The Michigan football team cruised to its second win of the season Saturday, downing UNLV, 28-7. For the most part, it was a boring affair.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh ran his usual ground-and-pound offense, wearing down the Rebels and the clock in a game that went by fast but felt slow.
The Daily looks at the good, bad and ugly from the Wolverines’ win.
Explosive runs worked for the Wolverines on Saturday.
Up 7-0 in the first, redshirt junior receiver Jehu Chesson took a jet sweep 36 yards for a score. Then junior running back Ty Isaac broke a 76-yard touchdown along the left sideline on a play that Harbaugh initially thought would result in a tackle for loss. Fortunately for Harbaugh and Isaac, fifth-year senior center Graham Glasgow got out ahead and plowed the way for Michigan’s longest rush since 2012.
Redshirt junior running back Drake Johnson carried five times for 28 yards on the day, an encouraging sight for a player coming off his second anterior cruciate ligimant tear last November.
On defense, the Wolverines had two interceptions, winning the turnover battle for just the second time in their last 16 games. Redshirt junior Jeremy Clark picked off his second pass of the season at the end of the third quarter, and junior cornerback Channing Stribling snatched the first pick of his career.
After leaving last week’s game with a concussion, junior cornerback Jourdan Lewis broke up four passes, giving him six on the season to match his 2014 total.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Rudock looked underwhelming, at best, against the Rebels.
Rudock totaled just 123 yards on 14-of-22 passing to go with a touchdown pass and an interception, and neither the touchdown nor the interception was particularly consequential. The score was a dump off to De’Veon Smith, who did most of the work, and the interception came when the game was out of hand.
Harbaugh said after the game he was happy with the timing between Rudock and his receivers, but on multiple occasions, it seemed out of sync. In the third quarter, Drake Johnson was wide open in the flat with an entire field in front of him. But the pass went behind Johnson, squandering the Wolverines’ chance for a big gain.
The wind swirling through the stadium during the game could help explain it, but Rudock missed other receivers throughout the day, too.
Rudock was billed as a steady option at quarterback, not winning games on his own but not losing them, either. But so far, he hasn’t exactly been the picture of consistency.
Through three games, Rudock has as many interceptions — five — as he did all of last season. His Total QBR, a stat created by ESPN to measure quarterback performance, is 36.9, a stark drop-off from the 70.5 mark he posted last year.
Has anyone ever called fashion model-turned-punter Blake O’Neill ugly?
Admittedly, the fifth-year senior who transferred to Michigan from Weber State this year has been every bit as good as expected. But there wasn’t anything truly ugly about yesterday’s game for Michigan, and O’Neill did make one bad play. So his 17-yard shanked punt has to take the fall.
The rest of the day, O’Neill was phenomenal, hammering one 59-yard punt and downing another at the three-yard line.