Michigan is looking to build off an impressive running performance against, arguably, a worse team than Oregon State is. As the non-conference schedule is beginning to wind down, Saturday’s game against UNLV could be an excellent tune-up performance before welcoming BYU to town the following weekend.
Last meeting: This meeting will be the first between the two programs.
What a win means for Michigan: It did what it was supposed to do. This team is a 34-point favorite on Saturday, a victory should be the expected outcome and would mean nothing more but another tally in the win column. This game could be another great opportunity to establish some playmakers (on the ground and on defense) in preparation for BYU next week. Just don’t look past UNLV.
What a win means for UNLV: Besides utter disaster if U-M were to lose this game, this game would mean the world to the UNLV football program. Especially to head coach Tony Sanchez, who joins the college ranks this season after building local high school powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School into what it is today. A win for UNLV would be the biggest in program history, no doubt.
Who to watch for: This section should, and will, be dedicated to one player in particular on the offensive side of the ball the U-M defensive backs should be looking out for.
Sophomore receiver Devonte Boyd was heading into the 2015 season with massive expectations after a near-perfect true freshman season at UNLV. Named Mountain West Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America honoree, Boyd finished the 2015 season with 980 yards and four touchdowns. His 980 receiving yards was the most by a freshman in the entire nation.
Though his touchdown numbers aren’t anything special, it’s clear that this Rebel offense will rely heavily on him to make plays against U-M on Saturday. With uncertainty at the quarterback position due to a potential injury to its starting signal caller Blake Decker, it’s not known how he’s going to get these targets.
What they’re saying: Head coach Tony Sanchez
On playing in a big stadium like Michigan Stadium: “I’m a fan of college football, I loved it from when I was a little kid. You always liked watching games at the Big House. So many memorable moments, the thing I respect so much is their history and tradition. They just do a great job of embracing it. It’s going to be fun to be a part of that for an afternoon. Bringing our guys, it’s no different. When I coached at Cal High we played at Seahawks Stadium. We brought them in a day early, walked them through so they kind of got the jitters out… Did a lot of those things previously so it’s the same mind-frame when you go into it with these guys. It’s a great historic opportunity for these guys to play but we don’t want to be thinking about that on game day.”