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Keys to Victory for Michigan against UNLV

What do the Wolverines need to do to beat the Rebels in week 2?

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan heads into Week 2 of the season looking to get another easy win, this time against UNLV. The Wolverines did what they needed to do last week in beating East Carolina, 30-3. The defense held the Pirates to only a last-second field goal and the offense looked efficient with J.J. McCarthy leading the way.

The Wolverines looked a bit sluggish in the second half, but there was little doubt in who was winning the game. Saturday they will, yet again, be a huge favorite and will likely come away with the victory.

Even though they should have little trouble, we still look at three keys for the Wolverines to get the win and feel good about where they are after two weeks.

1. Get the running game going

Michigan fans know the Wolverines want to run the ball first and throw the ball second. Everyone knows that, and the Pirates did a pretty good job of shutting it down. The Wolverines did end up with 122 yards on the ground, but it wasn’t the dominant performance fans were expecting.

The Pirates dared McCarthy to beat them with his arm, and he did. They continually loaded the box and blitzed from the outside almost the entire game. It limited the rushing attack, but McCarthy’s accurate day could loosen up opposing defenses.

The Rebels’ defense is not as good as the Pirates, as they gave up over 400 yards to Bryant last week, and the Wolverines need to take advantage by opening up more holes and letting Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards do their thing.

2. Sack the quarterback

The Wolverines’ defense played great on Saturday, giving up just 235 total yards and allowing the Pirates to cross the 50-yard line just three times. They nearly pitched a shutout and weren’t every truly threatened.

The only negative, however, was the defensive line didn’t get home on their pressures on the quarterback. They did not record a sack once, despite getting consistent pressure.

I think most Wolverines fans will be fine with giving up just three points, but when the opponents get tougher, they will need to get even more pressure and finish the plays.

3. Continue to stay focused

This was a key for last week, and will probably be a key next week also. The Rebels are not on the same playing field, and the Wolverines would have to really mess up to lose, but they still need to take care of business.

The Wolverines, for the most part, looked ready to play last week, but they left some opportunities on the field. The most glaring of which was the fumble on the two-yard line that gave fans flashbacks to the TCU game.

Michigan didn’t do many things wrong last week, and need to do the same against UNLV this afternoon.