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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Appalachian State at Michigan
August 30, 2014 - 12 p.m.ET
The opening game of the 2014 season is against the Mountaineers of Appalachian State. It is the first meeting between Michigan and App St since the now infamous game in 2007 when Appalachian St became the first FCS tam to beat a top 5 ranked FBS team. Most of you will recall that Michigan played poorly against the upstart Mountaineers but were still in a position to win. A blocked FG in the waning seconds sealed the win for ASU. App St went on to capture their 3rd straight FCS National Title in 2007 and their win over Michigan is still the biggest in program history.
Maybe its time for some retribution. Appalachian State in 2014 is not the same team as in 2007. They have now joined the Sun Belt Conference and made the jump to become a FBS school on July 1, 2014. They were a dismal 4-8 in 2013 and missed the FCS playoffs for the first time in 10 years. This year, their preseason composite ranking is 117th (out of 128 teams). Dont expect another upset.
The ASU offense has some weapons at the skill positions. RB Marcus Cox ran for 1250 yards as a true freshman in 2013 and was a good receiver out of the backfield for another 559 yards and a combined 21 TDs. Jr QB Kameron Bryant completed over 70% of his passes for 2713 yards while throwing only 4 interceptions. ASU will run a fast paced offense that tries to take advantage of a tiring defense. The O-line is surprisingly big.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
What jersey number did Jake Ryan wear before he was given the Bennie Oosterbaan Legendary #47?
What number did Desmond Morgan wear before he was given the Gerald Ford Legendary #48?
What number did Devin Gardner wear before he was given the Tom Harmon Legendary #98?
On defense, 7 starters return from a team that had only 8 sacks. The D-line was the weakest part of the team, allowing 220 yards rushing per game and those aforementioned 8 total sacks on the season. LB John Law returns as the leading tackler. In their only game against D1 competition, Georgia rolled up 568 yards and 45 points on the Mountaineers last year. The ASU punter does average 46 yards per kick and can help change field position. Did I mention that they only had 8 sacks last year?
This is actually a good opponent for the Wolverines to start the season. It is a team that will allow the offensive line to work as a unit, the running backs to get lots of experience and the defense to establish itself. Devin Gardner will not get sacked. App St will likely hang around early and then fold. It should be a game where the 2nd and 3rd stringers get their chances.
Appalachian State leads the all-time series 1-0, last winning 34-32 on September 1, 2007.
Michigan is a 34 point favorite.