Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No. 22 BYU/Michigan preview: Can the Wolverines defense stop the Cougars offense?

                                  Photo Credit: Geno Green

Since losing its opening game at Utah, Michigan's defense managed to put together back-to-back solid efforts.

In home wins against Oregon State and UNLV, the Wolverines have allowed a combined 373 yards and three turnovers.

The highlight of Michigan's defense thus far has been the meshing of a highly-hyped secondary unit, featuring Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis.

Harbaugh acknowledged the secondary's improvements in Tuesday's Big Ten Conference call, but knows it is only the tip of the iceberg.

"I feel like our secondary is coming together," Harbaugh said. "We're definitely getting our hands on more balls and creating turnovers."

Michigan's secondary will get a stiff test from one of the best offenses in the FBS in No. 22 BYU.

The Cougars scorched the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense for 445 yards of offense on Sept. 5.

With BYU posing threats such as freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum and wide receiver Mitch Mathews, Harbaugh knows his defensive backs' margin of error is slim.

"BYU is very proficient in the passing game and athletic, with a quarterback who throws it well and has tall and athletic receivers," Harbaugh said.

Michigan Players To Watch Out For- Cornerback Jourdan Lewis:

After missing half of the Oregon State game on Sept. 12 due to effects from a concussion, Lewis responded with a vengeance last week against UNLV with four pass breakups on its top wide receiver Devonte Boyd.

Harbaugh sees improvement in Lewis and wants to him take his game to another level against the Cougars Saturday.

"I really like his play and last week he had four pass breakups and defended the deep ball well," Harbaugh said. "He continued to improve in the physical part of the game in tackling and is an ascending player."

Running Back Ty Isaac:

When Michigan's running back picture looked to be cleared out like fog, Ty Isaac decided to cloud the situation with a career-high 114-yard breakout performance on eight carries, highlighted by a dynamic 76-yard touchdown run against UNLV last week.

Harbaugh relished in the rapid development of Isaac and hopes the 76-yard TD run is a harbinger of things to come this season.

"It's really encouraging this past week as [Ty] turned a short play into a long touchdown run that was not drawn up exactly the way it was initially and managed to make somebody miss, bounce off a tackle, create enough running room with an outstanding stiff arm and that was good to see," Harbaugh said.

Game Planner:

No. 22 BYU Cougars (2-1) at Michigan Wolverines (2-1)

Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Time: Saturday, Noon ET

TV/Online: ABC/WatchESPN

Line: Michigan (-4.5)

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