ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Four different Michigan players scored touchdowns in a workmanlike 28-7 win over UNLV at Michigan Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Junior Ty Isaac led the charge for a Michigan rushing attack that picked up 254 yards against the overmatched Rebels defense. Isaac (eight carries, 114 yards) broke a couple of tackles on his way to a 76-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that erased any remaining doubt that Michigan would leave with its second win of the season. It was the longest run by any Wolverine since Denard Robinson’s 79-yard touchdown against Air Force in September 2012. Isaac was a couple of shoestrings away from breaking another long run late in the third quarter.
De'Veon Smith, last week’s leading rusher, had the first eight carries of the game for the Wolverines and also caught a first-quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Rudock. Seniors Jehu Chesson and Sione Houma also scored rushing touchdowns.
Michigan’s defense held UNLV to 235 total yards and kept the Rebels from reaching the end zone until the fourth quarter. A busted coverage allowed Rebels receiver Devonte Boyd to get the ball in the red zone for the first time all afternoon with a little more than nine minutes remaining. Boyd scored on a well-thrown ball from quarterback Blake Decker two plays later. Decker’s health was a question mark heading into the game, but the senior played all but two series and contributed 117 total yards of offense.
What the win means for Michigan: For the first time in 365 days, Michigan has a winning record. The Wolverines weren’t challenged Saturday and looked sluggish at times on offense, but should get a better test for how far they’ve come in September when BYU visits the Big House next week.
What the loss means for UNLV: The Rebels drop to 0-3 under first-year coach Tony Sanchez. They do head back to Las Vegas with a $1 million check in hand, though, which is a much-needed win for the Rebels’ program.
Top play: One play after he was flagged for pass interference, Michigan’s Jeremy Clark redeemed himself with an acrobatic interception along the Wolverines sideline. Clark corralled the ball while falling on his back at the 32-yard line. The pick led to the team’s first score of the second half and put a little life into a crowd that was nodding off after a slow third quarter.
Stat of the game: Michigan's pass defense held UNLV to under 100 yards through the air until the final drive of Saturday's game, and more than half of that total came on one play. After holding Oregon State to one completion for zero yards in a win last week, the Wolverines' secondary played stingy again this week. Cornerbacks Jeremy Clark and Channing Stribling each had interceptions and Jourdan Lewis broke up four passes.