The No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (1-0) proved that despite losing so many players from last year, they can beat some of the better teams in the country in their 33-17 win over No. 17 Florida. This Saturday, the maize and blue will have their first home game of the season when they host the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Bearcats (1-0) are fresh off a 26-14 win season-opening win over FCS-team Austin Peay. The offense is led by junior quarterback Hayden Moore who threw for 1744 yards last year and 11 touchdowns. In Saturday’s game, he threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
The rushing attack is headlined by Mike Boone. The senior running back ran for 100 yards and a touchdown last week and was the second leading rusher a season ago.
The receiving core features senior Devin Gray, junior Kahlil Lewis, senior tight end Tyler Cogswell and sophomore Thomas Geddis.
Players to Watch
WR Tarik Black-The true freshman impressed many in his college debut, hauling in two receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. It’ll be interesting to see how he, along with others like Donovan Peoples-Jones and Grant Perry, develop over the course of the season.
QB Wilton Speight-Although the Wolverines seemed to dominate the Gators in most aspects of last week’s game (i.e. offensive production, defensive skills, etc.) the biggest threat to the Wolverines in the game might have been its starting quarterback.
Speight threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns against the Florida Gators. He also missed out on some key opportunities to put the game away most notably missing a wide-open Kekoa Crawford for a play that would have all but sealed the deal for the Wolverines.
Speight experienced a drop-off during his final three starts in 2016, all of which were losses. He’ll need to shake those woes, especially in big games, if the Wolverines want to have any chance of returning to prominence in the Big Ten.
LB Devin Bush
On the first play from scrimmage against Florida, Bush was nearly kicked out of the game for what looked like targeting on a late hit. Looking back on how he did, it’s hard to imagine the defense ding very well in that game without him.
The sophomore linebacker led the Michigan defense with seven tackles (five of which were made alone), two sacks and three tackles for a loss of yardage. His performance gives fans all the more reason to believe that this year’s front seven will be one of the best in the game.
K Quinn Nordin
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has been known for his antics with Michigan, one of which involves Quinn Nordin. Legend has it that Harbaugh slept over at his house in order to get him to come to Michigan. If you saw Nordin’s performance in the season opener, you’d see why.
The sophomore nailed four field goals for the Wolverines, two of which came from 50+ yards out. In total, Nordin accounted for 15 of Michigan’s 33 points. It may be just one game, but there’s reason to believe Quinn Nordin is the x-factor Michigan didn’t know it needed.
The game will take place this Saturday, September 9 at 12 p.m. and can be seen on ABC.