The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 123 of 163

122 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY CLAYTON SAYFIE Colorado State dismissed head coach Steve Addazio after its 3-9 season last year, and the Rams didn't look far to find their next leader, going in-conference to land Nevada head man Jay Norvell. He wasn't the only one who made the move from Reno to Fort Collins, with 11 former Wolf Pack players entering the transfer portal and winding up on the Colorado State roster. Nevada made four straight bowl appearances from 2018- 21, and Norvell is bringing a slice of that success east in hopes of resurrecting a pro- gram that hasn't won a confer- ence title since 2002. The trademark of Norvell's system is a pass-heavy attack, referred to as the "air raid." Norvell's teams ranked 18th nationally or higher in pass at- tempts per game during all five of his years at Nevada. The for- mer Iowa defensive back knows how to hurt opposing defenses, and his 2021 squad led the Mountain West with 37 points per contest. Redshirt freshman quarterback Clay Mil- len was in contention to start at Nevada, but he followed Norvell to Fort Collins and is now the favorite to be the Rams' top signal- caller. He's attempted just 2 career passes but threw for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns in his new team's April 23 spring game. Millen already has a rapport with two of his projected top targets — junior Tory Horton and senior Melquan Stovall, both of whom also jumped from Nevada. Horton has recorded 995 yards and 10 touchdowns dur- ing his career, while Stovall has accumulated 1,064 yards and 1 score. And despite CSU losing tight end Trey McBride, a 2021 first-team All-Mountain West performer who led the club in receiv- ing, the team's pass-catchers are experi- enced. All of the next three behind McBride in receiving yards last season are back — se- nior wideouts Dante Weight (540) and Ty McCulloch (415), and fifth-year senior tight end Gary Williams (287). The offensive line is a question mark, with four of the five projected starters being trans- fers, including a pair who earned 2021 All- Mountain West honorable mention in junior center Jacob Gardner and fifth-year senior guard Gray Davis. Colorado State's defense returns five start- ers, after ranking 63rd nationally with 377.3 yards per game allowed last season. The Rams gave up 28.3 points per contest, which checked in 82nd. While the overall numbers weren't impressive, the Rams were explo- sive, with 6.9 tackles for loss (33rd nation- ally) and 3.3 sacks (seventh) per outing. The Rams will have to replace a lot of that production, though. Both starting de- fensive ends departed, including first-team All-Mountain West pick Scott Patchan, who racked up 18.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Fifth-year senior transfer defensive end CJ Onyechi came in from Rutgers, after registering 2 tackles for loss a year ago. He and senior line- backer Mohamed Kamara, who posted 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, are the top op- tions to pick up the production from the edge rusher spots. Middle linebacker is per- haps the strongest position group on the squad, with both starters having returned for their fifth seasons. Last sea- son, Cam'Ron Carter recorded a team-high 100 tackles, in- cluding 8.5 for loss and 6 sacks, while Dequan Jackson tallied 84 stops, including 8.5 for loss and 1 sack. Nevada safety transfer An- gel King, who made 8 pass breakups last year, and former City College of San Francisco cornerback D'Andre Greeley, fresh off a 10-interception season, were big additions for the secondary. Fifth-year senior nick- elback Tywan Francis, who was second on the team with 88 tackles, also is a headliner. Notes Colorado State's 42.9 red-zone touchdown percentage ranked 126th in the country … The Rams turned the ball over 19 times in 12 games last season … They allowed 7.6 yards per pass attempt in 2021, which ranked 10th in the Mountain West. ❑ Once Reeling, The Rams Have A Fresh Look And Feel 2022 SCHEDULE Date Opponent 2021 Result Sept. 3 at Michigan — Sept. 10 MIDDLE TENNESSEE — Sept. 17 at Washington State Sept. 24 SACRAMENTO STATE — Oct. 8 at Nevada L, 52-10 Oct. 15 UTAH STATE L, 26-24 Oct. 22 HAWAI'I L, 50-45 Oct. 29 at Boise State L, 28-19 Nov. 5 at San Jose State W, 32-14 Nov. 12 WYOMING L, 31-17 Nov. 19 at Air Force L, 35-21 Nov. 26 NEW MEXICO W, 36-7 PLAYERS TO WATCH Offense: Tory Horton, Jr., WR The 6-2, 180-pounder hauled in 52 catches for 659 yards and 5 touchdowns at Nevada in 2021. Defense: Cam'Ron Carter, 5th-Sr., LB The 6-1, 225-pounder was named third-team All- Mountain West in 2020 by Phil Steele. He recorded 32 tackles and 5.5 stops for loss in 4 games that fall. Colorado State senior linebacker Mohamed Kamara generated 21 pressures in 2021, per Pro Football Focus, more than any other returning Ram. PHOTO BY BRANDON RANDALL/COURTESY COLORADO STATE ATHLETICS GAME 1 • COLORADO STATE RAMS • SEPT. 3 • 12 P.M. (ABC) QUICK FACTS All-Time Series: Michigan leads 1-0 First/Last Meeting: U-M 24, CSU 10 (Dec. 30, 1994 in Holiday Bowl) Head Coach: Jay Norvell, 0-0 (1st year) at CSU, 33-26 overall (6th year) 2021 In Review: 3-9, 2-6 Mountain West (5th Moun - tain) Final 2021 Ranking: Unranked Returning Starters: 9 (3 offense, 5 defense, 1 special- ist) Last Bowl Appearance: 2017 (New Mexico Bowl vs. Marshall, L 31-28) RETURNING LEADERS Passing: Justice McCoy (12 yards, 0 TDs) Rushing: David Bailey (752 yards, 9 TDs) Receiving: Dante Wright (540 yards, 3 TDs) Tackles: Cam'Ron Carter (100) Sacks: Mohamed Kamara (7.5) Interceptions: Robert Floyd (2)

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - 2022 Michigan Football Preview