There’s no question that Michigan‘s first game of the season is going to be very hyped up. In fact, it is already pretty hyped up in not just the community but the nation as a whole. Jim Harbaugh’s first game as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines is a Thursday night game at Utah on national TV. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that for the debut of a head coach like Harbaugh.
The main focus here today, however, is the matchups the Wolverines have to deal with when they head out to Salt Lake City.
Devontae Booker (RB)
The offense was led last season by running back Devontae Booker. Booker finished with 1,512 rushing yards, which was good for No. 20 in the country, and 10 touchdowns. At one point, he had over 100 yards in five consecutive games, with 229 yards against Oregon State and 156 yards against UCLA. He will once again be the main problem for the Wolverines.
Although Michigan’s rushing defense was No. 15 in the country last year, he will still be the main cause of concern for the Wolverines. He only went for 34 yards on 11 attempts in last season’s meeting, but he wasn’t the full-time starter at the time. Now that he’s the No. 1 back, he will get the majority of the carries and try to build off his successful junior season.
Hunter Dimick (DE)
Last year’s Utah defense was led by senior defensive end Nate Orchard, who was a first-team all defensive player for the Pac-12 with 18.5 sacks. He was the Utes’ only first-team player.
Now that Orchard is gone, the real question is who will step it up on defense for Utah? My guess is junior defensive end Hunter Dimick. Dimick is set to have a bigger role with the defense with Orchard out. He finished last season 8th in the conference in tackles for loss and 5th in sacks.
All signs are pointing at Dimick leading the defense and taking over Orchard’s role. He won’t be as disruptive as Orchard, but he will definitely be just as competitive and everyone will have their eyes on him when he’s on the field.