Michigan Wolverines 2015 Preview

Previewing the Michigan Wolverines

BYU comes off of a disappointing loss to the #10 UCLA Bruins and heads to Michigan to round out the month of September. BYU didn’t trail in the game until 6 minutes left in the game. BYU was cut and carved against the Bruins giving up nearly 300 yds on the ground, 173 of those rushing yds came on 5 carries where there was a missed tackle. BYU will face another stout run game that is very physical between the tackles, they will have to address the tackling issues in order to come out of September with a 3-1 record.

Michigan is one a two-game streak after losing the opening game of the Harbaugh era to the Utah Utes. They come into this game hoping to beat their first ranked team in two years since knocking off Notre Dame in 2013. Michigan hasn’t been tested much in their two wins in facing a very young Oregon State squad, and a less-than-stellar UNLV team. Michigan doesn’t have much out of their QB Jake Rudock, but he will look for TE Jake Butt who is projected to be one of the best NFL prospects on the defense. Michigan has a talented defense that is led by the depth in the DL, their secondary is also very talented and are currently the #13 ranked pass D in the country.

Michigan 2014 Record: 5-7

vs Appalachian St 52-14 W

@ #16 Notre Dame 0-31 L

vs Miami, OH 34-10 W

vs Utah 10-26 L

vs Minnesota 14-30 L

@ Rutgers 24-26 L

vs Penn St 18-13 W

@ #8 Michigan St 11-35 L

vs Indiana 34-10 W

@ Northwestern 10-9 W

vs Maryland 16-23 L

@ #7 Ohio St 28-42 L

Bronco Mendenhall vs. Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh:

Season: 5th (1st at Michigan)

Record: 29-21

Home: 18-8

vs Top 25: 6-6

vs Non-P5: 4-2

Bronco Mendenhall:

Season: 11th

Record: 92-40

Away: 35-24

vs Top 10: 1-7

vs P5: 19-20

BYU vs Michigan: 1-0

      Largest Margin of Victory: 24-17 (’84)

      Largest Margin of Loss: N/A

      Last Game: 24-17 (’84)

Michigan depth chart


QB: Jake Rudock/Shane Morris

RB: De’Veon Smith/Ty Isaac

FB: Joe Kerridge/Henry Poggi

LT: Mason Cole/Grant Newsome

LG: Bed Braden/David Dawson

C: Graham Glasgow/Patrick Kugler

RG: Kyle Kalis/Juwan Bushell-Beatty

RT: Erik Magnuson/Blake Bars

TE: Jake Butt/Ian Bunting

WR: Amara Darboh/Drake Harris

WR: Jehu Chesson/Freddy Canteen


NT: Ryan Glasgow/Maurice Hurst

DT: Chris Wormley OR Matt Godin

DE: Willie Henry/Taco Charlton

BUCK: Mario Ojemudia/Royce Jenkins-Stone

ILB: Desmond Morgan/Ben Gedeon

ILB: Joe Bolden/James Ross

OLB: James Ross/Allen Gant

CB: Jourdan Lewis/Jeremy Clark

SS: Jabrill Peppers/Dymonte Thomas

FS: Jarrod Wilson/Delano Hill

CB: Channing Stribling/Brandon Watson

Special Teams:

Punter: Blake O’Neill OR Kenny Allen

Kicker: Kenny Allen/Kyle Seychel

Kick Off: Kenny Allen/Kyle Seychel

LS: Scott Sypniewski/Andrew Robinson

PR: Jabrill Peppers/Jourdan Lewis

KR: Jabrill Peppers/Jourdan Lewis


Nebraska runs a power offense, similar to what Jim Harbaugh ran with Stanford. Expect them to come out in big formations with the tackle box stacked. They don’t have much of a big play offense, they only have two plays that have gone for over 30 yds (76 yd run, 36 yd run). Their running backs are big and physical and BYU will need to concentrate on tackling in order to bring them down.

Jake Rudock comes to Michigan as a grad transfer from Iowa, he has been seen previously as a smart player who could control the game and limit turnovers. Basically, his role coming to Michigan was to be a game manager. So far, he’s struggled this season doubling his turnovers from last year from 3 to 6 this season. In the game against Utah, he also struggled hitting open receivers so his shots down field have been limited. Rudock won’t stretch the field vertically, his longest completion on the season is for only 28 yds but expect short pass attempts to the outside. Coming into the season it wasn’t sure whether he’d be the primary guy or if Shane Morris would compete for that job as well but so far it’s been Rudock regardless of his performance.

Michigan boasts another challenge for BYU in the run game, but in a different way. While last week, Paul Perkins shredded BYU’s run D, he was also a different breed of back. He was very shift, fast, and could run through tackles and was fantastic once getting to the open field. Michigan will use the run to set up the pass, so far this season they have 7 rushing TDs to 3 passing TDs. They are headlined by big bruising backs who will run between the tackles and go for short gains. De’Veon Smith will get the majority of carries, while Ty Isaac and Derrick Green will combine for spot duty. Smith has rushed 53 times for 206 yds and 3 TDs. Isaac, a USC transfer, has the longest play of the season with a run of 76 yds against UNLV. Green will more than likely see about 4 touches during the game and averages between 3-4 yds a carry.

