COLLEGE GAME PREVIEW

CFB Preview: No. 22 BYU at Michigan

Sports Xchange

September 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm.

Sep 19, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Jeremy Clark (34) breaks up a pass to UNLV Rebels wide receiver Kendal Keys (84) in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 19, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Jeremy Clark (34) breaks up a pass to UNLV Rebels wide receiver Kendal Keys (84) in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET
GAMEDATE: 9/26/15
SITE: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: ABC
SERIES: BYU won the only meeting with Michigan, defeating the Wolverines 24-17 in the 1984 Holiday Bowl.
RANKINGS:BYU 22nd (tie)

KEYS TO THE GAME

BYU is heading on the road for the third time in four weeks as the Cougars head for Michigan’s Big House seeking to bounce back from their one-point loss at UCLA.

It will be just the second meeting between the two programs that between them have 706 victories between them — 356 for BYU, 350 for Michigan — over the last 40 years.

The first was memorable.

The Cougars beat the Wolverines 24-17 in the 1984 Holiday Bowl to finish a 13-0 season and be awarded the national championship via voting in the polls. Current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was on that Michigan team but missed most of the season with a broken arm.

Of course, for the players on both teams that pretty much is ancient history.

BYU is more concerned about recovering from the 24-23 loss to UCLA that saddled the Cougars with their first loss after two victories.

“We have respect at this point nationally,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “You have to keep earning it and you have keep playing well.

“So far, we’re an exciting team to watch. You can tune in right until the end to see what the outcome is going to be. Maybe Michigan will be another one of those games.”

Michigan, which lost at Utah to start Harbaugh’s first season, is hoping to get better play out of quarterback Jake Rudock. A graduate transfer from Iowa, Rudock has completed 64.8 percent of his passes but is averaging only 6.4 yards per attempt, and the longest completion has covered only 28 yards.

Harbaugh maintains he’s not concerned.

“We’re all working at it together,” Harbaugh said. “He’s throwing to 13 different receivers. The timing in the passing game, the detail, the precision that’s required, it takes time on task.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cougars

–QB Tanner Mangum has thrown a touchdown pass in every game he has played so far. The freshman has completed 54 of 86 passes (62.8 percent) for 664 yards and four touchdowns in taking over for the injured Taysom Hill.

–WR Mitch Mathews, who caught Mangum’s game-winning Hail Mary pass to beat Nebraska on the final play of the game, had nine catches for 84 yards in last week’s loss at UCLA. He has 17 receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

–S Kai Nacua had a 50-yard interception return to seal the 35-24 victory over Boise State in the second game of the season. He has four interceptions on the season to go with nine tackles and needs one more appearance to be eligible for listing in NCAA statistics in the category.

Wolverines

–QB Jake Rudock has been underwhelming in his first three Michigan outings since transferring from Iowa. He has passed for 582 yards and three touchdowns but has tossed five interceptions.

–RB Ty Isaac made his presence known against UNLV with a 76-yard touchdown run while gaining a career-best 114 yards on just eight carries. The USC transfer is averaging 8.1 yards per carry on just 18 rushes.

–S Jeremy Clark delivered his second interception of the season and has been playing solid in the back end. His interception against UNLV was spectacular and the type of play the defensive coaches have been waiting to see.

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