The Michigan Wolverines now have win number one of the season, and fans are filled with plenty of anticipation for another victory. They convincingly beat Oregon State last week 35-7 with old-fashioned smash mouth football. The offensive line pushed back the defense line and allowed the running backs to gain over 200 rushing yards.
Now we are ready for win number two! This week they will face the UNLV Rebels for the first time ever. Here is your Last Look at everything you need to know for Michigan vs. UNLV.
What: Michigan Wolverines (1-1) vs UNLV Rebels (0-2)
When: September 19th, 2015, Noon
Where: The Big House, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Channel: Big Ten Network
Michigan beat Oregon St 35-7
UNLV lost to UCLA 37-3
Michigan Players to Watch
The Wolverines running backs will be the group to watch for the Rebels, after they gave up well over 200 yards rushing last week against UCLA. De’Veon Smith, Ty Issac, Drake Johnson and Derrick Green should have a tremendous day running the ball. I look for two of them to both get over 100 yards each. Much like last week, I see the line getting stronger as the game goes and wearing down the front seven for the Rebels. Bigger holes will be created for the backs to run through. There is no reason why Michigan will not have at least 250 yards on the ground since UNLV is giving up 229 yards a game after the first two contests.
On the defensive side of the ball, I have been so impressed with lineman Chris Wormley. His explosiveness to the ball and great technique has been fun to watch. Wormley is second in the nation for tackles for loss (6), which is tops his total last season. Last week he had six tackles and a sack. He attributes his success this year to the strength he has gained from the weight room in the offseason. I knew this kid would be special when I saw him play in the Ohio high school playoffs a few years ago. Much like now, he was in the opponents backfield breaking up plays. I cant wait to see what he will do this week. The Rebels offensive line coach better watch a lot of film on Wormley if they want to try to slow him down.
UNLV Players to Watch
Wide reciever Devonte Boyd is the Rebels biggest playmaker. The 6 foot 1 wide out had 107 yards and a touchdown in week one, but was held to only 55 yards last week. In his freshman season he had 65 receptions and nearly had 1,000 yards so he needs to be contained by the Michigan secondary. Starting cornerback Jourdan Lewis may be out this week with concussion symptoms so Boyd will be covered by Jabrill Peppers, Channing Stribling, and Jeremy Clark. One good thing for the Michigan secondary is that the Rebels are probably playing without its starting quarterback. Starting in his place could be sophomore Kurt Palandesch. He replaced Blake Decker last week and only was 4/15 for four yards. This would be a huge advantage for Michigan if Palandesch suits up as the starter.
Safety Peni Vea is the Rebels most experienced guy in the secondary and has played very well so far. The senior has racked up 17 tackles, a sack, one pass break up, and a forced fumble in the first two games. Vea was a honorable mention All Mountain West selection last year and probably will be in the running for the award again since the secondary is so young. With Michigan getting past the front seven so much in its rushing attack, Vea will be busy trying to save touchdowns. Also, Jake Rudock will need to be aware of where Vea is located downfield and stay away from him.
The deciding factor in this game will be Michigan itself. They have to prevent any turnovers and create some themselves. Rudock cannot afford to throw two or three picks and the ball carriers must hang on to the football. The Rebels will need to throw the ball a lot, so the Michigan defense should have plenty of opportunities to snag an interception or two. The Wolverines just need to stay out of its own way. Keep the penalties to a minimum and play good fundamental football.
I predict Michigan will be 2-0 at home this season after a 41-10 victory over UNLV. I am feeling a little more confident about the offense after last weeks rushing production. The offensive line is getting better so I think the Wolverines will score more points this week. The defense will continue to dominant and maybe cause more turnovers.
I am still not sold on Jake Rudock being a star quarterback so this week I want to see him improve. I need him to get more chemistry with the wide receivers, throw better deep balls, and improve his footwork. Last week he looked more comfortable in the pocket but only on passes under 20 yards. Rudock has to show he can accurately throw some bombs for the defenses to stop stacking the box to contain the run.
I am predicting the offense to gain 400 total yards (250 rushing), and I think we will see the defense create 3 turnovers and record 6 sacks. Michigan is coming into this game as 34.5 point favorites, and I expect to see a performance that proves this. It is time Michigan Football starts beating these teams they way they should!