The Michigan Wolverines (finally) begin the 2016 season on Saturday and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will visit Ann Arbor for the festivities. While this is the opener for Jim Harbaugh's team, Hawaii actually participated in the season opener nationally, when the team suffered a loss to California last week in a special contest taking place in Australia. The Wolverines are a significant favorite, but prior to kick-off, let's take a glance at three things Michigan needs to accomplish in order to hold serve.
Stop Diocemy Saint Juste — Michigan's run defense should be a strength this season, but Hawaii's offensive attack in the season opener center around redshirt junior running back Diocemy Saint Juste. He rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries, and while Cal's defense is nothing to write home about, Saint Juste can play. This will be a nice opportunity for Don Brown and that dominant defensive line to eat a little bit.
Produce Competent Quarterback Play — Jim Harbaugh knows who Michigan's quarterback will be on Saturday, but he won't tell the public. With that said, it basically won't matter in this particular game... unless the quarterback turns the ball over. Wilton Speight seems to be the favorite to take the first snap, but regardless if it is Speight or John O'Korn (or, somehow, Shane Morris), ball security will be crucial in a game in which Michigan has a massive talent advantage. Oh, and it also helps to have De'Veon Smith, Drake Johnson and others to hand the ball off to against a porous defense.
Show Up — Okay, this is kind of mean, but it's applicable. Michigan is more than a 40-point favorite in the friendly confines of The Big House, and a loss here would be comparable only to the Appalachian State horror of last decade. In all fairness, that App State team was actually better than this Hawaii group, and the Rainbow Warriors just traveled an insane distance in only one week before touching down in Michigan for this game. Show up and win. Comfortably.
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