Utah (2-0) at Michigan (2-1) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Michigan Stadium (109,901) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: ABC (ESPN2 mirror). Home Record: Utah 2-0, UM 2-0. Away Record: Utah 0-0, UM 0-1. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, UM 0-0. Conference Record: Utah 0-0, UM 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Pac-12 meets the Big Ten on Saturday afternoon at the Big House, as the Michigan Wolverines play host to the unbeaten Utah Utes.
Utah is coming off a bye after opening the season with back-to-back home wins over Idaho State (56-14) and Fresno State (59-27). This marks the road opener for the Utes, who will play three of their next four games in unfriendly confines. They begin their Pac-12 schedule at home next week against Washington State.
Michigan rebounded from an ugly, 31-0 road loss to Notre Dame with a 34-10 victory over Miami-Ohio in Ann Arbor last weekend. This will be the final non- conference tuneup for the Wolverines, who host Minnesota next Saturday in their Big Ten Conference opener.
The all-time series between these two teams is tied, 1-1. Michigan was a 10-7 winner in the first meeting back in 2002, but Utah won the rematch in 2008, 25-23, in Ann Arbor to kick off a 13-0 season.
The Utes bring a potent offensive attack into this game, as they entered the week ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 57.5 ppg. Travis Wilson has been rock-solid under center, ranking No. 2 nationally in passing efficiency (213.9). Against Fresno State, he threw five touchdown passes in just over two quarters of play.
Utah's average of 16.7 yards per pass completion leads the Pac-12 and ranks eighth nationally, while the team is third in the conference and 14th in the country in total offense (557.5). Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott combined for four touchdowns and 161 receiving yards on nine catches against Fresno State.
The Utah defense has gotten a tremendous field-position boost in the early going from punter Tom Hackert, who averaged 55.3 yards on five punts against the Bulldogs. The defense was particularly strong against the run in that game, limiting FSU to 55 rushing yards and a 1.4-yard average. The Bulldogs managed only one touchdown against the Utes starters.
Hunter Dimick and Pita Taumoepenu each collected two sacks as part of a seven- sack day for the defense. Utah is No. 1 in the nation in both sacks per game (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.5, tied).
Michigan's running game was in top form against Miami-Ohio, racking up 276 yards for a team average of 6.1 ypc. Sophomore Derrick Green headlined that effort with 137 yards and two TDs on 22 carries. Green is averaging 110.7 yards on the ground (and 6.6 ypc) through three games and has found the end zone three times.
As a unit, Michigan ranks third in the Big Ten and 29th in the nation with an average of 242.0 rushing yards per game. The Wolverines have also gone a perfect 10-for-10 in the red zone, with eight touchdowns. They scored on all four trips inside the 20 against Miami, including three TDs.
Michigan's defense stacks up well in several key categories, although the unit was somewhat exposed in the loss to Notre Dame. The Wolverines currently lead the Big Ten and rank seventh nationally in total defense (252.7), and they are also No. 10 in the country in rushing defense (80.0). Over the last two games -- which includes Notre Dame -- the Wolverines have yielded just 87 yards on the ground (1.58 ypc), their lowest such two-game total since 2008.
In last week's win, Miami managed only 33 rushing yards. Michigan has also been solid on third down, limiting foes to a 31.8 percent success rate, which ranks third in the conference and 34th nationally. The Wolverines are allowing only 18.3 ppg after posting a second-half shutout against Miami.
Michigan has won 18 straight non-conference home games dating back to 2009, and head coach Brady Hoke is 11-0 at home against non-league foes during the month of September. Chalk up another home win for the Wolverines in this one, although it certainly will not be easy.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 35, Utah 31Game Date and Time
Saturday, September 20, 3:30 p.m. (ET).