The Michigan Wolverines improved to 2-1 on the season with a 28-7 win over UNLV on Saturday afternoon. Michigan dominated both sides of the the football for a good majority of the game. They took a 21-0 lead into halftime, and were on cruise control from there on out. The scoreboard shows that it was only a 21 point win, but this game was far from close. The Wolverines once again controlled the line of scrimmage, on their way to a cool 254 rushing yards. D.J. Durkin’s defense looked great in the matchup, holding the Rebels to 235 total yards on the afternoon. At the end of the day it was another great TEAM win for Michigan, but a few individuals played above the rest.
For me, memories of Michigan football consist of big, tough, physical running backs. I can’t think back to my childhood without having thoughts of the A-Train, Anthony Thomas, come to mind. It seemed like week in and week out, ole #32 was pounding it between the tackles for a big gain, or a touchdown. This too was true on Saturday for the new #32, Ty Isaac. The 6’3” 240lb, Isaac carried the ball just 8 times, for 114 yards, and touchdown. While 76 of those yards came on one carry for a touchdown, it was good to see Isaac be a physical runner. While De’Veon Smith is the lead back in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines need to find a compliment back. The options are there for Jim Harbaugh’s crew, but this week it was Ty Isaac.
Gameball: Jake Rudock, Quarterback
Some people may not have their minds made up yet on whether or not Jake Rudock should be the guy leading the Wolverines. My mind was made after the Utah game. Jake Rudock is the guy. Now I understand he only threw 5 interceptions last year at Iowa, and he has thrown 4 interceptions in 3 games for Michigan, but comparing him to last years model just isn’t fair. First of all, the stage at Michigan is a bit larger than that at Iowa. Second, he is still learning a whole new offense. He isn’t a 5th year senior who has been in the same system all 5 years. He isn’t even a 5th year senior trying to learn a system with a team who knows the offense. He is a 5th year graduate transfer coming into a brand new system not only for him, but for the entire offense. Things are going to take a while to mesh. Rudock is by no means flashy, but that’s okay. Denard Robinson was flashy, Devin Gardner was flashy, even Tate Forcier was flashy. Jake Rudock does what he is asked to do, and doesn’t try to do more. Bottom Line. He was 14-22, 123 yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT against the Rebels. Moving forward the the playbook should continue to expand, and so should Jake Rudocks ability. I’m looking forward to him leading the Wolverines to a great finish on the season.
Gameball: Blake O’ Neill, Punter
Often times special teams get overlooked in a football games, especially kickers and punters. The 5th year senior punter had a huge role in Michigan’s win on Saturday. He put four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line, two of which were punts of over 50 yards. That is a huge advantage for the Michigan defense to start drives with the Rebels near their own end zone. He has really impressed me through three games.
For the second week in a row, I can’t pick just one guy on the defensive side of the ball to highlight. They tallied 8 tackles for a loss, 5 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions. UNLV didn’t have much success moving the ball until late in the game when Michigan had backups in. As a unit these guys continue to impress me. They have a ton of great playmakers on that side of the ball, and it seems like every time one of them misses an assignment, their teammate is right there to pick them up. This unit is starting to turn heads around the Big Ten, and even around the country. They are going to win Michigan games this year.
Who do you think is the most deserving of a game ball?