Michigan, No. 8 hosts Colorado State, aims higher this season | Olympic Games


By LARRY LAGE – AP Sports Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is coming off its best season under Jim Harbaugh, finally breaking through to beat rival Ohio State and ending its longest drought without a Big Ten championship.

The Wolverines won enough to earn a berth in the College Football Playoffs, only to be humiliated by Georgia. The 34-11 loss to eventual champions showed Michigan how much it needed to improve to win it all and provided a source of motivation throughout the offseason.

“You can’t ignore what happened last year, but you can’t be distracted by it either,” tight end Joel Honigford said. the past. We also have understanding which was not good enough.

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The eighth-placed Wolverines can take the first of many steps to the top last year when they host Colorado State on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Michigan’s offensive line, with three returning starters plus the transfer of Virginia Olu Oluwatimi, plans to lead the way with a heavy-hitting approach on offense.

“We’re just going to be the most physical offensive line in the country this year,” guard Zak Zinter said. “We are going to run the ball when we want to run the ball. It is our identity and it will not change.

The Wolverines will need to find new players to pressure the quarterback after losing Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, who combined for 25 sacks.

Gemon Green is confident the defense will flourish with plenty of new faces.

“We are much faster than last year,” said the defensive back.

Colorado State has its third coach in four years.

The Mountain West Conference program hired Jay Norvell after he fired Steve Addazio with a 4-12 two-year record after five uneven seasons under Mike Bobo.

Norvell won 30 games in his last four years at Nevada, including a 52-10 win at Colorado State to close out the regular season and end Addazio’s tenure.

As Norvell prepared the Rams for the season, he let them know how poorly they had played in the second half of the past few seasons.

“I wanted to start with that because I think that’s where we are,” he said.

Cade McNamara helped Michigan win the Big Ten last year for the first time since 2004, and was voted team captain this summer. These facts did not make him the undisputed starter of the team.

Harbaugh said McNamara will take the first shot against Colorado State and JJ McCarthy will start next week at home against Hawaii.

“We believe both are capable of leading our team to a championship and we’re going to continue to cultivate that,” Harbaugh said.

The Rams are set to start Clay Millen, the first freshman quarterback to start for them since Pete Thomas in 2010. Millen wore a redshirt last season for Norvell in Nevada after playing two games. He was 2 of 3 for 18 yards against New Mexico State last season.

The Rams will likely play in front of the most fans in school history, surpassing the 101,821 people who saw them play in Alabama in 2013 and 2017.

“I’m more concerned about our football team than Michigan, its fans or its stadium,” Norvell said.

Harbaugh and Norvell go back a long way, facing each other as players, becoming NFL teammates and training together in the league.

Norvell, as an All-Big Ten defensive back, helped top-ranked Iowa beat No. 2 Harbaugh and the Wolverines on a game-ending field goal in 1985 at Michigan Stadium. Two years later they played for the Chicago Bears. In the early 2000s, they were both part of the technical staff of the Oakland Raiders.

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