Week 2 Preview: #5 Michigan Wolverines vs. UCF Knights
After an impressive win over the Hawaii Warriors last week to start the season, the Michigan Wolverines take on the UCF Knights. Michigan moved up the AP polls, jumping from number seven to number five now with losses by Oklahoma and LSU. This is good news for the Wolverines as they are now in the playoff picture, just one spot away from being a playoff team. That time is far away and it is wacky to look at the playoffs right now as it is only week two of the regular season, but right now Michigan is in a good spot.
Jim Harbaugh had some comments to say about last week and some injuries for this week. Jourdan Lewis didn’t play last week and Ed Cunningham, ESPN commentator, said during the game
“We have not seen Jourdan Lewis defensively in the first half. As I was going through my depth chart I realized we haven’t called his name because he hasn’t been on the field yet…there’s Jourdan Lewis, he is dressed, wonder if there might be a disciplinary issue in this first half.”
Jim Harbaugh came out and said ” Ed Cunningham got way out over his skis” and that Jourdan Lewis was out of the game last week due to a minor but nagging injury. Cunningham would call a Michigan official on Tuesday and apologize for the comments. In other injury news, Taco Charlton and Bryan Mone will miss this game this week and no news came out on when they will return. This means Rashan Gary will be able to get more playing time as he is loving his time on the Michigan Wolverines football team so far.
What to Expect Against UCF
For the offense this week, expect Wilton Speight to look good again. He had a rough start with an interception in his first throw, but after that he looked comfortable and played well until he will pulled to rest for next week. Wilton Speight might not play the full game again this week as the team takes on UCF. UCF did win week one, but it was against South Carolina State, a Division 1-AA team. The Bulldogs put up 138 passing yards on the Knights, expect Michigan to double that.
Chris Evans busted into the scene last week with DeVeon Smith going down with an injury. The freshman ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries. Smith is good to go this week and he will maybe have another short week, this time not by injury as Michigan could put Evans in to get more playing time as the game goes on and Michigan gets a bigger lead.
For the rest of the offense, they should do well against the Knights defense. UCF held the Bulldogs to 223 total yards, but expect Michigan to do way better than that. Jake Butt was quiet last week with only one catch for 19 yards and a touchdown, he should be getting some more catches. Eddie McDoom might get some more playing time as well at the results of last weeks performance, so watch out for him.
The Michigan Wolverines defense looked great last week, allowing only three points and they will be somewhat better this week. Taco Charlton and Bryan Mone are both out, which hurt the defensive line, but luckily we have the number one player in the nation who happens to play on the defensive line with the name of Rashan Gary who will get more playing time and should do well. UCF had 201 yards on the ground last week, with three players getting over 40 yards on double-digit carries. Michigan killed the run last week and they should shut it down again this week.
Linebackers did very well with Mike McCray and Jabrill Peppers messing up the run and stopping the quarterback a few times. This week again they should have a field day in stopping the Knights rushing attack and getting to the quarterback.
The secondary is where the defense improves this week, with Jourdan Lewis back Michigan should have another great week in defending the air. Justin Holman, the starting quarterback for the UCF Knights did go 14/28 for 193 yards and two touchdowns last week. That is not a good showing against a FCS school and now you are facing a top five team in nation with a fantastic defense. Michigan had two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and it could happen again this week.
Finally a factor to look at is the weather. Ann Arbor is supposed to get thunderstorms and rain all day on Saturday, which can have a big impact on the game. The game could get cancelled, delayed or shortened. Also with rain on the field, it will affect how players play, how long the starters are out there in a blowout and kicking and punting will have to be looked at. Overall, looking at everything it should be another easy win for the Wolverines, but the weather will be a factor in how much Michigan wins by.
Prediction: #5 Michigan Wolverines 42 – UCF Knights 7