clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Turning point of the game: UNLV

J.J. McCarthy was a star, but the defense really made some noise.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 UNLV at Michigan Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines let the good times roll, taking down UNLV 35-7 at home. With both the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, this game was well over by halftime.

McCarthy was near perfect through the first two quarters, completing 17-of-18 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown. On the defensive side, the pass rush recorded five sacks.

Pure dominance on both sides of the ball made for a rough day for the Rebels. With all the entertaining aspects in the first half, let’s get to the turning point of the game.

Late into the second quarter, UNLV had gotten its second third-down conversion of the game and was starting to move a bit on offense. With a second-and-two situation with less than six minutes left, interior defensive linemen Kris Jenkins and Kenneth Grant collectively took down UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield for a loss of seven.

It was the fifth sack of the day for the Wolverines. All five sacks came in the first half in what was a dominant showing after coming up with zero last week against East Carolina.

Now in a third-and-long situation for UNLV, Mike Sainristil’s coverage led to an incomplete pass to stop the Rebels’ charge. This sequence ended UNLV’s final possession of the first half and reflected a near perfect performance from Michigan’s defense. On top of the sacks, the Wolverines only allowed 42 total yards to the Rebels in the first half.

On Michigan’s subsequent offensive possession, McCarthy found Wilson for a 17-yard touchdown to close out the first 30 minutes of play.

In another beatdown, any moment within the first 30 minutes of action could have led to Michigan’s win. The performance that stuck out the most to me was the defense. They generated three quarters without allowing a score, five sacks, and limited UNLV’s offense until the reserves came in. So this week, the turning point goes out to them, but more specifically to Jenkins and Grant for their combined sack. They were huge through the first half, so it was only fitting they went into the break notching Michigan’s fifth sack of the day.

As previously mentioned, this game was well over. The Big House, mainly the student section, was near empty before the fourth quarter even started. Luck had run dry for the Rebels and despite some questions Michigan may have surrounding its backups, Michigan came away with the win.