UNLV defense not overmatched

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan’s press defense against UNLV’s wide receivers made it difficult for the Rebels to get open.

But it’s not as if UNLV’s defense let the Wolverines roam free, either. At least not after Michigan’s opening drive, which produced a touchdown.

After that, the Rebels’ defensive backs made plenty of plays in a 28-7 loss at “The Big House” on Saturday.

The numbers bore that out. Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock completed 14 of 22 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.

UNLV received help from more than its secondary. The defensive front contributed to an effort that limited the Wolverines to 377 yards after allowing the first two opponents to each gain more than 500.

It was the lowest total allowed by UNLV’s defense since New Mexico gained 306 yards on Nov. 1 of last season.

“I feel like we played against a great offensive line, and we held our own,” UNLV defensive tackle Mike Hughes Jr. said. “We made a few plays. I wish we could’ve tackled.”

* THE O HAD TO GO — UNLV’s offense didn’t experience nearly the same success, totaling 235 yards. The Rebels at least dodged the shutout on Blake Decker’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Devonte Boyd with 9:17 to play.

“I knew the cornerback was blitzing, and I knew I was going to have one-on-one with the safety,” Boyd said.

Boyd made the play.

“It was huge,” Decker said. “We played poorly in the first half. A lot of that was on me. A lot of that was because we weren’t executing the way we were supposed to. I think it was a good called first half (by the coaches). We needed that. We needed to get in the end zone.

“We knew we could score points on them.”

That score ended a seven-quarter touchdown drought by the Rebels. It also halted Michigan’s shutout streak of six periods.

“They really wanted a shutout,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said of his players. “They were really going for it. They played fantastic football and darn near got the shutout. UNLV had a vote in that. They made a couple of outstanding plays in that drive. They’ve got a good football team. They’re going to win some games, maybe a lot of games.”

* BIG PARTY — A crowd of 108,683 showed up for this game, the largest ever to see the Rebels play. In 2004 they played in front of 108,625 at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.

Large crowds are the norm at Michigan Stadium. This was the 260th consecutive game there to draw six figures.

* ODDS AND ENDS — UNLV dropped to 0-10 in the Eastern time zone. … Boyd has caught at least two passes in all 16 career games. … UNLV cornerback Tim Hough broke up a third-down pass in the fourth quarter on the Wolverines’ final drive, which ended on downs a play later. Hough went to Detroit’s Redford High School before transferring to Desert Pines in Las Vegas.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him: @markanderson65

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