Michigan and Washington football sizing
The Michigan Wolverines football (1-0) will host the Washington Huskies (0-1) in a prime-time game at The Big House on Saturday night.
Here, we’ve set the stage for every aspect of the Wolverines-Huskies game, and give our take on who has the advantage in each area.
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BREACH OF MICHIGAN VS. THE DEFENSE OF WASHINGTON
After a week, Michigan’s offensive ranks ninth nationally for ESPN’s FPI offensive effectiveness, while Washington’s defense ranks 36th nationally.
Michigan’s passing offense was rarely used last week in a 47-14 win over Western Michigan, but shone when it was. Redshirt rookie quarterback Cade mcnamara completed 9 of 11 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, before the first year JJ McCarthy came in and completed 4 of 6 passes for 80 yards and a score.
The Wolverines only allowed one sack and a rushed quarterback, but their overall PFF pass blocking rating was 56.5, which is below average.
Maize and Blue will be without a junior wide receiver Ronnie bell, who suffered a season-ending injury against Western Michigan, the team’s best spread. Others will have to intervene to fill the void.
In an embarrassing 13-7 loss to Montana at the FCS level last week, the Huskies only beat the Grizzlies quarterback once – a four-yard loss created by the first-year outside linebacker. Cooper McDonald – but was able to force nine haste. The pass defense was more than solid overall, allowing just 105 yards in the air for an average of 4.6 yards per attempt and zero touchdowns.
The cornerback duo in second year of Trent McDuffie, a third preseason All-American team that had two break-ups last week, and Kyler gordon, an honorable mention twice in the All-Pac-12, is a tough challenge for opponents off and at quarterbacks. McDuffie allowed a reception for 14 yards on four targets last week, while Gordon gave up two catches for 22 yards on three targets.
It should be noted that the Huskies play in the nickel (five defensive backs) a good deal of the time, and the junior nickel corner Brendan Radley Hiles, a transfer from Oklahoma, has started 32 career games and has 12 career assists.
Michigan’s rushing offense was strong last week, racking up 334 rushing yards, the most the team has gained since 2017.
The second year running back Blake Corum‘s 111 yards and a touchdown paved the way, while sophomore redshirt Hassan Haskins had 70 yards and a score himself. All in all, Corn and Blue managed to produce a ridiculous 7.8 yards per attempt.
The run blocking the offensive line was solid, ranking well above average on PFF (74.), but the Wolverines faced an undersized and under-equipped WMU front.
This week the challenge becomes more difficult.
Washington’s top seven are led by the sophomore linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio, a pre-season first-team all-star who had five tackles and one loss stoppage last week. However, inside defensive linemen are big question marks (literally, at 300 pounds apiece), and the Huskies turned heavily in places last week, never finding the right combination.
Montana averaged just 3.7 yards per carry against the Husky front, but stuck to it and was able to gain 127 yards for the game. The Huskies’ rushed defense posted a meager 55.2 and 61.6 (both below average, which is 64).
THE WASHINGTON OFFENSE VS. THE DEFENSE OF MICHIGAN
Despite allowing just 14 points on what was thought to be a solid WMU offense, Michigan’s defense ranks 53rd nationally in ESPN’s FPI ratings, while Washington’s offense – more appropriate perhaps – ranks 123 in the country after accumulating just seven points on Montana.
To say that Washington’s offensive fought Montana would be an understatement, especially given the level of competition. Redshirt rookie quarterback Dylan morris completed 27 of 46 passes for 226 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions, and was sacked three times and squeezed six times.
The much-vaunted Huskies offensive line at the start of the season struggled, posting a PFF pass blocking rating of 51.5.
Washington could go without four wide receivers due to injury, a great story to watch ahead of the contest.
Michigan’s pass defense struggled in the first practice against the Broncos, allowing for a 75-yard possession that resulted in six points, before buckling down and putting in an impressive performance to close things off.
In total, WMU made 20 of 37 attempted passes for 191 yards and a touchdown, while being sacked once and rushing 11 times according to PFF.
The only blow to Maize and Blue’s pass defense is that she didn’t register any interceptions despite a few top-notch opportunities. However, the Wolverines starting cornerbacks – sophomores in red shirts Green Gemon and Vincent Gray – looked more confident than a year ago, combining to drop four receptions on nine targets, while the second-year (and nickel) safety Daxton Hill allowed five catches on seven targets, but averaging just 3.6 yards per reception.
The Maize and Blue also limited the big plays, giving just eight plays of 10 or more yards in the air and four snaps that resulted in 20 or more passing yards.
The Huskies offensive line has struggled in this area as well, posting a PFF race blocking rating of 59.4. The running game, run by a sophomore and preseason watchlist member Doak Walker Award Richard newton, racked up just 2.4 yards per carry and a total of 65 yards, stats that show just how poor an offense has been for the team.
Far too many negative plays have plagued Washington, who lost 32 yards overall on running plays.
Michigan’s run defense was strong against the Broncos, despite playing much of the game in the nickel lineup with just two linemen and two outside linebackers beside them. The Wolverines surrendered 126 yards on 32 attempts (3.9 yards per carry) and registered three tackles for a loss.
Defensive front seven is featured by the junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and junior linebacker redshirt Josh ross, who led the team in tackles with six.
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