ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — Filled with more emotions than almost all of the football game he has played up until this point, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy put on a dazzling display of quarterback play that, if not for tragedy, one of his best friends would have had a front seat to watch.
McCarthy completed 22-of-25 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns while running back Blake Corum rushed for three scores as the No. 2 Wolverines rolled over UNLV 35-7 inside Michigan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Roman Wilson caught both scores from McCarthy as Michigan played its second of three games without head coach Jim Harbaugh due to a school-imposed suspension for NCAA violations..
Today’s game was supposed to match up McCarthy against his good friend, Ryan Keeler, a former defensive lineman at UNLV. Keeler died in February at 20 due to a heart ailment. McCarthy and Keeler were teammates during youth football and at Nazareth Academy High School in the Chicago suburb of La Grange Park.
Keeler wore No. 47 as a member of the Rebels, and McCarthy honored him by writing “47” in black marker on the top of his left hand. McCarthy’s second touchdown pass of the game was a 47-yard score to Wilson early in the third quarter.
“This whole week has been super emotional because that’s been my guy since day one,” McCarthy said. “That 47-yard touchdown was something that you just can’t make up. It was unbelievable.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.