The University of Michigan is eager and ready to kickoff the 2014 football season. However, the Wolverines take on a football program that was a former 3-peat FCS champion, in the form of Appalachian State, a team that beat them the last time the two teams squared off.
The game will air on ESPN2 at 12:00pm EST
But that was seven long years ago, so no player on the current rosters should be worried about what happened in the Big House last time they met, even though almost everyone is still stuck on that game— myself included.
Moreover, the focus should be on building a football team that can compete, and that goes for both programs. Appalachian State has recently bumped up to the FBS and went 4-8 last season. While Michigan is still adjusting to a new offense and molding young players into playmakers; the Wolverines finished 7-6 in the 2013 campaign.
What To Expect:
I don’t want to be that guy who says Michigan will win and win convincingly, but I almost have to. Appalachian State is a good football team who has been making strides at competing at the FBS level for several years now, and have some good players on their roster. That being said, Michigan has been doing the same, but at greater lengths. It may look ugly, however, Michigan will put up points in a hurry.
Player(s) To Watch: Devin Funchess returns this season in a new role as Michigan’s premier receiver. I’m looking forward to seeing the how Appalachian State coaches go about tackling Funchess, and if they’ll put a larger corner or safety up against him. Derrick Green is another intriguing player. He was once considered to be fighting for a starting job with De’Veon Smith but that has changed since several nice performances in fall camp.
Also be aware of players on Appalachian State as well, running back Marcus Cox rushed for 1,250 as a freshman and is a very talented back. The only issue with Cox is that he is recovering from knee surgery, so his availability remains to be seen.
Did you really think I was going to do an entire game preview and not mention Jabrill Peppers? While I truly believe Peppers is already one of Michigan’s most talented players, he is not my “X Factor.” No, it’s actually Frank Clark. It is a huge game for Clark, and a game that could slingshot him towards a breakout season. He can have a field day, and I think he is someone Wolverine fans should keep their eye on.
Michigan 35 – Appalachian State 7
This game should be one where we see Shane Morris taking snaps early in the 3rd quarter. Michigan took care of business last year on opening day against Central Michigan, and put them away early. This could be the case again this year, but remember, even with a Michigan win, the series with Appalachian State will be tied 1-1. This will be a fun game, but Michigan is favored by 34.5 points, which sounds eerily similar to 2007.