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Washington vs Michigan Preview



When- Monday January 8th, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN


Where- NRG Stadium, Houston, TX



*FBS ranking in parenthesis



Washington (Pac 12)

Record- (14-0)

Strength of Schedule- (4)

Rating- 80.88 (7)

Points Scored Per Game- 37.6 (10)

Rush Yards Per Game- 123.6 (100)

Sacks Allowed Per Game- .79 (4)

Pass Yards Per Game- 350 (1)

Points Allowed Per Game- 24.1 (53)

Rush Yards Allowed Per Game- 137.1 (41)

Sacks Per Game- 1.5 (114)

Pass Yards Allowed Per Game- 267.1 (120)

Penalty Yards Per Game- 71.36 (129)

Net Yards Per Punt- 38.9 (62)

Turnover Margin- .14 (53)



Michigan (Big 10)

Record- (14-0)

Strength of Schedule- (17)

Rating- 89.12 (2)

Points Scored Per Game- 36 (14)

Rush Yards Per Game- 159.5 (61)

Sacks Allowed Per Game- 1.36 (28)

Pass Yards Per Game- 218.9 (71)

Points Allowed Per Game- 10.2 (1)

Rush Yards Allowed Per Game- 93.1 (8)

Sacks Per Game- 2.71 (19)

Pass Yards Allowed Per Game- 150 (2)

Penalty Yards Per Game- 26.21 (2)

Net Yards Per Punt- 41.23 (23)

Turnover Margin- 1.21 (2)



Why Washington will win- The Huskies undoubtedly entered their Semifinal matchup against Texas motivated by the 2nd place finish of QB Michael Penix Jr. in the Heisman voting.  They enter Monday’s matchup feeling disrespected once again underdogs, a role they have thrived in the past two games against Oregon and Texas. Michigan’s stout pass rush, which sacked Alabama QB Jalen Milroe 6 times in the Rose Bowl, should be neutralized by Washington’s O-line which allows the 4th fewest sacks in FBS per game at .79.   

 


Why Michigan will win- Defense still wins championships in college football.  The average ranking in points allowed of every National Champion in the CFB Playoff era is 10 and only LSU (31) in 2019-20 ranked outside the top 30.  The Huskies enter Monday night’s matchup sitting at 53rd in the nation in points allowed per game at 24.1.  After torching Texas for 420 yards and 2 TD's in the Sugar Bowl, Penix will face a much tougher secondary in Michigan that surrenders just 150 yards thru the air which is 2nd best in the nation.

 


Key to the Game- Washington’s run game vs Michigan’s run defense.  All the talk is about Penix and the nation’s top passing attack.  However, the Huskies as a team have rushed for over 100 yards in 6 consecutive games after failing to reach the 100-yard mark in 4 out of the first 8 games.  Jr RB Dillon Johnson, who missed time due to injuries early in the year, has 5 rushing TD’s the past 3 games and has averaged 122 yards the past 6 games.  Find success on the ground will help open up the passing game for Penix and the offense against the Wolverines' formidable secondary.



Projected Outcome- Michigan by 8.24 points

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