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September 12, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-12
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'M' with a chance to rebound vs. Miami

Breakdown: 'M' superior at every position

By GREG GARNO
ManagingSports Editor
If the Michigan football team
ever needed an easy opponent, it
would be now.
And fortunately, they're getting
one of college football's easiest
foes when Miami (Ohio) heads to
Ann Arbor on Saturday for what
should be a chance not only to
build confidence, but also provide
a chance to give players added
experience before the Big Ten
schedule.
Miami is a welcome respite
following last weekend's 31-0
drubbing in South Bend. The
RedHawks haven't won in their
past 18 games, stretching back
to 2012, and having started the
season 0-2, Miami shows few
signs of improvement under new
coach Chuck Martin.
The RedHawks haven't played
in front of more than 100,000
fans since Sept. 1, 2012 at Ohio
State, which means Michigan (1-1)
should have an advantage before it
even snaps the ball.
"We have to go in there and
be aggressive and play from the
get-go," Martin said in the Mid-
American Conference coaches'
conference call. "Not be standing
around, looking at the Big House
and what a big place and (saying)
'Wow, this is a lot different than
we're used to.'
"Wehavetofocusonwhatwe're
trying to do. We've got to go out
and be aggressive and make plays
and not sit around and wait for
Michigan to make all the plays."
Butifthere is one thinggoingfor
the RedHawks, it's that they run a
similar offense to the one that gave
the Wolverines fits last weekend.
Martin, a former assistant
coach under Notre Dame's
Brian Kelly, has seen Michigan
for the last four years, and he's
implemented what he's learned.
Even his quarterback, Andrew
Hendrix, used to play at Notre
Dame before transferring.
Hendrix, who didn't see much
time at Notre Dame, gets the ball
out of his hands quickly, much
like Fighting Irish quarterback
Everett Golson did.
"They're throwing the ball
a ton, but he's pretty daggone
accurate," said Michigan coach
Brady Hoke. "You're going to see
a lot for quick throws. It reminds
me a little bit more of the offense
at Notre Dame with (former
quarterback Tommy) Rees."

But getting burned by that
offense last week should have the
Wolverines more prepared for it
this time around.
Miami will utilize six-man
protection schemes, often using
a tight end to compensate for a
weak offensive line, which should
theoretically allow Michigan's
defensive line to show it can
create pressure.
The Wolverines have yet to
record a turnover in two games,
which has kept the defense on the
fieldlonger and leftit more fatigued.
"They're one of the hardest-
playing football teams I've ever
really watched in my twenty-some
years of coaching, and they've
obviously got talent," Martin said.
"So we've got to a little bit throw
caution to the wind, a little bit go
in there and be aggressive and play
our game."
The RedHawks' game hasn't
been much to brag about now,
though. They fell to Marshall in
Week 1,-42-17, and turned the ball
over when they had chance to beat
Eastern Kentucky.
Hendrix is the predominant
ball carrier at Miami, though
that's not by design as much as it is
to avoid getting sacked. He rarely
has time to set up and wait for one
of his undersized wide receivers to
break free.
"Mainly we've got to improve
in ... negative plays, particularly
turnovers, particularly red zone
efficiency if we're going to give
ourselves a chance to win games,"
Martin said.
And if they somehow do find
success offensively, they'll still
haveto shutdown 6-foot-5receiver
Devin Funchess, who torched
Appalachian State for three
touchdowns in three quarters.
"I don't know that anyone
matches up in the country with
Funchess very well," Martin said.
"Too big for the DBs. Just physical
size-wise. Too athletic to put a
linebacker-type body on him. He's
a handful for anyone. You've just
got to fight and scratch and claw
and make him earn all the gains
he gets."
And they'll have to hope their
linebackers can bring down
bruising running backs Derrick
Green and De'Veon Smith, who
are just as big if not bigger.
So Michigan will get the easy
opponent that it so desperately
needs for a rebound. Whether it
can take advantage has yet to be
seen.

By MAX COHEN
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team
enters this weekend's game
against Miami (Ohio) needing
to get itself back on track after a
demoralizing loss at Notre Dame.
The Wolverines' offense,
defense and special teams looked
suspect in the program's first
shutout since 1984.
Luckily for Michigan (1-1); the
RedHawks (0-2) could present
the perfect antidote to heal what
ails the Wolverines. Miami has
lost 18 straight games, their last
victory coming Oct. 27, 2012.
Last week, the RedHawks fell to
FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky,
17-10.
Michigan will try to avoid
a similar fate to the one it
nearly suffered last year in
allowing another Mid-American
Conference member, Akron, to
stick around at the Big House
until a last-second stop salvaged a
28-24 victory.
Michigan pass offense vs.
Miami pass defense
Fifth-year senior quarterback
Devin Gardner endured his share
of struggles last week, throwing
three interceptions and losing a
fumble against the Fighting Irish.
But the RedHawks' secondary
and pass rush won't present the
challenge that Notre Dame's did.
Miami's pass defense has been
competent in its first two games,
but it hasn't faced a quarterback
the caliber of Gardner. Against
Eastern Kentucky, the RedHawks
surrendered 198 passing yards
while allowing just 14 of 28 passes
to be completed.
Still, Gardner should have
little trouble picking apart a MAC
opponent. The biggest question in
the Wolverines' passing game is
the health of junior wide receiver
Devin Funchess, who was injured
late against the Fighting Irish.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke has
declined to talk about injuries
this week.
Even if Funchess can't play,
the Wolverines should still
have enough other weapons to

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Michigan wilted in South Bend last Saturday, but facing MAC foe Miami (Ohio) at home shouldn't present as many problems.

