CFB Natty: Washington vs. Michigan Key Matchups and Player Props


Jan 3, 2024

As the College Football National Championship approaches, the spotlight is on the key matchups defining the game between the Washington Huskies and the Michigan Wolverines. With Washington entering as underdogs, having won outright in all three games where they were underdogs, the stage is set for a gripping contest.

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1. Michigan’s Defense vs. Washington’s Rome Odunze: A critical aspect of this game will be how Michigan plans to contain Washington’s standout wide receiver. This matchup is reminiscent of Michigan’s strategy against Ohio State, where the Wolverines’ focus was on limiting Marvin Harrison Jr. Similarly, ensuring Odunze doesn’t have a breakout game is crucial for Michigan’s success.

2. Michigan’s Plan for Michael Penix: Another key matchup involves Michigan’s defense against Washington’s quarterback, Michael Penix. With his agility and ability to extend plays, Michigan must find a way to contain him. This could involve assigning a shadow player to track Penix, ensuring he doesn’t consistently move the sticks with his legs. Michigan’s front seven, known for its efficiency, will be pivotal in this regard.

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3. Washington’s Offensive Line vs. Michigan’s Pass Rush: A significant question mark is whether Washington’s offensive line can withstand Michigan’s formidable pass rush. Michigan’s defense, known for its ability to apply pressure without over-committing resources, will test Washington’s protection schemes.

4. Quarterback Duel: JJ McCarthy vs. Michael Penix Jr.: On the betting front, FanDuel sets the passing yards over/under at 192.5 for JJ McCarthy and 297.5 for Michael Penix Jr. The prediction for touchdown passes is set at 1.5 for both, with different odds. McCarthy’s ability to exploit Washington’s pass defense will be crucial. If he can’t surpass 200 passing yards against this defense, it could indicate significant problems for Michigan.

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5. Washington’s Pass Defense vs. Michigan’s Passing Game: A significant part of Michigan’s game plan will involve exploiting Washington’s weaker pass defense. McCarthy’s performance, especially in the context of Michigan’s expected ground game efficiency, will be a crucial factor. The Wolverines’ ability to balance their attack through the air and on the ground will be essential for their success.

The National Championship will likely be decided by how well Michigan’s defense can contain Washington’s key playmakers and whether the Wolverines can exploit the Huskies’ pass defense. These matchups will not only define the game but could also crown the national champion.

Watch the Full Natty Breakdown on SportsGrid’s YouTube Channel Below.


Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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