ANN ARBOR, MI — The UNLV Rebels played at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan during week two of college football. The Rebels faced the No. 2 ranked team in the country, the Michigan Wolverines. The Rebels were defeated 35-7, making their current record 1-1.
47 in everyone’s hearts
Ryan Keeler, a defensive lineman for UNLV football who passed away this past year, was a big topic at today’s game between Michigan and UNLV. J.J. McCarthy, quarterback for the Wolverines, had been childhood friends with Keeler and had been playing football with Keeler from the age of 7 years old.
The two would carpool to football practices together, and even won three Illinois State Championships with their highschool. McCarthy and Keeler had been looking forward to this game where they could finally play against one another at a collegiate level.
McCarthy and his family were affected the same way UNLV was when we first received the news about Keeler’s devastating passing. At the pregame press conference, McCarthy said he would dedicate this game to his old friend.
“I’m gonna write 47 on my hand in place of the smiley face because that smiley face is a reminder to have fun and go out there, do your best, but this game is for Ryan,” McCarthy said.
During the third, with the same hands that wrote out 47, McCarthy threw a 47-yard touchdown to their premier wide receiver Roman Wilson. Whilst running off the field, McCarthy pointed to the number written on his left hand, showing his dedication to Keeler.
Those 47 yards thrown, symbolize more than just McCarthy and Keeler’s friendship, but two teams who loved and played this weekend’s game, with the same person in their hearts.
McCarthy had a game high of 278 passing yards, two touchdowns, and led his team to the win.
Blake Corum rushed 80 yards and scored three touchdowns for his team.
Corum lived up to his hype as the Preseason Second Team All-Mountain West; within the first half of the game, Corum scored two touchdowns for Michigan, leaving the Rebels a slim chance for recovery.
By the third quarter of the game, Corum had scored another touchdown for the Wolverines. Corum ended the fourth with 80 rushing yards and three touchdowns overall.
UNLV running back Vincent Davis Jr. led the Rebels in rushing yards (26), followed by running back Donavyn Lester with five rushing yards.
Both players were the only two Rebels to cover any yardage throughout the game.
Jordan Young-Humphrey, running back for UNLV, scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game, winning UNLV’s only points against the Wolverines. Younge-Humphrey now has touchdowns at the Big House in Ann Arbor, at Touchdown Jesus and Notre Dame.
UNLV’s plans to move forward
Coach Odom will try to keep his team motivated and high-spirited before their upcoming game against Vanderbilt this following weekend.
“Well, we’re 1-1 and we’re going into game three, so our motivation is extremely high to try to play really well and to improve ourselves in all three phases,” Odom said in the post-game press conference.
Regardless of a disappointing finish for the Rebels, a lot came from this game against Michigan.
The $1.8 million payoff, along with the eccentric experience of playing in the largest stadium in the United States against a No. 2 nationally ranked team, will give the Rebels an experience only few are exposed to.
A tremendous opportunity and learning experience for an overmatched UNLV that will help pay dividends for the rest of the season. It will be a great measuring stick to see where they stand and what they need to work and improve on. Playing a game at the Big House can bring new faces and future recruits to the UNLV Football program.
Next weekend, the Rebels are back at Allegiant Stadium to face off against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game will kickoff at 4 p.m. PST on Saturday, Sept. 16.