Michigan doesn’t have much in the receiving core. The two main weapons will be Amara Darboh on the outside and Jake Butt on the inside at TE. They are the only two who have reached double digits in receptions this season. Butt may be the best TE prospect in the country, he is big, physical and can elevate for receptions. Expect BYU to double team him with Fred Warner and Kai Nacua being placed on him so he doesn’t run wild. Darboh is a speedster who has been able to get behind defenses this season, but hasn’t been able to connect with Rudock.

Michigan’s offensive line will focus on setting up the run. Expect them to show up in big sets and force their will on the opposing defensive line. They are anchored by their C Graham Glaswgow who has 27 career starts and he’s surrounded by Ben Braden who has 17 starts and Mason Cole who started in 2014 as a freshman, has started all 15 career games at LT and was named to the Freshman All-America Team by Sporting News, ESPN, and 247Sports.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Scored Per Game: 20.9

      2015: 26.7

Rushing Yardage: 1954

      Returning for 2015: 1552 (79.4%)

      2015: 555

Receiving Yardage: 2042

      Returning for 2015: 1168 (57.2%)

      2015: 582

Passing Yardage: 2042

      Returning for 2015: 128 (6.3%)

      2015: 582

Total Offense: 6038

      Returning for 2015: 2848 (47.2%)

      2015: 1692

Fumbles: 15

      Recovered: 7

      Lost: 8

      2015: 2 (1 lost)

Interceptions: 21 (3 from Rudock at Iowa)

      Returning for 2015: 6 (3 from Rudock at Iowa)

      2015: 6

Sacks Allowed: 25 (-171 yds)

      2015: 1 (-17 yds)

First Downs: 222

        Rushing: 101

        Passing: 104

        Penalty: 17

2015: 58

      Rushing: 26

      Passing: 30

      Penalty: 2

Third Down Conversion: 61/155 (39.3%)

      2015: 18/42 (42.9%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 5/13 (38.5%)

      2015: 2/5 (40%)

Penalties: 42 (-381 yds)

      2015: 16 (-164 yds)

Red Zone Efficiency: 33/37 (89.2%)

      2015: 10/10 (100%)

Red Zone TDs: 24/37 (64.7%)

      2015: 8/10 (80%)

PAT Attempts: 28/28 (100%)

     2015: (9/9) (100%)

Individual Stats:

2015 Season

QB Jake Rudock: 59/91 for 582 yds, 3 TDs and 5 INTs, 11 carries for 21 yds; RB De’Veon Smith: 53 carries for 206 yds and 3 TDs, 4 receptions for 35 yds and 1 TD; RB Ty Isaac: 18 carries for 161 yds and 1 TD, 2 receptions for 12 yds; WR Amara Darboh: 16 receptions for 185 yds, 1 TD, 1 carry for 4 yds; TE Devin Fuller: TE Jake Butt: 14 receptions for 132 yds and 1 TD; WR Jehu Chesson: 5 receptions for 48 yds, 2 carries for 40 yds and 1 TD;

2014 Season

QB Jake Rudock (at Iowa): 213/345 for 2436 yds, 16 TDs and 5 INTs, 67 rushes for 176 yds and 3 TDs; QB Shane Morris: 14/40 for 128 yds, 9 carries for 28 yds; RB De’Veon Smith: 108 carries for 519 yds, 6 TDs, 3 catches for 26 yds; RB Derrick Green: 82 carries for 471 yds and 3 TDs, 2 catches for 26 yds; RB Drake Johnson: 60 carries for 361 yds and 4 TDs, 1 reception for 11 yds; WR Amara Darboh: 36 receptions for 473 yds and 2 TDs; TE Jake Butt: 21 receptions for 211 yds and 2 TDs; WR Jehu Chesson: 14 receptions for 154 yds; WR Dennis Norfleet: 15 receptions for 11 yds


For the third week straight, BYU faces a defense that will operate in both a 3-4 and 4-3 base. This week the hybrid edge rusher will be BUCK Mario Ojemudia who is the returning sack leader from 2014 with 3.5. Michigan may possibly have the best defense that BYU will face, their DL is stout and will provide a physical contest for the BYU OL. Michigan also has a talented secondary that is headlined by SS Jabrill Peppers. Michigan’s secondary is ranked #13 in the country through three games and are currently only giving up 12.7 ppg. Granted, they haven’t faced much competition  as the teams they played are ranked #83, #113, and #120. BYU’s offense will be Michigan’s toughest test of the 2015 season.

Michigan’s surprise on defense has been their DL. Through three games, they have 16.5 TFL out of the team’s 26. They are led by NT Chris Wormley who has burst onto the scene with 7 TFL. There was a major question mark coming into the season with the loss of projected starting DT Bryan Mone during training camp but Wormley has definitely filled the void. DE Mario Ojemudia has been impressive as well with 3.5 TFL this season on the outside. BYU’s OL will need to set the tempo up front and play physical by sustaining a push against the heart of Michigan’s D. Tejan Koroma and Tuni Kanuch will have to set the tone for the run game and pass pro.

