Michigan is looking to extend its two game winning streak this week when the BYU Cougars come to the Big House. This will be the second quality team Michigan has played so far this season and they are focused on getting a win. Should the Wolverines get that victory, they could find themselves jumping into the top 25. Here is your Last Look at everything you need to know prior to game time.
Game: Michigan (2-1) vs #22 BYU (2-1)
Where: The Big House Ann Arbor, Michigan
When: September 26, 2015 at Noon
These two teams have only faced each other once. In 1984, BYU beat the Wolverines in the Holiday Bowl 24-17 en route to a National Championship.
Michigan defeated UNLV 28-7 in a one-sided game. The defense had the Rebels on lockdown except for one drive late in the game.
BYU lost to UCLA 24-23 in a hard fought battle in which the Cougars could not pull the “come from beyond” victory like the previous two weeks.
Players to Watch for Michigan
Running backs De’Veon Smith and Ty Issac have trampled over defenses the last two weeks. Each having his own breakout and career high performances. They have helped the Wolverines find a good rhythm and assisted in helping establish the offense as a hard hitting team that will try to impose its will on the opponent’s defense. They have also helped the defense stay off the field by extending drives and eating up plenty of clock.
In the passing game the Cougar defense will have to keep an eye on tight end Jake Butt. He is a game changer with tremendous catching ability. When the Michigan offense needs a big play, they rely on the 6-foot-6 beast to go up and snatch one out of the air. He has 14 receptions, 132 yards and a touchdown so far this season.
The man on the defensive line that will constantly be in the Cougar backfield will be Chris Wormley. He has seven tackles for a loss and is causing all kinds of problems for offensive linemen. Look for him to get at least two more TFL’s and a sack in this one.
Players to Watch for BYU
Quarterback Tanner Mangum is the only offensive player that I am worried about this week. Michigan will once again control the running game and not allow a 100 yard rusher. It’s the Cougar passing attack that defensive coordinator DJ Durkin better prepare for. The two wins for the Cougars came in the last play of the game – two Hail-Marys for touchdowns. Mangum is only a freshman so the play calling will be conservative again to try to limit his mistakes. He is the most dangerous when scrambling out of the pocket so when the Wolverine linebackers are chasing him, the secondary needs to stay with the wide receivers. Durkin will have to dial up some creative blitzing to try to get Mangum rattled early and throw some interceptions.
Last week Cougar junior linebacker Harvey Langi was named Independent Defensive Player of the Week with his performance against UCLA. He had a team high eight tackles and two interceptions. The week before junior safety Kai Nacau was the lead defensive player on the field with three interceptions. The last one was returned for a pick six to help them win the game. Jake Rudock will have to be careful where he puts the ball because these BYU ball hawks will be looking for more picks.
On the defense the X-Factor for the game will be the Michigan secondary because of the threat BYU’s quarterback imposes. Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, Jabrill Peppers, Delano Hill, Wayne Lyons, Jeremy Clark, Jarrod Wilson will have their hands full and will need to keep a close eye on the big BYU receivers. Tanner Mangum likes to roll out of the pocket in hopes of getting the defensive backs to pull up, and then he tosses the ball up over their heads for long strikes. The Michigan defensive backs cannot allow the receivers to get behind them deep down the field, so they really need to keep one eye on the wideouts and the other eye on Mangum. They need to trust and have faith in the front seven to get heavy pressure on the QB. If the secondary can take away the big play from BYU, it should be a good day for the Wolverines.
#22 BYU is getting knocked out of the top 25 Saturday, as the Michigan Wolverines will come away with a season defining victory! It will be a close game so I am calling for a 24-21 win. The two teams will battle back and forth until the final quarter. The Michigan defense will shutdown Mangum late, and Wolverine backs Smith and Issac will get stronger throughout the game. It’ll be Michigan who gets the final score of the game.
I believe the defense will pick off Mangum twice and sack him four times. Rudock will make his mistake, but will overcome in the end such as he did in the final drive vs Utah. Michigan will come away 3-1 and break the top 25 for the first time this season (and stay there).