Tonight’s Orange Bowl matchup against Florida State won’t define Michigan’s season, but sure could shine it up.
November turned into a month to forget for the Wolverines. Accordingly, how is Jim Harbaugh’s unit preparing to slow down the Seminoles dynamic tailback?
FSU will be looking to get back on the bowl winning track after losing bowl games in 2014 and 2015. And the one that completely embraced new coach Jim Harbaugh and his intense mentality when he arrived in January 2015, leading to consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time since 2002-03 with a chance for one more.
The weather looks to be cooperating for the game with a zero percent chance of rain.
But I predict the Seminoles can close the gap in the second half, as they’re scoring margin jumps to 7.4 points per game while Michigan’s falls almost a touchdown per game. Both teams have records they want to break.
Peppers has been great for the Wolverines and has been the center-piece of the team during their great season. He was second on the team with 72 total tackles. When it scored a touchdown in the waning seconds to close to 31-30, Nebraska eschewed the safe extra point and went for two.
MI quarterback Wilton Speight completed 62% of his passes this season, logging 2,375 yards and 17 touchdowns. He missed the game against IN with an injury. “I wish we would have played the next week the way the season ended”. Particularly about how, with so much focus on the playoff games, other bowls that enjoy a rich history might perhaps now feel second-rate in comparison. Wide Receiver Amara Darboh is the go-to-guy in the MI offense. Jehun Chesson is a very talented receiver and finished third on the team with 469 receiving yards. The Wolverines rushed for more yards than they threw for and while De’Veon Smith led with 810 yards he only had a 4.9 YPC. The Seminoles’ Dalvin Cook gets 6 yards per carry; the Wolverines allow about 3 yards per carry.
Offense is the weakness for MI, but luckily, the Wolverines are very strong on special teams and defense. The Seminoles also played here early this season coming away with a 20-19 win versus the Hurricanes and Florida State has actually won all 5 meetings against Miami, Fl since they moved into this venue. This could spell trouble for the Seminoles, because if there has been one constant in Michigan’s season, it’s been its defense, particularly its defensive line, a group that goes two-deep with National Football League talent.
Florida State has the top-ranked red-zone offense in the country, while Michigan’s defense is No. 2 in that category.
Michigan’s 2nd ranked defense slows down Dalvin Cook and forces Deondre Francois to pass. Florida State’s beat up offensive line won’t contain three of Michigan’s best defensive line (Wormley, Charlton and Glasgow) and they continue to give the quarterback problems. He also added four scores on the ground.
Cook is likely playing in his final collegiate game, although he will not officially declare his intentions for the NFL Draft until after the bowl game.
The junior is more than just a steady, reliable player at the running back position, though: he’s one of the most explosive players in the nation. Cook ran for 1,620 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns this season.