#3 Michigan (8-0, 5-0) vs Maryland (5-3, 2-3)
Kickoff: 3:30 PM
Where to Watch: ESPN/Watch ESPN App
Odds: Michigan favored by 30.5 points
Honorary Game Captain: Rick Leach
Michigan will host the Maryland Terrapins with its first year head coach and former Michigan defensive coordinator, DJ Durkin. Harbaugh and Durkin are long time friends but after kickoff, it is every coach for himself. Michigan is coming off a huge rivalry win over “little brother” but the defense is staying hungry with a desire to improve. Here is all the vital information you need and a few things I will be watching for in this Big Ten contest.
What to Watch For
During the game last week, I witnessed the Wolverines letting off the gas in the second half. Not sure if it was lack of focus, as Jourdan Lewis stated, or simply fatigue. This top ranked defense gave up 400 yards to the Spartans, which is almost double what Michigan has allowed to opponents this season. The Wolverines also allowed the Spartans to score 13 points in the final eight minutes. Michigan was out rushed 217 to 192, which was a first this season. The offense sputtered throughout the second half only getting a field goal in the fourth quarter, and Peppers defensive PAT conversion at the end of regulation.
I want to see a full 60 minutes of smash mouth defense, in which they do not give up big plays in the second half. I want to see the defensive line play fresh at the end and not sluggish. Hopefully fatigue was addressed in practice this week, and it will not play a factor. Seniors Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton are the two that I am expecting to step up and lead this unit to a dominant win. The entire team needs to stay focused on the Terps, and not look ahead to further games, or be concerned with the playoff rankings. Yes Michigan is number three in the country, but they have to keep their heads in every game on every play. Although I don’t see Harbaugh running up the score on his coaching buddy, I want to see a hungry offense looking to take it to the house on every down. Maybe instead of putting in the second and third stringers if Michigan gains a big lead, let the starters play a full 60 minutes to help build stamina.
Stop the Run
Maryland running backs Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison, have over 1,000 yards combined on the ground and they are a huge part of the Terps offense. Because of this run heavy system, Michigan has to come up with big stops on first and second down, causing Maryland to have third and long situations. I want to see this fierce defensive line to get back to disrupting the backfield, tackling the backs for losses and hitting the quarterback. Maryland senior QB Perry Hills can sling the ball, but if he is pressured enough, the Michigan secondary will create a no fly zone in the Big House. Rashan Gary was a little quiet last week so I would like to see him have a big game and cause a lot of havoc. The linebackers missed a lot of tackles, and on a few occasions were pushed over or dragged along for more yards. They need to play tougher because Maryland is going to run right at them. It is important that this spectacular defense sets the tone in the first quarter. A tone that says they are not going to allow the Terps to have a big rushing day.
Visitors at the Big House
- Aubrey Solomon, a 5-star defensive tackle from Georgia. He has been back and forth with his decision to commit to Michigan. Having him on campus again is a good sign.
- Nico Collins, a 4-star wide receiver from Alabama who is sought after by Alabama and Georgia.
- Aaron Banks, a 4-star offensive lineman from California will be on his official visit.
- Mekhi Benton, a 3-star tackle from Virginia.
- J’Marick Woods, a 3-star safety and Michigan commit.
- Jeremy Ruckert, a 4-star tight end and the nations No 3 TE overall.