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Varsity Blue

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Preview: Utah Utes

As I noted in our summer preview of Utah, the Utes are probably going to be among the better teams that Michigan plays this year. Speaking with Daily Utah Chronicle writer Tony Pizza didn't dissuade me from that position.

Utah has experience on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Brian Johnson is finally healthy after suffering a multitude of injuries over the past two years. The offense should hum along, and the defense should be competent. The run defense appears to be a bit of a weakness for Utah, with a light group of starters on the line. That is probably how Michigan will primarily move the ball, especially with the quarterback situation still not settled.

Marquis Wilson, as predicted in the summer, is suspended for this game (and in fact, the entire year). One other thing that may give Michigan fans a bit of hope is the poor job Utah did defending the option against Navy last year. I predicted that they wouldn't be able to defend our option all that well before even seeing the stats. Navy ran for 316 yards on Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl, and managed to pass for 122 yards, 30 more than their season average.

The key for Michigan is to get a fast start. If they can get the first score, and a bit of momentum going, they should be able to take control of the game. Even a score on special teams on the opening kick could help make Utah think "Jesus these guys are good!" (Note: I usually think scoring on the opening kick is a disadvantage, because it makes the scoring team complacent. However, I think this Michigan team has something to prove in game one, and Utah may be fearing an obvious talent disparity). Utah has developed something of a reputation for road game chokes against BCS teams early in the season under Whittingham, and any sign that they are in for another round of the same may make the team fold.

Predictions:
Michigan's offense won't light up the scoreboard, but they will be surprisingly competent.
Michigan's defense won't live up to the 1997/2006-ish expectations that are being thrust upon it.
Michigan walks away the victor (barely) in a fairly low-scoring battle, winning 23-20.

What say you, fair fans of Varsity Blue?

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“Preview: Utah Utes”

  1. Anonymous I know nothing Says:

    If we can avoid throwing the ball to the other team, I just think that our young O-line and those 4 RB's will start to get them in the second half, and pull away for a 24-14 or so victory.

    I think I shall wet myself today. I have never been sooooooo excited for a season to start. Let the RRod Train ride, or wreck, begin.

    Go Blue!!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The only thing I do know is that I know nothing at all, I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. Whatever happens I will be at Michigan Stadium to see it in person, so I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin' like the good Lord gypped me... like last year...

    Go Blue!

  3. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    27-12 Michigan

  4. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The perfect quote for this year and this team:

    "Oh They Came to Bury Michigan, But Michigan Wasn't Dead"

    -Bob Ufer

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    UM will be inconsistent on offense, but will strike on three long TD's.

    UM's defense will be better than described here. I think that mainly because I have drunk the Barwis kool-aid, and think we will exert constant pressure on the Ute's like UM has not done lately.

    Utah is good, but UM wins 21-17.