RUBYWALLAU/Daily
Junior receiver Devin Funchess suffered an injury against Notre Dame, and Brady Hoke hasn't given any updates on his status.

compensate.Ifanything, Saturday
should provide an opportunity
for some of Michigan's younger,
less-seasoned receivers to gain
experience.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan rush offense vs.
Miami rush defense
The Wolverines' rush offense
earned mixed results against
Notre Dame. As a team, Michigan
ran for 100 yards, a sizeable
improvement over some of last
year's lackluster efforts. But
the running backs struggled to
produce consistently when the
game was still in reach.
Hoke suggested that his team
will use the same offensive line
as against the Fighting Irish,
providing an opportunity for the
unit to establish continuity going
forward.
In terms of stopping the run,
the RedHawks struggled in their
season opener against Marshall,
surrendering 171 yards. Last
week, Miami allowed 82 rushing
yards against Eastern Kentucky.
But again, the RedHawks
haven't faced an offensive line or
running backs like Michigan's.
Look for sophomores Derrick
Green and De'Veon Smith to have

big games, similar to the ones No matter who takes the field
they had against Appalachian for the Wolverines, they will be
State. tested heavily by Miami's offense,
Edge: which has been
Michigan heavily reliant
XX'ih te h me- on the puss in its
Miami pass W ith the home- first two games.
offense vs. fieladvantage, The RedHawks
Michigan pass f attempted 49
defense Nffi*hgn*cigai and 52 against
Marshall
It's unknown should rom n and Eastern
whichs kp Kentucky,
Wolverines will respectively.
take the field in But the
the secondary eagerness to
Saturday. Starting senior throw hasn't led to success.
cornerback Raymon Taylor was Miami quarterback Andrew
hurt early against Notre Dame Hendrix failed to complete 50
and didn't return, and starting percent of his passes in either
freshman nickelback Jabrill game.
Peppers was held out of the game If the RedHawks continue the
with an ankle injury. Hoke has trend and frequently air it out,
declined to comment on their look for the Wolverines to create
status for the game. their much-needed first turnover
With Taylor and Peppers out, of the season.
Michigan's secondary looked Edge: Michigan
vulnerable last weekend. Hoke
cited sophomore cornerback Miami rush offense vs.
Channing Stribling as someone Michigan rush defense
who could receive additional
playing time this weekend, and he The Wolverines' rush defense
also mentioned that seldom-used was one of the few areas that
redshirt sophomore cornerback produced consistent results
Terry Richardson has received against Notre Dame. Michigan
extra reps in practice. allowed 54 rushing yards and

didn't allow a run longer than six
yards until the game was out of
reach, when backup quarterback
Malik Zaire scrambled for 14
yards.
Hoke praised redshirt
sophomore defensive tackle
Willie Henry as a key in the
rush defense. Henry was able to
disrupt Notre Dame's blocking
schemes on multiple occasions.
As in the other areas of play,
Miami hasn't displayed a great
deal of strength in the running
game.
The RedHawks rushed for 60
yards against Eastern Kentucky
last weekend and 100 against
Marshall in the opener.
Miami hasn't had an individual
rusher gain more than 51 yards on
the ground this season.
Edge: Michigan
Special Teams
Special teams were one of
Michigan's major issues against
Notre Dame. Senior kicker Matt
Wile missed field goals of 46
and 48 yards in the first half,
both of which could've kept the
Wolverines in the game. Now,
Hoke says redshirt sophomore
Kenny Allen is also competing for
the job.
Miami has also had its share
of kicking woes. Last weekend,
kicker Kaleb Patterson had a
21-yard field goal blocked in the
second quarter, and he missed a
37-yard attempt in the fourth.
Whether Peppers plays and
is able to return punts or not,
Michigan should have the
advantage in the return games
with its bigger blockers.
Edge: Michigan
Intangibles
For all of the heat on the
Wolverines after an embarrassing
loss on the road last weekend,
Miami lost to an FCS team
at home. With the home field
advantage, Michigan should
romp.
Edge: Michigan
Prediction: Michigan 45,
Miami 10

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
The Michigan football team was shut out in South Bend, but Miami (Ohio) presents easier challenges on both sides of the ball.

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