Under Hoke, the Wolverines haven't always played their best football away from Michigan Stadium. The team lost five games away from home last season, including a 41-14 loss in Dallas to eventual national champion Alabama in the first week of the season and a 33-28 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.
In his two-plus seasons at Michigan, Hoke has posted a perfect 17-0 record in The Big House, which stands the second-longest current home winning streak in the country (Northern Illinois has won 21 straight home games). But he has a middling 5-7 record on the road, including a 4-5 record in true road games.
"We're obviously not playing in The Big House," fifth-year senior right tackle Michael Schofield said. "We're going to be in front of fans who will be booing us and everything. They have to be prepared for that. As a senior class, we're going to prepare the young guys as much as possible."
Sophomore outside linebacker James Ross III played his first game in a Michigan uniform away from Michigan Stadium.
After the Wolverines' disappointing performance on the road last year, he has learned a lesson about what it takes to win outside of your comfort zone.
"It's all about staying focused and no distractions," Ross said. "There's going to be a lot of distractions out there, but you can't pay attention to that. It's a game waiting to be played. It's going to be a 100-yard field just like our field is. Nothing different. You just have to stay focused."
With or without a lot of youth on the roster, the first road game of the season has traditionally been a tough game for the Wolverines.
In the last 15 years, Michigan has posted a 5-10 record in their first game of the season away from The Big House, including a stretch of six-straight losses from 2000-05. During Hoke's tenure, the Wolverines are 1-1 in such games, with the aforementioned loss to Alabama last year and a 42-24 win at Northwestern in the first road game of 2011.
Michigan is 81-43-8 all-time in the first road game of the season (61.4 percent).