Michigan’s LB core was expected by many to be the strength of the D coming into the 2015 season, so far they’ve been the third best unit on a stout D. The two inside LB’s have been vacuums up the middle, cleaning up tackles. Joe Bolden has 26 tackles while Desmond Morgan has 19. They’re rounded out by Delano Hill and James Ross III who have both seen time at OLB. The two have combined for 3 TFL and 19 tackles. They aren’t as talented as the last two LB cores that BYU has faced in Boise State and UCLA but they are a unit that Michigan will be able to rely on.

Michigan’s secondary is as talented as any team BYU will face this season. They have players similar to Boise State with a safety in Jabrill Peppers  who may end up being the best player that BYU will face this season. Peppers is a freak athlete that can make plays all over the field and he’s only a RS FR. Michigan also has talented corners like Jourdan Lewis who has excellent ball skills and leads the team with 6 PBU, but as a whole they have been lockdown in the first three games of the season. They have yet to face a challenge this season like they will against BYU in Mangum and BYU’s receiving core.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Allowed Per Game: 22.4

      2015: 12.7

Turnover Ratio: 10:26

      2015: 4:6

Forced Fumbles: 9

      Returning for 2015: 3

      Fumbles Recovered: 5

      Returning for 2015: 4

      2015: 5 forced, 1 recovered

Interceptions: 5

      Returning for 2015: 4

      2015: 3

Sacks: 29 (-248 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 17 (-142 yds)

      2015: 5 (-36 yds)

TFL: 82 (-357 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 68.5 (-199 yds)

      2015: 26 (-78 yds)

QBH: 21

      Returning for 2015: 11

      2015: 2

PBU: 27

      Returning for 2015: 11

      2015: 10

INTs: 5 (-13 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 4 (-11 yds)

      2015: 3 (-47 yds)

TDs allowed: 27

      Rushing: 13

      Passing: 14

2o15: 4

      Rushing: 2

      Passing: 2

First Downs Allowed: 199

      Rushing: 88

      Passing: 101

      Penalty: 10

2015: 47

      Rushing: 19

      Passing: 23

      Penalty: 5

Third Down Conversion: 68/178 (38.2%)

      2015: 9/39 (23.1%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 5/16 (31.3%)

      2015: 3/6 (50%)

Red Zone Efficiency: 34/41 (82.9%)

      2015: 5/6 (83.3%)

Red Zone TDs: 21/41 (51.2%)

      2015: 4/6 (66.7%)

PAT Attempts: 29/30 (96.7%)

      2015: 5/5 (100%)

Key Defensive Players:

2015 Season

MLB Joe Bolden: 26 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FR; MLB Desmond Morgan: 19 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack (8 yds), 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF; FS Jarrod Wilson: 14 tackles; SS Jabrill Peppers: 12 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PBU; DL Chris Wormley: 12 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 sack (9 yds), 1 FF; DL Mario Ojemudia: 11 tackles, 3.5 TFL, .5 sack (3 yds); OLB Delano Hill: 10 tackles, 1 TFL; CB Jourdan Lewis: 9 tackles, 6 PBU; DL Taco Charlton: 8 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sack (7 yds), 1 FF

2014 Season

MLB Joe Bolden: 102 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sack, 1 PBU, 1 QBH; FS Jarrod Wilson: 50 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBU; CB Jourdan Lewis: 39 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 6 PBU, 2 INTs; DL Mario Ojemudia: 32 tackles, 3.5 sack, 4 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 QBH; SS Dymonte Thomas: 27 tackles; DT Ryan Glasgow: 22 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 QBH; DT Chris Wormley: 21 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sack, 2 QBH; DL Taco Charlton: 19 tackles, 3.5 sack, 5.5 TFL, 3 QBH

Special Teams:

Michigan returns their primary kick returner and punt returner in Dennis Norfleet but he’s been replaced with star SS Jabrill Peppers. Norfleet had 10 punt returns last season with a long of 9 yds, while on kick return he had 19 returns for 438 yds with a long of 48 yds.

The Wolverines lose their starting punter and kicker from last season Kenny Allen will handle most of kick off and punt kick for the Wolverines while Black O’Neill will do the punting.

Scoring (2015):

Kenny Allen: 9/9 PAT, 3/4 FG (1-29: 2/2, 40+: 1/2), lng 40 yds

Kickoffs (2015):

Kenny Allen: 16 KO, 951 yds, 59.4 avg, 9 TB, 2 OOB


Blake O’Neill: 11 punts, 450 yds, 40.9 avg, 59 long, 6 inside 20, 3 50+ yds

Kick Returns (2015):

Jabrill Peppers: 3 returns for 78 yds, 26 avg, 36 long

Punt Returns:

Jabrill Peppers: 4 returns: 38 yds, 9.5 avg, 24 long


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