We-fense mantra uttered by Harbaugh comes to fruition as Michigan football improves to 2-0

Wolverines will host Bowling Green under the lights Saturday at Michigan Stadium

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 09: Jaylen Harrell #32 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after getting a sack during the first half of a college football game against the UNLV Rebels at Michigan Stadium on September 09, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (Aaron J. Thornton, 2023 Aaron J. Thornton)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The we-fense mantra uttered by suspended head coach Jim Harbaugh ahead of the week two 35-7 thrashing of the UNLV Running Rebels came to fruition as the No. 2 ranked Michigan Wolverines had contributions on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball that helped them advance to 2-0 on the season.

Harbaugh, who served the second of his three-game suspension, told the media last week that the Wolverines weren’t an offensive team nor a defensive team, but instead, they were one unit, and he was correct as everyone who touched the field impacted the field in some form or fashion.


On offense, the Wolverines established a balanced attack as multiple players attributed to their 35 points scored Saturday (Sept. 9) at the Big House, including signal caller J.J. McCarthy.

McCarthy was prolific as he completed 22-25 for 278 yards and two touchdowns, completing 88% of his passes while also topping his career-high of 87% during week one against Eastern Carolina.

Like last week, McCarthy connected with his favorite target in wide receiver Roman Wilson, who caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

“J.J. is such a phenomenal player,” said second-half acting head coach Mike Hart. “He’s so prepared for games, and he knows where the ball needs to be on offense. So when you can do that as a quarterback, and you have all of the athletic ability and the arm that he has, then the sky is the limit.”

McCarthy has had a historic start to the season through two weeks of play, but he said he’s found his biggest strive by just getting the ball to his playmakers.

“Just getting the ball to my playmaker’s hands, like we treat every day like gameday this offseason, and these gamedays are just another day at the office, so I’m just trying to have as much fun as possible,” said McCarthy.

Wide receiver Cornelius Johnson had himself a day as he caught five receptions for 82 yards, tying his career high. But his most memorable play came with some trickeration as a slight of hands by McCarthy went for 26 yards.

Running back Blake Corum looked spry once again as he toted the rock 15 times for 80 yards and three touchdowns. Corum’s performance was his highest output since he scored five times in 2023 against the University of Connecticut Huskies.


The defense was stout as they only allowed 229 total yards to the UNLV offense, which includes 61 yards on the ground. They accumulated 10 tackles for loss, five sacks, and only three third-down conversions for the game.

Kenneth Grant, who is a 6′3, 339-pound sophomore defensive lineman, had a career day as he recorded 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

The Michigan defense allowed 10 points through two games, which is the fewest since 2003.

“We just come out here and play for coach (Jim) Harbaugh from all of the guys to all of the coaches,” Hart said. “We miss him, and guys came out here and played hard.”

Head Coach Scot Loeffler, Defensive Coordinator Steve Morrison, and Passing Game Coordinator Erik Campbell are coming back to the Big House for a reunion as Bowling Green will visit Michigan Stadium under the lights on Saturday (Sept. 16) at 7:30 p.m.

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.