Story by Josh Newkirk
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- What was supposed to be an even match up at the Big House Satturday turned out to be anything but, as Michigan dominated No. 22 BYU 31-0. The recipe for the decisive victory featured big plays on offense and the most suffocating defensive effort in years.
Michigan (3-1) dominated throughout, out-gaining BYU 448 to 105. The Wolverines held BYU to only eight first downs in the shutout win. It was the first time BYU has been held scoreless in 143 games.
“Great to be part of a shutout,” said Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. "The defensive staff... D.J Durkin and the guys did a great job... the players... everybody. We only gave up 105 yards. I don't think I've ever been a part of one of those. It was outstanding in so many areas. In all aspects it was a great defensive ball game.
Rudock had his best game in a Michigan uniform yet, passing for 194 yards, completing 14-of-25 passes with two touchdowns running and throwing.
“I think it all comes down to being comfortable with the calls,” Rudock said.
"I thought he was having fun. I thought he was letting it rip. He got two big scores scrambling and running the football. Great block by Jehu Chesson on his second touchdown. We had some good, consistent drives even in the second half. I thought the offense did a heck of a job controlling and possessing the football. (There was) an 11 play drive and a 12 play drive. We scored on the first five possessions. We came out strong. There some really creative plays. Tim Drevno and Jedd Fisch really diagrammed some good plays this week and the fellas did a good job executing them. (There were ) a lot of good things. A good team victory."
After both teams traded punts U-M’s second drive set the tone for the afternoon. The Wolverines went 80 yards in 10 plays. Rudock capped things off with a three-yard run. That, however, wasn't the show-stopping play on the drive. That distinction went to Amara Darboh’s 21-yard one-handed reception. The highlight reel play drew comparisons to the epic grab turned in by New York Giants star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. last year.
“That was a great play by him,” Rudock said. “Darboh had man coverage, figured I would give him shot.”
"That was great (catch)," added Harbaugh. "And that got us going. That was a timely, timely play he made."
Michigan followed that up with another 10 play drive, this time covering 90-yards. Rudock connected with Darboh on four yard touchdown pass to put the Wolverines up 14-0.
From there the home team just kept pouring it on.
De'Veon stepped up with the Wolverines' biggest play of the day on the third scoring drive. The bruising tailback emerged from a pile at the line of scrimmage and rumbled 60 yards and plowing over defenders en route to the end zone.
“I was really just determined not to go down,” said Smith, who would finish with 116 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown. It’s his second 100-yard performance this season.
“The running lanes are getting bigger, bigger and better,” said Smith, praising his offense line afterward.
BYU (2-2) had no answers for Michigan all afternoon. Heralded Cougar signal caller Tanner Mangum couldn't summon the heroics he showed while Nebraska and Boise State. Michigan pass rush and tight coverage in the secondary stymied him to the tune of 12-of-28 passes for just 55 yards.
Rudock, meanwhile, found success by scrambling when he couldn't find ope receivers. The fifth-year senior score his second TD run on a 17 yard run with 6:57 left in the first half. Kenny Allen later added add a 40-yard field goal with 1:02 left to give the Wolverines five straight scoring drives.
Michigan out-gained BYU 317 yards to 62 at the half. U-M had 15 first downs to BYU’s 4. U-M’s 185 yards on the ground in the first half, was the most its had since 2011.
“We go back to work now," Harbaugh said. "Big conference game this week."
Michigan opens up Big Ten play at Maryland next Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.