Western Michigan at Michigan
Time: 11 AM CT
Spread: MIC -27.5
WESTERN MICHIGAN NEWS & NOTES:
Western Michigan finished 6-6 last season with a 4-4 record in MAC play. In Week 2, the Broncos will take on the loaded Michigan Wolverines as 27.5 point underdogs. In Week 1, the Broncos lost to the Syracuse Orange 55-42 to start the season off 0-1 before facing No. 21 Michigan. The over/under is set at 56 points according to NCAA Football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game kicks off at 11 AM (CT) on Saturday.
In Week 1, Western Michigan QB Jon Wassink threw 19-of-36 for completion while throwing three TDs and two Interceptions. LaVante Bellamy rushed for 120 yards on 11 carries with two TDs, but the Orange led WMU 34-7 at the half, and that deficit was too massive for the Broncos to overcome, despite a 28-point third quarter.
Wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge carried the load in the air, catching 240 yards total on eight receptions, including two TDs and an 84-yard catch. Defensively, AJ Thomas was a total monster with 13 tackles (10 solo) and Alex Grace added another 13 (eight solo), but the Broncos mustered just two sacks and four tackles for loss as Eric Dungey proved to be simply too much. Syracuse’s do-it-all QB threw for 184 yards and rushed for another 200 in the Week 1 Broncos’ loss.
The Broncos really picked up steam the last two seasons with a run-heavy attack, but it has not quite been the smashing success it was before its 2016 Cotton Bowl loss. The Broncos closed last season by losing three of its final four, including a 10-37 embracing loss to Toledo in the season finale. Injuries had plenty to do with it, and though the Broncos are a formidable force in the MAC conference, they hardly stack up to a national power ranked team like the Wolverines.
Michigan lost its week 1 matchup to the vaunted Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 17-24. Then-No. 12 Notre Dame led 21-10 at the half and was able to hold on despite only managing a field goal in a much stronger defensive second half for the Wolverines. Michigan QB Shea Patterson threw 20 of 30 for 227 yards, but he failed to throw any TDs while picking up one interception.
The Michigan backfield was wildly ineffective, averaging just 1.8 yards per carry on 33 attempts. Karan Higdon had 72 yards on 21 carries with a TD, but no other backfield option had even more than 10 total yards. Four receivers caught at least three passes or more, but no one reached the end zone in the defensive battle between these top-ranked clubs.
Michigan may have lacked experience last year, but that will be less of an issue this season and the team is already the nation’s best on the defensive end. There is plenty of offensive talent, too, and the offense returns six starters, though only three are at skill positions.
Michigan lost its final three games of the 2017 season and it began this year with an “L” too, but that hardly means anything as the team looks to get back on track against an in-state rival whose chances are next to nil. Expect Michigan to roll through in Week 2 while ironing out a few issues it had in the Notre Dame contest in preparation for the tougher teams on its schedule later this season.