Michigan Wolverines vs Utah Utes: Keys To The Game


Sep 13, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Derrick Green (27) runs with the ball around Miami (Oh) Redhawks defensive back Heath Harding (24) in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines won 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes come to Ann Arbor Saturday to face the Michigan Wolverines.  What’s going to determine the winner?  Let’s dive in.

Keys to the game:

Will Devin Funchess return from injury?  Brady Hoke won’t say anything.  That’s likely a sign it’s a longer term injury.  Besides Funchess, the receiving core has been unimpressive.

The Wolverines offensive line will be tested again this week.  Even Miami won the battle in the interior line from time to time last week.  We can expect Doug Nussmeier to deflect pressure from the offensive line.  If Michigan can run the ball, there will be plenty of play action opportunities for tight end Jake Butt to make an impact.

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Utah’s third year starting quarterback Travis Wilson can gash you with his legs and his arm.  Can Michigan do a better job containing him than they did Everett Golson two weeks ago?  If Michigan can’t improve their interior pass rush, they’re in trouble.

The Utes scheduled well and gave themselves a bye week last weekend.  Expect them to pull out a handful of new looks on both sides of the ball.  Given Devin Gardner’s struggles to read defenses, this could be a huge advantage for Utah.

Due to the complete domination of inferior opponents, Utah has only attempted one field goal in 2014.  Kicker Andy Phillips and punter Tom Hackett were both 1st team All Pac 12 last season.  Michigan fans know their kicker Matt Wile, is suspect at best.  If this is a close game, the Utes have a huge edge.


This Utah team is far from the 2008 Sugar Bowl Champion squad that upset the Wolverines at the Big House.  Actually, Utah hasn’t even been to a bowl game since the 2011 season.  At the same time, the Utes seem to be improved from last year’s 5-7 club.  Heading into the game, this match-up is much closer on paper than any Michigan fan wants to see.   But hey, it should be entertaining.

What do YOU think the key to the game is?  Let us know in the comments section below!