Michigan vs. Colorado State: Get To Know The Wolverines
Rams have a tough opener on their hands
Who is Michigan?
Head coach Jay Norvell is taking his Colorado State team into the fire when they travel to take on a top-10 team in the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.
The Rams are a huge underdog and it will be a tough first game for QB Clay Millen who is getting his first career collegiate start.
To get to know this Michigan team even better, we chatted with Trent Knoop from Wolverines Wire to answer the burning questions we had about this game.
1. Are there any lingering questions after fall camp heading into Week 1?
1. The biggest question mark for Michigan has to be the quarterback position. Jim Harbaugh came out and said that Cade McNamara, the incumbent starter, would start Week 1 against Colorado State and then J.J. McCarthy would start Week 2 against Hawaii. So we really don’t know what’s going on there, but I suppose whoever looks better will get the job. On the defensive side of things, Michigan is trying to replace Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo from last year, who was arguably the best edge duo of 2021. The Wolverines will do a lot of rotating, so it will be intriguing to see who steps up there.
2. Adding onto that first question, who do you think will eventually be the starting QB and will going game-by-game the best option to choose between Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy?
2A. I really think Harbaugh needs to decide on a starter and stick with it by Big Ten play. Now, if McNamara does indeed become the starter in 2022, then I think Michigan has to get J.J. on the field in some capacity like it did last year. McCarthy has a different gear than McNamara in the running department and he will bring a different element to the team. I would have said I think McNamara was going to be the starter going into the season, especially since he was named a captain, but the way Harbaugh is doing things, I think it sets up for McCarthy to get the job. Vanderbilt just lit Hawaii up in Week 0, and I expect McCarthy to do the same.
2B. The identity of the Michigan offense has been running the ball under Harbaugh, so I believe that the Wolverines will continue to try and pound the rock. Watch for Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. Corum was just shy of 1,000 yards last year due to injuries, but both backs are dynamic and both can catch passes out of the backfield. On the defense, look out for Mazi Smith (defensive tackles) and Junior Colson (linebacker). Smith was the No. 1 ‘freak’ on Bruce Feldman’s list. Colson is just a sophomore and had one of the best freshman season’s a linebacker has had for Michigan, so he is in store for a huge year in 2022.
3. Who are the key players to know this week?
3. Michigan has to replace seven starters on the defense from 2021. But that doesn’t mean that they lack experience. Michigan does a phenomenal job of rotating defensive players each game, so the 2022 starting defense will have loads of experience under their belt. But, I think the way Colorado State can exploit Michigan is going to be in the middle of the field. Michigan should have really good safety play towards the end of the season, but there could be bumps and bruises along the way since veteran Brad Hawkins ran out of eligibility last season.
4. What are the ways that Colorado State could have success against Michigan?
4. A big focus of the secondary during fall camp was to force more turnovers this season. Michigan only had eight interceptions in 2021, so I know that is a goal that the Wolverines want to see in the first week — creating turnovers. On the offensive side of things, the Wolverines basically return every playmaker from last year, save for Hassan Haskins at running back. But this truly could be the best offense Harbaugh has had at Michigan. If that is going to ring true, then Michigan needs to show it during the non-conference slate. I believe the maize and blue will want to control the line of scrimmage on offense and have success in the red zone.
5. How do you see this game playing out?
5. I think Michigan is going to have too much firepower for the Rams. I believe that Norvell is going to do a lot of good things for Colorado State, but with basically a brand new roster, I look for the Wolverines take control of the game early. I’ll say 42-10 Michigan.