History has a way of repeating itself.
Coming off a resounding 47-14 week one win, Michigan appears to be trending in the right direction. The team was firing on all cylinders and even the young players showed flashes to get fans excited about the future. The Wolverines' week two opponent Washington, meanwhile, just lost to FCS school Montana, 13-7.
But it's been less than a calendar year since Michigan found itself in an eerily similar situation. To open the shortened season last October, the Wolverines blew out Minnesota 49-24 and rolled into their week two matchup against Michigan State — who had just lost to lowly Rutgers. But when the clock struck zero in week two, Michigan had fallen 27-24 to the Spartans and that loss sent the team into a tailspin.
As the Wolverines prepare for their prime time matchup, players don’t want to make the same mistakes as last year.
“If you’re going to go in and expect something [down low], that's the worst case scenario,” fifth-year tight end Joel Honigford said. “We’re preparing everyday like we’re playing Ohio State. If we continue to prepare like that everyday and just focus on that then it doesn’t matter who we’re going against. We’re going to give it our best. It doesn’t matter if it's Washington, Western Michigan, Rutgers, Ohio State, doesn’t matter. We’re preparing the same way every week to really show out.”
The game against Washington looked like one of the toughest opponents on Michigan’s schedule during the offseason but now the Huskies enter the matchup unranked. Sophomore wide receiver Roman Wilson put it bluntly;
“We expect a better team to win their opener.”
But despite the Huskies embarrassing loss, Michigan can’t afford to overlook them. For one thing, Washington only allowed 13 points and its stout defense will be a tough task for the Wolverines offense to handle.
“Washington’s defense is great, definitely a lot of experience,” Wilson said. “Just going to bring that same energy from last week into this game and do everything I can to just be a better person than I was last week.”
Michigan is committed to running the ball more this year and the loss of top wideout Ronnie Bell only makes that emphasis all the more important. Against Western Michigan, the Wolverines pounded the ground game for 335 yards and picked up 216 through the air — having their way on offense. However, the Huskies meanwhile held Montana to just 232 yards of total offense and it won’t be as easy for Michigan to just walk up and down the field. They’ll have to be willing to make adjustments and also hold their composure on the sidelines if things don’t click right away.
They’ll also have to handle a Huskies team that’s sure to come out more aggressive to atone for their week one performance.
“They had a bad game, everyone has bad games,” junior safety Daxton Hill said. “They can easily come back and beat us on our home ground so we’re looking forward to the matchup and we’re putting in a good game plan already.”
A win on Saturday and the Wolverines could really be set up well for the rest of the season. They can’t take their opponent lightly but unlike last year they’ll be taking the field with fans in the stands Playing under the lights at Michigan stadium with a "maized out" crowd, it's sure to be a raucous atmosphere and a chance for week two to go as well as week one.
“I love night games,” fifth-year senior offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga said with a smile. “Especially in The Big Hosue, one of the biggest stadiums in college football.
“Wouldn't be anywhere else.”