Four Things to Watch: Michigan vs. Air Force Game Preview

After a shaky performance in the home opener last week against Cincinnati, Michigan (2-0) looks to rebound in an interesting match up against Air Force (1-0) and the triple option offense. It’ll be a very good early season test for the young Wolverines on both sides of the ball.

To first get a better feel for Air Force, watch the Falcons week one highlights against Virginia Military Institute:

Now check out the four things to watch for Michigan in the mid-September match-up against Air Force:

Defensive Speed 

There’s no better time to have speed throughout the defense than against a triple option attack like the one Michigan will see on Saturday. Air Force’s offense will likely give the defense fits for a little bit, like it seems to always do. But looks for the defense’s speed to start to disrupt the Falcon attack. Look for Devin Bush Jr., Josh Metellus, David Long, Rashan Gary and, thanks to some heavy lungs and tired legs, probably a couple reserves, like Kwity Paye and Devin Gil, to be impactful players on the edges.

Speight vs Himself

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of Wilton Speight in this game. He has yet to perform like the did in the middle of the 2016 season, prior to hurting his shoulder. It’s not known if it’s a chemistry thing or a play calling thing. But one thing does look to be sure, is that it’s partially a mental thing. And I don’t blame him. Hearing all of the talk throughout the news media and on social media has to be messing with his confidence. That’s why this game is so big.

Will he show up and prove the doubters wrong at least for one week?

Or will the offense struggle again?

I have a feeling he will keep himself and the critics out of his head and he’ll have a nice game against an inexperienced secondary and put up some big numbers in front of a big crowd. Some help on the ground should help him do that….

Where’s Captain America? 

Speaking of help on the ground, where was Chris Evans last week? The expected #1 back only had five carries for just 15 yards while Ty Isaac backed up his big performance against Florida with 20 carries for 133 yards. While it’s fantastic to see Isaac starting to truly prove that five star status coming out of high school, Michigan’s offense won’t reach it’s peak unless Evans is hitting on all cylinders as well.

This game looks like it could be the perfect opportunity for the Avenger to remind the world of his big play abilities. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Evans and Isaac to go over the century mark against the Falcons defense.

Turnover Battle 

In the first two games of the season, Michigan has dominated each team…..on paper. But there’s one statistic the team has struggled with a bit, and that’s turning the ball over. The defense has done its fair share of work getting the ball from the opposing offense but the Wolverines offense, for the most part, has enjoyed giving it back. Michigan has thrown two interceptions and lost two fumbles while recovering three fumbles and picking off two passes in just two games. And I don’t think Jim Harbaugh and his staff were expecting to have just a +1 turnover ratio after playing its first two opponents.

If Michigan takes care of the ball on offense, expect a mix of Michigan’s speed on defense and the arm (both throws and pitches) from Air Force’s quarterback to cause multiple turnover opportunities for Don Brown’s defense.

What will you be watching for in the game? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

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