Michigan wins big behind stout defense

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Michigan running back De'Veon Smith leaps into the arms of teammate Jake Butt to celebrate Smith's touchdown in the first quarter. Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, right joins in the celebration.

Wolverines cruise to easy win over UNLV

Michigan jumped out to an early lead and let its defense do the rest en route to a 28-7 victory over winless UNLV.

The Wolverines were in control of this game in the trenches, and that was obvious from the start. They racked up more yards on the ground (254) than the Rebels did all day (235). UNLV netted 53 of those total yards on one play in the fourth quarter when tight end Devonte Boyd got behind the Michigan blitz and down to the 5 to set up his team's only score of the day.

Through the air for Michigan, Jake Rudock could have been better. He continued to throw the ball behind open receivers and finished 14-for-22 for 123 yards and an easy touchdown pass to De'Veon Smith in the first quarter.

Ty Isaac racked up 114 yards on the ground for the Wolverines, most of which came on a 76 yard touchdown in the second quarter.

All in all, Michigan is flexing its muscle on defense. It'll be interesting to see if they can slow down a high-powered BYU team next week. And if they can't, can the offense step up and get the job done?

UNLV gets on the board

Michigan blitzed and got burned by Devonte Boyd for a 53-yard gain down to the Michigan 5. Two plays later, Boyd was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Blake Decker for the Rebels' first points of the day.

That was, by far, UNLV's best possession of the day. Before the 53-yard gainer, Blake Decker had thrown for just 33 yards.

Michigan 28, UNLV 7 (4th, 9:15)

Michigan punches it in

It looked like the Wolverines had a six-yard touchdown pass from Jake Rudock to fullback Sione Houma on third down, but the play was called back when it was determined Houma was down at the half-yard line. It all worked out for Houma, however, as he scored his first career touchdown from a yard out on first and goal.

Michigan mixed the run and pass nicely for the first time today, and the play-calling worked to Rudock's strengths with short passes in the middle of the field. The quarterback was 4-for-4 on the drive for 34 yards.

Michigan 28, UNLV 0 (4th, 11:31)

It's Clark with the INT for Michigan

One play after a pass interference penalty was called, Jeremy Clark picked off Blake Decker as the UNLV quarterback tried to push the ball down the field.

It's becoming pretty obvious that the Rebels are just incapable of moving the ball or sustaining any kind of momentum against this opportunistic Wolverines defense. The revolving door at quarterback for UNLV is indicative of that. They've managed just 111 yards of offense through three quarters.

Michigan 21, UNLV 0 (End 3rd)

New QB for UNLV

Kurt Palandech came in the game at quarterback for UNLV and threw for more yards (22) on his first two completions than the Rebels had all game up to that point (20). Palandech helped his team pick up two first downs and take its first snap of the day on the Michigan side of the 50, but that was as good as it got. Taco Charlton sacked the backup quarterback on second down to set up 3rd-and-14, and a quick pass to the outside had no chance of success. Michigan gets the ball back after the punt and takes over at its own 20.

Michigan 21, UNLV 0 (3rd, 4:19)

Smith gets stuffed on short-yardage runs

De'Veon Smith had two chances to get one yard at the UNLV 36, but the Rebel's defensive line manned up and stuffed the Wolverines at the line of scrimmage to get the ball back to its offense.

A little self-satisfaction could be setting in for the Wolverines right now. They need to wake up and put their foot on the gas.

Michigan 21, UNLV 0 (3rd, 7:22)

Passing game struggles continue

Jake Rudock had a seemingly easy swing pass to complete to a wide open Drake Johnson, be his struggles with accuracy continued on third down as he threw behind the running back and Michigan was forced to punt.

Johnson had plenty of green grass in front of him, but Rudock just wasn't able to get it to him. It's somewhat surprising that Shane Morris hasn't been given a chance to play in this offense, as Rudock has not shown any progress over the first three games.

It's still Michigan 21, UNLV 0 early in the third quarter.

Wolverines take big lead into the half

Michigan was forced to punt from midfield with just under two minutes to play before halftime, and the defense did its job by forcing the Rebels to go three-and-out, sending the teams to halftime with the score still 21-0 in favor of the maize and blue.

