The time for talking, the what-ifs and the superlatives are over. Its finally time to play meaningful football.
Michigan will do just that when it kicks off, finally, against Hawaii on Saturday. Here is everything you need to know on the Wolverines’ matchup against the Warriors.
Last Meeting: Michigan defeated Hawaii 48-17 in Honolulu in 1998.
What a win means for Michigan: A victory over Hawaii means that it took care of business and did what it was supposed to do. Michigan's schedule is relatively light on the difficulty scale for the first four-to-five weeks, so a victory here would not shock anyone. Besides, with the preseason hype surround the Wolverines, a win shouldn't surprise anyone here, no?
What a win means for Hawaii: A win for Hawaii here would be earth-shattering. Not quite Appalachian State levels of earth-shattering but still pretty close. Hawaii would likely ruin a season where many expected so much from Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines. It would be an upset of epic proportions.
What to watch for: For players to watch for Hawaii, let's stick on the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Ikaika Woolsey and running back Diocemy Saint Juste.
While throwing for over 2,500-yards his sophomore year, Woolsey saw his role diminish to a reserve quarterback role while appearing in all 12 games last season. He finished the year with 908 yards passing with five touchdowns and six interceptions. Heading into this season, Woolsey has full control of the offense and is looking to rebound. Woolsey finished last week with 234 yards passing and a touchdown pass as well as an interception in the loss against Cal. Woolsey also rushed six times for 33 yards and it's possible that you could see him get mobile against Michigan. It's possible that he could do some things against the Wolverines defense but it won't be enough to cause the upset.
Saint Juste bruised his way to a 118-yard, one touchdown performance against a porous Cal defense. He also managed to break off a 53-yard run as well. The real test is to see whether Saint Juste will be able to move the ball against a defensive line that is considered one of the best in the nation. Can the bruising running back break off a few long runs? We will see on Saturday.
What they're saying: U-H head coach Nick Rolovich (video here):
- On playing Michigan: "The reality is if they start looking for excuses, they'll find them. I hope they don't watch the news because we have to look at it as an opportunity to go to Michigan and play a great team and a coach that's good for college football. It's a Magellan mindset, we're ready to explore the world. We've got to embrace it."
- On playing at Michigan Stadium: "I think it's going to be an incredible experience and the guys are looking forward to it. This is a team some are saying that they are ready to compete for a national championship, so it'll be an incredible challenge and an incredible opportunity."
- On Michigan contd.: "There's still some unknowns on special teams, the new coordinator they've got. With them not having a game and us having a game, we asked if they would send us a scrimmage tape and they wouldn't. I'm sure they found our game somewhere or at least got it on TV and watched us, there's a little bit of uncertainty on our side."
On Michigan players: "They're going to have really good players, they've done a really nice job recruiting the last few years. They're one of the best programs in college football so they're going to have a high level of recruiting no matter what. The specifics, they're trying to hide the quarterback for a reason, I think it's a little bit of strategery (sp) for us to talk about. There's enough for us to worry about than spending time worrying about who the quarterback is going to be."
U-M kicks off against Hawaii at noon on ESPN.
For more on Hawaii, listen to the WTKA podcasts below: