Appalachian State: Players to watch

Marcus Cox, RB: Cox, who didn’t move into the starting lineup until Week 3, set or tied six school freshman records. Among them — total rushing yards (1,250), total TDs (21), rushing TDs (15) and rushing yards in a game (215). His 1,250 yards is 13th in school history.

Kameron Bryant, QB: He made his first start in Week 5 at The Citadel, yet still set a school record for season completion percentage (237-for-333, 71.2 percent). He threw for 2,713 yards.

Joel Ross, CB: The senior has made 19 career starts with some pretty impressive stats — 114 tackles, seven for loss. He had 56 tackles last season, second among the defensive backs and fifth on the team.


Hype is not an option: The prevailing story line about the game is about Appalachian State’s 34-32 upset in 2007. While it has been talked about in the media, the current Michigan players are not paying any attention. Different team, different time.

Playing at home: Speaking of that game in 2007, a home opener at Michigan … The Wolverines really have protected home turf pretty well — 17-3 in openers the last 20 years. Appalachian State, which has opened on the road 13 consecutive seasons, has lost nine of its last 12.

Rain, rain go away: The forecast is for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. Because it’s an opener, it’s hard to say who this might favor, but it likely would give the Mountaineers a slight bit of hope. Brady Hoke said the Wolverines have done plenty of wet-ball drills in the event of this type of weather.

The great unknown: Michigan hasn’t offered much in the form of tape to prepare for this offense with new coordinator Doug Nussmeier in charge. Looking at last year’s film would shed some light on personnel, but Nussmeier has kept things vanilla in public spring and preseason practices.

Gardner is ready: This is Devin Gardner’s last go-around, and he has made it clear he has a better grasp of the offense and his role. With WR Devin Funchess creating mismatch problems, the Devin & Devin Show could be tough to defend.

Facts and figures

* Michigan record against Appalachian State is 0-1 after the stunning upset in 2007. As Brady Hoke pointed out, this is the only team on Michigan’s schedule this year that has a winning record against the Wolverines.

* Michigan outweighs Appalachian State’s offensive line on average by 14 pounds and its average height is two inches taller (Michigan averages 6-foot-5, 290; Appalachian State is at 6-3, 276).

* Michigan has won all three home openers under Brady Hoke —Western Michigan, 34-10, in 2011; Air Force, 31-25, in 2012; Central Michigan, 59-9, last season.

* This is Appalachian State’s first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I) and the Sun Belt Conference. It is eligible to win the Sun Belt this year, but because of the two-year reclassification process, can’t participate in a bowl until 2015.

* Michigan enters the opener with a nation-leading 910 career victories. Its winning percentage is .732, just behind Notre Dame’s .733. Michigan plays at Notre Dame next week in the final game of that series.