ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The second ranked Michigan Wolverines had no issues taking care of UNLV at The Big House on Saturday afternoon. Led by their trademark defense and helped in no small part by JJ McCarthy’s efficiency under center, Michigan was able to keep the Rebels at bay for the entirety of the game.
Despite the clear talent mismatch between the two sides, UNLV was able to put together a few impressive stops throughout the game. The disparity in talent was more noticeable when UNLV’s offense was on the field against Michigan. Michigan’s pass rush turned Rebel’s QB Doug Brumfield into a crash dummy at times, tallying 5 sacks amid constant pressure.
After UNLV was forced to punt on their opening possession, Michigan methodically marched down the field, going 80 yards on nine plays before capping it off with a three-yard touchdown run by running back Blake Corum to strike first blood.
Michigan went up 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter, with Blake Corum capping off another clinic of a drive with his second touchdown of the afternoon with a two-yard score.
The Rebel defense pushed back on the next Michigan drive when they forced a turnover on downs with a stop on fourth-and-two. With all of the questions surrounding the defensive unit coming into the game, this was one of the aforementioned moments where they impressed.
Michigan closed the first half with yet another impressive touchdown drive, this time going 83 yards in ten plays before McCarthy found receiver Roman Wilson for Wilson’s first touchdown of the day.
After dueling third-and-outs to start the third quarter, McCarthy found Wilson again for a 47-yard touchdown strike to put Michigan ahead 28-0 with just over 10 and a half minutes left in the third quarter.
Michigan’s next shot came a few drives later when Corum capped off back-to-back 26-yard completions from McCarthy to receiver Cornelius Johnson with a touchdown from five-yards out to put the Wolverines up 35-0. Corum had three touchdowns in the game, all coming from inside the five-yard line.
UNLV managed to strike pay dirt late in the fourth quarter on a Jordan Younge-Humphrey 20-yard touchdown run. This was a very important play to some, as it ensured the Rebels would cover the 38-point spread.
Michigan played this game without head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was serving the second game of a three-game suspension. The Wolverines split coaching duties, with Harbaugh’s son, special teams coordinator Jay taking the first half and Michigan legend and running backs coach Mike Hart taking the second half.
No. 2 Michigan is tied for the highest ranked opponent UNLV has faced in program history, matching their season-opening tilt with No. 2 Tennessee in 1996. They fared better today than they did in Knoxville that afternoon, where they were smoked 62-3 by the Volunteers and junior quarterback Peyton Manning.
This was UNLV’s second match-up all-time with Michigan, having already met in Ann Arbor in 2015. The Rebels lost that game 28-7.
UNLV faces Vanderbilt at home on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PDT. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. It will be UNLV’s first ever home game against an SEC opponent.