Preview: Michigan vs. UNLV

Preview: Michigan vs. UNLV

September 8, 2023
(image via Las Vegas Sun)

Michigan had a disappointing week against East Carolina with 31 carries for 122 yards, which was just 3.9 yards per carry. There were too many plays allowed in the backfield, and that fell on both the blockers and the running backs. We all know Blake Corum (10 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD) and Donovan Edwards (12 carries, 37 yards) are stars, but the more interesting aspect will be how Michigan’s tackles look. Last week Michigan started Karsen Barnhart on the left and Myles Hinton on the right, but the belief is that La’Darius Henderson and Trente Jones will start at those positions, respectively. UNLV ranks #106 nationally in rushing defense (179 yards allowed in one game), but that might be a bit misleading. The Runnin’ Rebels allowed just 19 yards on 8 carries before things got out of hand against Bryant. UNLV’s leading tackler is 6’3″, 230 lb. Arkansas transfer Jackson Woodard, who had 12 stops last week. Cornerback Thomas Andersen (6’1″, 185) was second on the team in tackles with 8. Nickelback Jerrae Williams (5’10”, 185) had an impressive 3.0 tackles for loss last week alone in UNLV’s 4-2-5 defense.
Advantage: Michigan

Hit the jump for more.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy had a great game last week (26/30, 280 yards, 3 TDs) partly because ECU sold out to stop the run. Roman Wilson had 6 catches for 78 yards and all 3 of those touchdowns, but Cornelius Johnson had some very nice catches (5 catches, 71 yards). The offensive line staved off any real pass rush, but McCarthy also showed great pocket awareness and movement whenever a little bit of pressure showed up. Bryant averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and completed 19/31 passes, though they failed to score through the air and threw 1 interception. In other words, it appears UNLV could be susceptible to the pass as they break in two new transfer starters in Andersen (Independence Community College) and safety Jaxen Turner (Arizona). They Rebels also managed just 1 sack, which came from Jerrae Williams.
Advantage: Michigan

Michigan did so-so against East Carolina last week, allowing 103 yards on 3.96 yards/carry. Newcomer and backup Ernest Hausmann led the team with 6 tackles, while starting middle linebacker Junior Colson had 5. I expected a little more playmaking from defensive tackles Mason Graham (3 tackles), Kris Jenkins (1 tackle), and Kenneth Grant (0 tackles), but that will probably come. UNLV currently ranks #13 in rushing offense (268 yards), but that came against an FCS team likely facing offensive coordinator Brennan Marion’s Go Go offense for the first time. Running backs Vincent Davis (5’9″, 180) had 3 carries for 79 yards and 1 TD, while Jai’den Thomas (also 5’9″, 180) had 8 carries for 60 yards and 2 TDs. Quarterback Doug Brumfield (6’6″, 225) is an impressive runner in his own right; he had 7 carries for 49 yards and 1 TD last week, but he also had 6 rushing touchdowns in 2022. They run a unique offense, often with two running backs lined up next to each other on one side of the quarterback. That will present challenges to a Michigan defense – or any defense – since they’re not used to seeing that type of alignment.
Advantage: Michigan

The primary advantage here will be Michigan’s defensive line against UNLV’s offensive line. Michigan failed to record any sacks last week, but East Carolina had a solid offensive line. UNLV doesn’t appear to be able to boast the same. Left tackle Anton Ambuehl (6’6″, 300) is a little thin, and right tackle Tiger Shanks (6’5″, 320) has a name much more intimidating than his play on the field. Michigan’s defensive line should be able to have its way in the pass rush, so I would expect UNLV to try to get rid of the ball quickly and use screens to negate the rush. UNLV is #119 in passing offense after one week (126 yards) with Brumfield averaging 4.8 yards per attempt. Wideout Jacob De Jesus (5’7″, 175) led the team with 4 catches for 50 yards, but a big chunk of that yardage came on a bit of a reverse pitch that went forward. They also start former Michigan State receiver Ricky White (6’1″, 185), who had 8 catches for 196 yards and 1 touchdown against Michigan in 2020 and has done virtually nothing since then. If you’re looking for bad juju, he did that against a depleted Michigan secondary, and the Wolverines were without starting corner Will Johnson and starting safety Rod Moore last week. Both could return this week . . . or they might still be out.
Advantage: Michigan


  • Michigan won 28-7 in 2015
  • RB Ty Isaac had 8 carries for 114 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown
  • WR Jehu Chesson scored in a 36-yard end around
  • QB Jake Rudock completed 14/22 passes for 122 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT


  • UNLV WR Ricky White caught 8 passes for 196 yards and 1 touchdown against Michigan in 2020 when he played for Michigan State. Michigan State won that game by a score of 27-24. White had 2 catches for 5 yards last week against Bryant.
  • No UNLV players are from the state of Michigan
  • No Michigan players are from the state of Nevada


  • Michigan 44, UNLV 9

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