SALT LAKE CITY -- Terrance Cain passed for two touchdowns in his first start in almost a year and Shaky Smithson returned a punt 77 yards for a score as No. 20 Utah beat UNLV 38-10 on Saturday.
Eddie Wide ran for two touchdowns and the Utes won their 19th straight at home and their final Mountain West Conference opener before bolting for the Pac-10 next season.
Cain got the start as Utah (2-0, 1-0) didn't want to risk Jordan Wynn's sprained right thumb against the Rebels (0-2, 0-1), who have never won in Salt Lake City. Cain finished 13 for 20 for 207 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown pass to Smithson on the third play of the second half to put the Utes up 24-3.
Smithson added his second touchdown midway through the third with a dazzling return down the UNLV sideline as the Utes capitalized on a bad day for both punt teams.
Tim Hasson scored UNLV's only touchdown on a 19-yard return of a blocked punt in the third quarter.
Omar Clayton was 18 for 37 for 217 yards and Nolan Kohorst kicked a 28-yard field goal for the Rebels.
Cain was making his first start since last Oct. 31 against Wyoming, when he was pulled at halftime and Wynn took over the job and ended up keeping it.
Cain didn't appear at all rusty from the layoff, especially with quick touchdowns late in the second quarter and early in the third that allowed the Utes to pull away.
Cain threw one to Jereme Brooks from 20 yards out to put Utah up 17-3 at halftime, then found Smithson alone inside the 10 and Smithson easily scored 1:13 into the third period.
Smithson, who had two muffed returns in the season opener against Pittsburgh, scored again with 7:22 left in the third on an electrifying play that atoned for his mistakes the week before. After catching the punt at the 23-yard line, Smithson took one step forward and then stopped completely, taking a look as the UNLV defenders closed in on him. He ran first to his right, then reversed to his left and had a clear lane all the way down the sideline for the touchdown.
The Rebels' punt team cost them again with a snap that sailed several feet over punter Brendon Lamers' head. Lamers ran it down and managed to get off a kick while still on the run, but the ball went out of bounds at the 33 and the punt was a net loss of 20 yards.
Wide scored his second touchdown a few plays later on a 13-yard run that put Utah up 38-10.
Wide, who put Utah up 7-3 on a 4-yard run in the second quarter, made two great plays on the same punt to set up a touchdown. He knocked the ball free from returner Sidney Hodge, then sprang on the loose ball to set up the Utes at the UNLV 20-yard line. That led to Cain's TD pass to Brooks.