Michigan vs. Minnesota: Keys to the game and prospects to watch


After months of uncertainty regarding the Big Ten’s plans, and then its eventual change of course, its conference-only schedule begins this Saturday. While there are several great matchups, the marquee game of this week’s slate is Michigan taking on Minnesota highlighted with prospects to watch for both sides. 

Top Michigan NFL Draft prospects

  • Nico Collins (WR): He is not currently participating in team activities, however, he is an exceptionally talented receiver who offers good ball skills and field stretching athleticism. 
  • Jalen Mayfield (OT): Young, yet promising tackle prospect with a natural anchor, quick feet and promising flashes in the run game. He has plenty of room to fill out his frame, and bulk up in all extremities. 
  • Carlo Kemp (IDL): Kemp is a light, yet twitchy upfield penetrator who needs to improve his pad level and ability to anchor against the run. Shades of Trysten Hill to his game. 
  • Aidan Hutchinson (Edge): Hutchinson is an exceptionally built, sturdy edge prospect who sets a firm edge in the run game and shows flashes as a pass rusher. Look for an uptick in his production this year. (4 1/2 sacks, 10 TFL in 2019).
  • Kwity Paye (Edge): Paye is a strong, powerful base end who can set the edge and condense the pocket as a pass rusher. He needs to expand his arsenal as a pass rusher, as he primarily uses a bull rush. However, there is potential here. 
  • Cam McGrone (LB): McGrone fits every NFL prototype as an off-ball linebacker. He can run, cover and blitz. Those three things alone will make him an early pick come April. 

Top Minnesota NFL Draft prospects 

  • Tanner Morgan (QB): Morgan’s arm does not have a ton of juice, however he has a deft understanding of ball placement and runs RPO’s with great success. He makes good decisions, and he is quite efficient. 
  • Mohamed Ibrahim (RB): Ibrahim is a shifty, yet strong running back with elite stop start quickness. He does not have blinding long speed, however he fulfills his prototype exceptionally.
  • Rashod Bateman (WR): Bateman is an impressive route runner who can get in and out of his hips at the top of his route. He has impressive hip elasticity, and he has strong hands at the catchpoint. He will be a top receiver in this year’s draft.
  • Daniel Faalele (OT): Faalele is a gargantuan, human eclipse-like tackle with jawing movement skills and power.

Keys to the game: Minnesota

  1. Be balanced!
  2. Minnesota needs to get the run game and the passing attack going early. Michigan’s defense is stout, and has playmakers all over the field. If Minnesota should win, it is because they established balance and extended possessions with its offensive talent. Where they would get into trouble, is if Michigan made them one dimensional. Establish the RPO game and spread the ball around from the jump. 
  3. Offensive line needs to establish the LOS. 
  4. Michigan has three disruptive defensive linemen with Hutchinson, Kemp and Paye. If they are disruptive and if they make splash plays in the backfield, Minnesota will consistently be playing behind the sticks and with a disadvantageous down and distance. They need to block Michigan’s front four exceptionally.

Keys to the game: Michigan

  1. Get your new QB comfortable. 
  2. While all signs point to Joe Milton taking the reins this Saturday night, whoever starts at QB has little experience and needs to get comfortable early. It is a primetime matchup, against a very talented Minnesota roster. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis needs to give his QB easy RPO’s and short completions to build confidence quickly.
  3. Be aggressive on defense!
  4. Michigan has a ton of talent on this side of the ball and it should not be afraid to bring pressure on Morgan and make him uncomfortable. If Michigan can cause turnovers, and make momentum altering plays, they will be in a good position for four quarters.