ANN ARBOR — Michigan (1-0) hosts Army (1-0) Saturday at noon inside the Big House.
As The Wolverine Lounge’s Daniel Dash pointed out in this week’s Eyes on the Enemy: the Black Knights (1-0) have won 10 straight games dating back to last season — a streak second only to Clemson, which hasn’t lost since the 2017-18 national semifinals. Army’s most recent defeat came in overtime against Kyler Murray and then-No. 5 Oklahoma, which was eventually selected for the College Football Playoff.
I gathered three bold predictions for Saturday’s midday matchup.
Zach Charbonnet scores two touchdowns
In Week 1, Army allowed 181 rushing yards to a lowly Rice team that it beat by a slim margin of seven points.
Michigan’s true freshman running back Zach Charbonnet showed his lofty upside in his debut last week, averaging 11 yards per carry on eight attempts.
Rice’s inside zone rushing was its best chance at downing Army last week. My guess is Michigan’s zone rushing is far better and more successful than Rice’s.
Look for Charbonnet to score twice with one coming from beyond the goal line.
Michigan comes out hot
Here’s the deal with Army: their success relies solely on controlling possession. The longer their triple-option controls the ball, the better chance it has.
The Black Knights’ defense is facing its toughest challenge since its last loss, 11 games ago, to Oklahoma.
Michigan’s strategy in this game is to come out hot and score early. Force Army’s possession to be a disadvantage rather than an advantage.
No team is wasting 10 minutes on a drive, like Army normally does, down more than one possession in the second half.
Look for the Wolverines to score two quick and give themselves the early step ahead on Army’s strategic keep-away football.
Michigan’s defense forces two turnovers
Fun fact: Army QB Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. passed and ran for over 1,000 yards last season. The Black Knights aren’t afraid to drop back and throw it more than they have in past seasons, attempting eight passes against Rice last week.
That being said, they’re still not very good at it, as Hopkins was 3-of-8 for 53 yards and a touchdown last week.
Michigan’s defense prides itself on aggressiveness. It’s made to dominate an offense like Army’s; one that, while mixing in a passing attack, relies solely on its success running the ball.
Look for the Wolverines to force a fumble on the triple-option based offense, and in a situation where Army chucks one up, living on a prayer, U-M comes down with an interception.