3 Things to Watch for Against Western Michigan

michigan offensive line

3 Things to Watch for Against Western Michigan

Football

3 Things to Watch for Against Western Michigan

Coming off a loss gives teams to look at what caused it, what can they do to improve and what did they do well and how can they do it better. Michigan is looking to do that to save their season as they have their home opener against the Western Michigan Broncos. There are some things to focus on when watching this game as it could define the Wolverines fate for the rest of the season.

1. How Michigan’s Run Game Can do Against Western

Michigan came into the 2018 season with a dual-headed monster at running back with Karan Higdon and Chis Evans. That monster didn’t get much to eat against Notre Dame as Higdon had 21 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown, while Evans didn’t see the field that much, only getting two carries for one yard and two catches for 37 yards.

Part of that issue was because of the poor offensive line play, but the other part was because of how good Notre Dame’s defensive line was. Their defense had impactful players on their front seven and it caused the run game to be stagnant all night long.

Against Western though, things should be very different. The Broncos allowed 334 rushing yards against Syracuse last week, 214 of them from the quarterbacks, so Michigan’s own quarterback Shea Patterson can have his way with this defense if he feels the need to scramble. That still leaves 120 allowed from the running backs and Michigan might focus heavily on running the ball to get some confidence in the offensive line and running backs after a rough week one performance.

2. Can Michigan’s Defense Return To Their Old Ways?

The first half against Notre Dame was rough for the defense of Michigan. Safety Josh Metellus was ejected for a targeting call in the first quarter, meaning he will be able to return this week in full. Along with that call, Michigan kept Notre Dame alive by getting costly penalties on third down, extending the drives for the Irish.

The second half was a completely different team. The defense stopped making mistakes with penalties and focused more on playing smart football and in the end, they only allowed three points.

As long as Michigan doesn’t hurt themselves with penalties and give Western chances to stay in this game, the defense should be back to their old ways.

3. Will the offensive line show a difference?

Like I said in the first thing to watch for, is that Notre Dame had a great front seven and it gave the Wolverines offensive line fits all night. Notre Dame ended with three sacks and seven tackles for loss.

Last week against Syracuse, Western ended with two sacks and four tackles for loss. Against a tougher offensive line, they might not have that success. If Michigan struggles to hold back the Broncos front seven, then there is room to panic as the competition will only be getting tougher as the season continues.

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