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No. 21 Michigan aims to bounce back against Western Michigan

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AP
Updated 4:22 p.m. UTC Sep 6, 2018

Western Michigan (0-1) at No. 21 Michigan (0-1), noon ET (FS1).

Line: Michigan by 28.

Series record: Michigan leads 7-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Wolverines need a confidence-boosting win after opening with a 24-17 loss at Notre Dame. On both sides of the ball, improvements are needed after they struggled at times on offense and defense against the Fighting Irish. The Broncos’ only win over a ranked team was against No. 24 Toledo three years ago. A stunning win over Michigan would top that.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan’s offensive line vs. Western Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines insisted going into the game against Notre Dame they were much better up front. It didn’t appear that way. QB Shea Patterson didn’t have much time to pass and few holes were created for the running game. Syracuse scored 24 of its 55 points in the first quarter of last week’s 13-point win at Western Michigan and finished with 334 yards rushing and 560 yards of offense.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Western Michigan: Jon Wassink. The junior QB threw for 379 yards and three TDs and ran for a score against Syracuse.

Michigan: Chris Evans. The junior RB had two carries for 1 yard and two catches for 37 yards against Notre Dame, getting largely ignored in the game plan for two-plus quarters.

FACTS & FIGURES

Jack Harbaugh, father of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, was 25-27-3 as Western Michigan’s coach from 1982-86. … The Wolverines are 32-1 against Mid-American Conference teams and the lone loss was against Toledo in 2008 in Rich Rodriguez’s first of three seasons. … The Broncos scored 28 points in the third quarter against Syracuse, rallying to pull within a TD late after trailing 34-7 at halftime. …. Since starting last year 4-0, Michigan is 4-6 and has lost four straight for the first time since Rodriguez lost the last five games of the 2009 season … Western Michigan is 1-27 against ranked teams. … University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said Harbaugh isn’t on the hot seat, adding he’s under contract for four years, earlier this week at a Detroit Economic Club meeting. … Western Michigan is 11-60 against Power Five conference schools and nine of those victories were against Big Ten teams.

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More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Updated 4:22 p.m. UTC Sep 6, 2018
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