The Wolverines are dominating in the trenches, outgaining UNLV 171 to 73 on the ground. The Rebels really don't have an answer for a much more physical Michigan team.

One note of concern is Jake Rudock (6-for-11, 62 yards), who still hasn't shown much progress. He threw his fifth interception of the season in the first half. It would be nice to see the offense get in somewhat of a rhythm through the air for at least one possession before running the clock down with the ground and pound.

Isaac gets first touchdown at UM

Ty Isaac let his blocks set up in front of him, showing great patience, then he threw out a stiff arm before breaking down the sideline for a 76-yard touchdown to put Michigan up 21-0 with 7:50 left to play in the second quarter.

It's nice to see a little shiftiness out of the Wolverines backfield. De'Veon Smith is a hard, tough runner, but he is all north and south. The Wolverines need a guy who can be a threat on the outside, and Isaac showed that ability on that play. The score was the first for Isaac, who is a transfer from USC.

UNLV picks off Rudock

Jake Rudock continues to struggle throwing the ball, and on the first play following a UNLV punt, Rudock threw his fifth interception of the season.

Luckily for Rudock, his defense is dominating. They forced another three-and-out, and Michigan will take over at its own 10.

Things are definitely shaky at the quarterback spot for Michigan right now. Rudock has not been accurate at all, and even the simple throws look ugly at times.

Chesson shows up Darboh as Michigan jumps out to 14-0 lead

After a reverse to Amara Darboh around the right end went for just four yards, Michigan tried one around the left end with Jehu Chesson, and that proved to be the winning formula as Chesson went 36 yards for the score to put Michigan up 14-0 with 13:56 to play before halftime.

The drive went five plays and 56 yards with Jake Rudock finding Joe Kerridge for a seven yard gain on 3rd-and-1 two plays before the Chesson score.

Michigan in control of field position battle

Michigan and UNLV traded punts, and the Wolverines got the better of the early field position battle, pinning the Rebels down at their own 3.

Keith Whitely continues to run hard for UNLV, picking up 12 yards on 3rd-and-2 to get the Rebels out of the shadow of their own goal line. Whitely has eight carries for 23 yards in the early going, but he didn't touch the ball on the next three plays, and UNLV gained just one yard before punting the ball back to the Wolverines, who will start at their own 44.

Wolverines score off turnover, lead 7-0

Expect a lot of De'Veon Smith in the first half. The junior running back carried the ball four times and caught a touchdown pass out of the backfield on third down to put Michigan up 7-0 early in the first quarter.

Smith carried the ball on the first three plays, netting 12 yards and a first down at the UNLV 20. After a Jake Rudock completion to Amara Darboh set the Wolverines up inside the 10, Smith carried the ball down to the 5 before Rudock missed a wide open Jake Butt on second down.

The Wolverines are obviously the better team in the early going. Rudock missing the wide open throw to Butt is troublesome, however.

Michigan picks off UNLV on first possession

Blake Decker pulled off a bit of magic on the first possession and picked up a first down, but on the very next play he was intercepted by Channing Stribling, who returned the ball down to the UNLV 32.

The Wolverines defensive line stuffed two running plays before Decker, who appeared to be sacked by Matt Godin on third down, spun up off the ground and picked up 16 yards after it was determined that his knee never touched the ground.

No harm, no foul, though, as Michigan put that play in the back of their minds quickly with the Stribling pick.

Harbaugh's crew ready to roll against UNLV

Michigan will look to build on a strong performance against Oregon State last week today when they take on UNLV.

The defense and offense got on the same page in Jim Harbaugh's home debut, and today should provide an opportunity for this team to fine tune some things before a showdown at the Big House with a very good BYU team next week.

Jake Rudock needs to take care of the ball better, as he's already thrown four interceptions in the team's first two games. An interception-free performance mixed in with better accuracy on throws over 15 yards will do a lot to alleviate worries about what kind of season Rudock is in for as the schedule starts to ramp up.

De'Veon Smith looked like the real deal last week, rushing for 126 yards and three touchdowns. If he and the offensive line can once again dominate against a lesser opponent, it should do a lot for their confidence going forward.

UNLV comes into this game 0-2 with losses to Northern Illinois and UNLV.