3 Things to Watch for Against SMU

3 Things to Watch for Against SMU

Football

3 Things to Watch for Against SMU

Winning football games is fun. The environment is different. Players are happy. Coaches are happy. It’s just a good time overall.

Michigan will want to keep that feeling and run with it. This week, the attention shifts to the SMU Mustangs. SMU is coming into Saturday’s game 0-2, with losses to North Texas and #16 TCU. Michigan is coming off a win over Western Michigan and a loss to #8 Notre Dame.

There were many positives for the Wolverines last week in their big win, but with everything that the Wolverines did right, there are things that they did wrong as well. Here are three things to keep an eye out for this week against SMU.

1. Can Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins Explode Against The SMU Defense?

Michigan had to pass the ball more against Notre Dame week one as they were down 14-0 early and it changed their gameplan up. Michigan is known for smash-mouth football, pounding the rock down your throat. They did that against Western Michigan last week, but that also led to the passing game not getting much attention.

Yes, four passing touchdowns isn’t much attention when the quarterbacks only have to throw 143 yards to get those scores. That isn’t a bad thing, as if Michigan can do as little work as possible and still put up points, that is great for the offense, it just wasn’t a big game yardage wise for the quarterbacks.

That could change this week as SMU has allowed 615 passing yards in two games, 461 against North Texas, and 154 against TCU. If Michigan has success with the running game again, then they won’t need to drop 300/400 passing yards against SMU, but it could be possible they find success with the passing game against SMU that they only run to milk the clock in the second half.

2. Will Jalen Mayfield and James Hudson See More Playing Time?

When Michigan was up big against Western Michigan, the backups started to come in and get some playing time and two that got some attention were backup tackles, Jalen Mayfield and James Hudson.

With the biggest flak against the Wolverine offense still being the offensive line, seeing the backups rotate in and do very well is a good sign for depth, and possibly things to come for the future of the offensive line. Harbaugh hasn’t said that there will be changes to the starting five offensive linemen, but with how Mayfield and Hudson did last week, he might be tempted to make a change. Just watch the two clips and see what you think.

3. Can The Defensive Line Wake Up?

The Michigan defense as a whole is an absolute unit. There are playmakers from the defensive line to the secondary. The Wolverines are stacked with talent all around on that side of the ball, and probably the most talked about position group on the defense is the defensive linemen.

The leaders of that group are clearly Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich. Along with the likes of Bryan Mone, Carlo Kemp, Michael Dwumfour, Aidan Hutchinson, the line is a monster among men.

But they haven’t been as explosive as they are on paper.

Michigan has only four sacks in two games, one and a half of them coming from the defensive line. The other two and a half have come from the linebackers. Michigan was hyped up as a team with one of the best defensive lines in the country coming into the 2018 season, and so far it’s looking kinda flat.

There has been pressure created, which has turned into turnovers, but there is still more to come for this defensive line, but it has to start coming sooner rather than later. Against SMU will be where they have to start taking down the quarterback, and it shouldn’t be too difficult as SMU has allowed eight sacks, four per game, so far this season.

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