It’s senior day at the Big House and Michigan hosts the Indiana Hoosiers in the last home game of the year. Michigan is coming off its first loss of the season, so here are some things to watch for as they try to bounce back.
#3 Michigan (9-1, 6-1) vs. Indiana (5-5, 3-4)
Kickoff: 3:30 PM
Where to Watch: ESPN/WatchESPN App
Odds: Michigan favored by 25
Things to Watch
All Eyes on John
When the first report came out that Wilton Speight would miss the remainder of the season due to a broken collarbone, I was instantly troubled. Not so much that I was worried about how the backup QB would play, but rather not seeing Speight continue playing a spectacular season. He has been on target with his throws, up to the Iowa game, and most importantly, takes care of the football. Looking back I now see why he missed those deep balls vs. Iowa, he was playing injured. Coach Harbaugh has not confirmed this collarbone injury, nor the end of the starters season, so we still have some hope that Speight will return. Until we see him back on the field, it’s all aboard the John O’Korn train. All eyes will be on John when he leads the Wolverines in his first career start at Michigan.
In the preseason pick for starting QB, I chose O’Korn because of his mobility and game experience at Houston. I really thought with his big arm and running ability, that he would give the Wolverines the best shot to moving the chains. I am very pleased with Speight’s performance, but I still believe O’Korn can lead this team to victories. Everyone is concerned about having a backup QB this late in the season, but let me remind you of a few times it worked out okay. Last year, Michigan State beat Ohio State with its second string guy, and two years ago, Ohio State won the national championship with its third string QB. It is very possible to win with O’Korn in as the signal caller. He just needs to reign in some of those big risk big reward throws he likes and play smart. Don’t force the ball in too tight of spaces. With him being a mobile guy, that will take a defender away from another Michigan weapon because the Indiana defense will have to put a spy on O’Korn. He has some game snaps this year in clean up duty and has looked pretty good. He has led the team on some nice touchdown drives and has two scores with no interceptions. John O’Korn will not be the only player in a Michigan uniform so it is unfair for us to expect him to win this game all alone. Everyone on this team needs to step up and play great football and get behind its leader. Already we have seen some players go to social media, telling us they have full confidence in O’Korn.
John O’Korn will need some helpers during this game from all three aspects of the game. I am going to call out some guys, especially some seniors, that need to give their best in this last home game. In the kicking game when you are called on Kenny Allen, make every PAT and every field goal that you get to kick. Points will be crucial in this game as Indiana can get its share of points too. De’Veon Smith, Jake Butt, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson: Fight for every yard, every catch, hit every block you can. Do the little things that need done to win a game and by this you will help out your backup QB. Defensive seniors (too many to list), leave your mark on the field by shutting down a very good offense. Get a record number of tackles for loss and sacks. Hit hard, cause turnovers, fight to take away every yard Indiana tries to gain. Take the pressure off the offense by not allowing any touchdowns. I am calling out all the helpers in this last home game, leave us one more great game in the 2016 season at the Big House! Also a special Thank You to all of the seniors who will not be coming back next year, you will be missed.
Last week the Michigan offensive line was out played on the physical aspect of the game. They was pushed around by the Iowa defense and did not push back too often. The running game was almost non existent, only rushing for 98 yards(12 yds was longest run). The O-line did not create enough room for the backs to run through. Iowa’s defense penetrated the backfield all day long, sacking Speight two times and recording eight tackles for loss. This week Michigan’s line needs to get mean, aggressive and push some people around in order to control the line of scrimmage. If they do that, two things will be accomplished. First that will get the running game going and protect O’Korn enough to throw down the field and gain confidence. If Michigan wins the battle upfront, they win the war.
Visitors at the Big House
- Les Miles is supposed to be in attendance. This is interesting because so is a LSU committ. Les has been very supportive of coach Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines as of late.
- Isaiah Wilson, a 5-star offensive tackle from New York according to his Twitter.
- Deontrey Hil, a 4-star offensive guard in the class of 2018 according to @247wolverines. Hill is the #2 guard in the nation for his class.
- Elijah Hicks, a 4-star CB and Notre Dame commit according to Sam Webb
- Tony Carter, the #1 ranked fullback and LSU commit according to his Twitter.
- Rutger Reitmaier, a 4-star defensive tackle and Oregon commit, from Nashville,TN according to chatsports.com
- Zach Sheffer, a 3-star tight end in the 2018 class from Florida according to Brandon Brown.
Also several Michigan commits including CB Benjamin St Juste, LB Ben Mason, WR Brad Hawkins, DE Luiji Vilain, RB Kurt Taylor, and OL Joel Honigford.