The Wolverines are off to a 1-0 start along with a No. 4 ranking. Michigan started the season by defeating Colorado State, 51-7, in Week 1. The Wolverines mustered 440 yards on offense, and 234 of those came on the ground.
The most impressive thing from Week 1 was the Michigan defense. The Wolverines sacked Clay Millen seven times and recorded 11 tackles-for-loss. What may be even more impressive: Michigan was ranked second nationally by generating 33 quarterback pressures. For a team that lost three starting defensive linemen and a starting linebacker, that is a really good start for the Wolverines.
In Week 2, Michigan will face another Mountain West Conference foe, Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors are off to a very bad start. Hawaii lost to Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky by a combined score of 112-27. It’s not because the opposing teams are juggernauts either.
The Rainbow Warriors have a first-year head coach, Timmy Chang. A former quarterback for Hawaii, Chang played there from 2000-2004 and he put up some huge numbers under center for Hawaii.
Chang wants to implement a run-and-shoot offense, which should feature an ample amount of passing — especially if Michigan gets out to a big lead early. Like Michigan, Hawaii has played two quarterbacks this season: Brayden Schager, who has started, and Joey Yellen, who has played both games. They have combined to throw for 516 yards, five interceptions and zero touchdowns in the first two games.
According to Stephen Tsai, a Hawaii reporter, Yellen will be starting this weekend. Schager will be available to play, but he has an undisclosed injury he is working thru.
#HawaiiFB will start @JoeyYellen at quarterback against Michigan, per @CoachTimmyChang. @BraydenSchager has an undisclosed injury but is cleared to play. @CammonC will not make the trip. @jake_farrell12 and @ACE_DEUCE07 are the backups. @StarAdvertiser @HawaiiFootball
— Stephen Tsai (@StephenTsai) September 7, 2022
The running attack hasn’t been able to get going for Hawaii this season since it has given up big leads early in the game. But the Rainbow Warriors hope to lean on senior Dedrick Parson, who has rushed for 111 yards and two scores.
Coach Chang has stated the Hawaii offensive line is the strongest unit the Rainbow Warriors will trot out. The line has plenty of experience but the Wolverines did produce seven sacks against a better Colorado State team last weekend, so it will be a huge uphill battle for the Hawaii offensive line. If the Rainbow Warriors have any shot whatsoever, the line will need to allow Parson to gain some yardage on the ground to keep the Michigan offense off the field.
But with how the first two weeks have gone for Hawaii, it looks like it will be relying on the passing game against a strong Michigan secondary. The Wolverines picked off a pass last weekend against the Rams — thanks to Rod Moore. Hawaii has two receivers that have over 100 yards so far this season. Jonah Panoke is the leading receiver that has nine receptions for 133 yards. Freshman Jalen Walthall is right behind him with eight receptions for 114 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hawaii is the 116th-ranked team in the country, giving up 506 yards-per-game. The Rainbow Warriors allow 272 yards on the ground and 234 yards thru the air.
J.J. McCarthy will be getting the start on Saturday against Hawaii. Not only is he battling for the starting job, but the Rainbow Warriors have not recorded a sack against an opposing quarterback. Hawaii has one interception on the season which is by Malik Hausman.
Hawaii has three tackles-for-loss in two games on defense, compared to Michigan who just had 11 in one game.
This game should be set up for Michigan to really excel on the offensive side of the ball on Saturday night.
The game can be seen on Big Ten Network at 8 p.m. EDT.
See the next page for our staff predictions.
WolverinesWire staff writers Isaiah Hole and Trent Knoop will share their thoughts on the game, two soft predictions, one bold prediction and the final score.
The offense that Michigan will see on Saturday night isn’t altogether different from what it saw against Colorado State. Timmy Chang is bringing a multiple attack that mixes the air raid, pistol, run-and-gun and West Coast. The Rainbow Warriors don’t have the same caliber of playmakers. Sure, they’ve moved the ball relatively OK against Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky, but neither of those teams are in the same league as Michigan. And then you factor in J.J. McCarthy making his first career start, and if things go as planned or anticipated, the Rainbow Warriors are in for a world of hurt.
But where Hawaii has particularly struggled has been on the defensive side of the ball, where it runs yet another 4-2-5. It gave up 404 yards rushing to Vanderbilt and nearly 300 yards passing to Western Kentucky. It hasn’t been able to stop air on that side of the ball. This should be a game in which Michigan moves the ball with ease, especially given the size differential between the Wolverine offensive line compared to the Warrior defensive line. When Michigan gets to the second level, Hawaii has bigger-than-usual linebackers, but if the runners get them in space, it’s a giant mismatch in favor of the maize and blue.
J.J. McCarthy finishes with 350 yards of total offense between passing and running
Michigan rushes for 300-plus yards
Michigan finishes with 10 sacks
-Final score prediction
Michigan 77, Hawaii 6
Look, Hawaii isn’t very good on offense, but it may even be worse on defense. The Rainbow Warriors have been outscored by 85 points in two games.
The Hawaii pass defense is ranked 79th in the country (234 yards-per-game) and it has the 125th-ranked rushing defense that gives up 272 yards-per-game.
The Michigan offense should have a field day against Hawaii on Saturday. J.J. McCarthy is receiving his first career start for the Wolverines. Not only is he trying to prove he deserves to keep the starting job, but the Big House will be rocking with enthusiasm for two reasons; McCarthy is starting and it’s a night game. If Harbaugh truly wanted to push it, I think Michigan could score triple digits in this game, but eventually he will call the dogs off.
I fully expect both lines will dominate the line of scrimmage and the Michigan defense may have itself and even bigger day against Hawaii than it did against Colorado State last week.
J.J. McCarthy throws for 250-plus yards
Michigan forces at least two turnovers
Michigan has 550 yards of total offense
Final score prediction
Michigan 63, Hawaii 10