but it also means any one player’s impact will be limited.
Here are a few players that could stand out on Saturday.
RB CJ Stokes
Through two games, the true freshman has exceeded expectations by securing the third running back spot and doing well in his limited reps. Stokes has rushed for almost 100 yards and a touchdown in just 14 carries while also catching a pass for 15 yards.
Now with Donovan Edwards getting the dreaded “working through something” from Jim Harbaugh following last week’s game, Stokes will have a crack at even more carries in this one. While it’s been weak competition so far, Stokes has shown agility, patience and vision. It’s early, but it looks like he will outplay his recruiting ranking.
CB Mike Sainristil
Now that Penn State transfer Ta’Quan Roberson was injured for the year, UConn is starting a true freshman quarterback in Zion Turner who is averaging only 5.3 yards per attempt. He had a good completion percentage against Syracuse last week, completing 14-of-17 passes, but for only 92 yards. That tells you UConn is not throwing many balls downfield and is instead trying to keep Turner’s life easy by drawing up quick passes and screens.
Sainristil has acclimated to his position switch well so far, blowing up plays where the offense tries to get the edge against him. He’ll probably get more opportunities this week.
Turner also has some good mobility despite not many rush attempts. Michigan has used Sainristil to rush the passer as well, and he brings power behind his hits despite being small in stature. Sainristil is a good candidate to track down Turner if he tries to pick up a first down with his legs and keep him from converting.
TE Erick All
After coming into the season as Michigan’s top receiving target at his position, All has had a quiet start to the year with only two catches so far. It’s clear the tight end room is deep, with Luke Schoonmaker, Joel Honigford, Max Bredeson and Colston Loveland all getting playing time so far. It may be time for All to re-establish himself as one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten, and it may also be time for the coaches to draw up some plays for him to showcase his talent.
All could also face one of the tougher matchups UConn has to offer in linebacker Jackson Mitchell. The 6-foot-2, 227-pounder is UConn’s leading tackler and has 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble this year. Look for J.J. McCarthy to try and find All in the pass game to get the tenured veteran some more run.