clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michigan Football vs. UNLV: Matchups to Watch

The Wolverines' biggest opponent this weekend may be themselves.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan (1-1) will be taking on UNLV (0-2) on Saturday at the Big House in a game that they are favored by almost five touchdowns.

Now, we have seen scenarios before where huge underdogs have come into Ann Arbor and given the Wolverines a big scare, but anytime a match-up like this is scheduled to take place, there really is no reason the home team should not beat up on the opponent.

Because of that, I'll be the one to say that Michigan's biggest opponent this weekend is themselves.

Here are some matchups I will be looking at on Saturday:

Jake Rudock vs. Turnovers

Rudock was touted as a player that could come in, keep the turnovers down and be a calming presence at the quarterback position as the Wolverines went through a transition year. For the most part, he has been that, but has still been reckless with the football. Through two games, he has thrown four interceptions and added a fumble. He simply has to be better securing the football.

Michigan's offense when successful will largely depend on the running game with the passing attack taking advantage of opportunities to make plays and keep the defense honest. With that being said, it would be nice to see Rudock get some rhythm going on Saturday, throw a few touchdown passes and just be efficient.

Michigan's Run Game vs. UNLV's Defense

UCLA ran for 273 yards last week against the Rebels and averaged nearly six yards per rush. We can expect more of the same this weekend from the Wolverines, who looked vastly improved in the run game against Oregon State. But, as our Drew Hallett noted in this week's offensive film focus, they left yards on the field. Now that the offensive line has shown it can open up holes, it is time to see if they can block their assignments correctly.

UNLV should not pose much of a challenge in containing Michigan's rushing attack, led by De'Veon Smith and more Drake Johnson this week, so we will see if the Wolverines can improve on week two's performance.

Michigan's Defense vs. UNLV's Offense

This one should not be close. The Wolverines should dominate this side of the ball, especially with the likelihood that UNLV will be trotting out Kurt Palandech as its starting quarterback. Last week, he came in for the injured Blake Decker and completed four passes in 15 attempts for four yards and an interception. Yikes.

The Rebels had some success running the football last week. Keith Whitely and Xzaviar Campbell combined for 130 yards on 20 carries against UCLA and had some runs go for chunk yardage. The Wolverines were caught out of position early on against Oregon State, so we will see if they are tested at all by UNLV.

What will you be looking for this weekend? Sound off in the comments below!