By now, the University of Washington football team should be in Michigan, having taxied down the runway and disembarked from its chartered airplane, and turned its attention to an 8 p.m. ET practice, which purposely coincides with kickoff on Saturday night.
Jet lag from crossing three time zones is unacceptable. Regardless of what happened in their season opener, the Huskies have the monumental task of trying to win at the Big House, college football's largest-capacity stadium. This will require a supreme sacrifice.
The players get their first look at vaunted Michigan Stadium today, all quiet like a sleeping giant. They'll practice the next two days in the Midwest, doing this to get acclimated and move away from all the negativity following them around from their 13-7 stinker against Montana.
While neither team is ranked for the first time in 50 some years, the match-up will draw national television coverage on ABC, upstaging the Oregon-Ohio State game just down the road in Columbus.
The Huskies must figure out how to stop quarterback Cade McNamara and running back Blake Corum, and keep edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson out of their backfield. They have their own scouting reports. We have ours.
Brandon Brown of Sports Illustrated's Wolverine Digest prepared the following "Know The Enemy" breakdown and he shared with us. You've got 48 hours to memorize all of Michigan's obvious tendencies and report back by opening kickoff.
KNOW THE ENEMY
Michigan (Brandon Brown, Wolverine Digest)
After one week, Michigan’s strength is its running game. All offseason we heard Jim Harbaugh and Co. talk about wanting to play a physical brand of football and a desire to establish the run. They certainly did that against Western Michigan in week one to the tune of 334 yards rushing on 7.8 yards per carry. Junior quarterback Cade McNamara was also very efficient going 9-for-11 for 140 yards and two scores, but he obviously didn’t have to do much because of how good the running game was with the two-headed monster of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins.
Michigan doesn’t really have a glaring weakness after a 33-point win over Western Michigan, but the wide receiver corps took a massive hit when senior captain Ronnie Bell injured his knee against the Broncos. With Bell out for the season, several young, fast and talented receivers are being asked to step up, but they simply haven’t done much in the past. Throw in the fact that we still don’t really know exactly what we’re going to see from quarterback Cade McNamara because he barely played last year and didn’t really have to do anything against WMU, and that part of the offense is a pretty big question mark. If Michigan needs a bunch of points to beat Washington, will it have the fire power?
Three Players To Know
DE/LB Aidan Hutchinson, No. 97
At 6-foot-6, 269 pounds, Hutchinson is big, strong, long and very athletic. During his first three years at Michigan, he was a traditional anchor defensive end tasked with setting the edge and eating up perimeter blockers. Now, he’s a stand-up, hybrid pass rusher and already seems to be thriving in his new role. Against Western Michigan he only had four tackles, but one of them was a monster strip sack and he also blocked a field goal. Western really tried to get rid of the ball quickly, which kept Hutchinson at bay early on, but as the Broncos fell behind, Hutchinson was able to pin his ears back and he put a lot of pressure on the QB. The senior was recently named a captain and has been operating at a rare level in terms of energy, leadership and drive.
RB Blake Corum, No. 2
Corum is just a sophomore, but he’s already starting to look like Michigan’s best back. He carried the ball 14 times for 111 yards and a touchdown on Saturday and also had two catches for 22 yards and another score. Throw in his 79-yard kickoff return and he was well over 200 all-purpose yards in the contest. He’s only 5-foot-8, 200 pounds, but he’s rocked up, extremely quick and fast and has great vision. He made several jump cuts on Saturday that made onlookers say wow, and he gets up to full speed in a hurry. He and Hassan Haskins make for a lethal one-two combo, but Corum seems to have more of the special qualities that make him a home run threat on every carry.
QB Cade McNamara, No. 12
As I’ve already mentioned, McNamara was very good on Saturday against Western Michigan, but he only threw the ball 11 times. What if he has to throw it 35+ times against Washington without Ronnie Bell? That’s the key question. He was outstanding against Rutgers last year and then pretty pedestrian against Penn State before getting hurt and missing the rest of the 2020 season. Now, he’s the guy and he knows it. He was clean, smart and efficient against WMU but only threw two deep balls all game. He’s more of a short, quick, accurate thrower, but the two deep shots he tossed were pretty. It’s going to be really interesting to see how he looks against some talented Husky cornerbacks and a defensive minded team under Jimmy Lake.
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