Michigan Could Be Staring At 0-2

By Adam Caparell - September 04, 2007

Three days removed from arguably the greatest upset in college football history, and without a doubt the most embarrassing loss in program history, Michigan is still licking its wounds with Lloyd Carr more than slightly concerned about the Wolverines ability to stop an Oregon team that some would say is a vastly more talented Appalachian State this weekend.

With the shock of their 34-32 loss to the Mountaineers having worn off, Carr said Tuesday his coaching staff and players are focused on the Ducks as Saturday's game in Ann Arbor will ultimately tell him more about his team than anything else.

"I think that the test of any team is how they handle disappointment," Carr said." I know that they're good people, they want to win and they want to be successful."

The Wolverines were anything but last weekend as Appalachian State ran right through the gutted Michigan defense to the tune of 160 yards rushing and 387 yards of total offense as the Mountaineers spread attack and scrambling quarterback gave the Wolverines defense fits.

But the loss shouldn't have been that big of a surprise considering Michigan returned only four starters on defense from one of 2006's best units and all the Wolverines best players are now playing in the NFL. Now they must prepare for Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, an athletic QB who is just as comfortable scrambling as he his throwing. Basically he's a more talented Armanti Edwards, the Appalachian State quarterback the Wolverines could not contain.

"I think every team in the country has had problems with scrambling quarterbacks and certainly we're no exception," Carr said.

Dixon ran for 141 yards, averaging 9.4 yards per carry, to lead the Ducks to a win over Houston last weekend.

"They're using him as a ball carrier and what he did last Saturday was extremely impressive," Carr said. "When you're in the one back-set and you have a quarterback to you have designated running plays for, it puts a lot more pressure on a defense."

The similarities between Appalachian State and Oregon are very clear to Carr, the biggest difference being the Wolverines have to contend with two superior running backs in Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson and a much bigger offensive line that features plenty of 300-pounders this week.

"We expect that they're going to run the option more than Appalachian State," Carr said. "The two running backs, to be able to rotate two guys with the abilities that Stewart and Johnson have is really a great advantage. I can't imagine we're going to play a bigger line than what they have."

So when you add it all up, starting 0-2 is a distinct possibility for the Wolverines, especially if they have trouble tackling like they did against Appalachian State. And if the Mountaineers speed was too much at times for the Wolverines, how are they going handle Oregon's?

Posted by Adam Caparell at 12:12 PM on September 04, 2007
Comments (4)


I love the Ducks but can't see Michigan folding over two weeks in a row. My biggest concerns are decision making by Dixon and Bellotti.

Hopefully it will be an exciting, entertaining game, but I gotta go with the oddsmakers on this one...(I'll dance a jig if I'm proved wrong!)

When Oregon beat Michigan at Autzen Stadium a few years ago, very few of the Michigan Players waited around to shake hands with the Oregon players, showing an incredible lack of sportsmanship and respect. The older players will tell the younger ones about that slap in the face, and as if they didn't have motivation enough, the Ducks will be sky-high when the game begins. Win or lose, the Ducks will shake hands with the Michigan players, and I suspect that it will be a win for Oregon.

Living in Indiana I get to choose between seeing the Ducks play or the Beaves. Sence the Big House tickets are costing around $333. I'm going to see the Beaves. But It a shame for the Ducks that Mich. lost last week. It means a win will not improve there standing much.

I've never heard so much malarchy coming out of Michigan since they blew the Ohio State game last year. They say the Appy State game was just a "bump in the road" and other, similar attempts to minimizing their colossal loss last Sat. They need to be beaten again this week just to slap some of the incredible arrogance out of these elitists. Go Ducks!

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