ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and No. 18 Michigan scored on offense and defense to build a four-touchdown lead by halftime in a 38-0 victory over No. 13 Northwestern on Saturday.
The Wolverines (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have won five straight since their opening loss at Utah under coach Jim Harbaugh, building momentum going into a showdown at home next week against No. 4 Michigan State.
The Wildcats (5-1, 1-1) were giving up a nation-low seven points a game and gave that up 13 seconds after kickoff. They allowed a season-high 21 points in the first quarter alone and struggled on offense, too.
Michigan has shut out three straight opponents for the first time since 1980.
The Wolverines scored TDs on a kickoff return, interception and offense for the first time since 1991 at Boston College, according to STATS.
With a homecoming crowd already fired up, Chesson kept them buzzing when he raced across the field and up the sideline untouched for a score that seemed to stun the Wildcats.
Michigan ran for scores on its first two possessions on Drake Johnson’s 1-yard plunge and Jake Rudock’s 2-yard scramble to make it 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Jourdan Lewis picked off a pass late in the second quarter and returned it 37 yards for a score.
Kenny Allen kicked a career-long 47-yard field goal to cap the Wolverines’ opening drive in the second half, giving them a 31-0 lead. Michigan padded the cushion with Derrick Green’s 4-yard TD run that ended a 12-play possession that took 7-plus minutes off the clock.
Michigan’s only setback was senior linebacker James Ross’ ejection for targeting. Ross, a key reserve, will have to sit out the first half next week against the Spartans.
Rudock passed a test against a highly touted defense, completing 17 of 23 passes for 179 yards without a turnover. De’Veon Smith had eight carries for 59 yards, after missing a game with an injured right ankle, and likely would’ve played more if the game was close. A.J. Williams had four receptions, doubling his previous career high, for 48 yards and six other Wolverines also caught passes.
Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson was 13 of 27 for 106 yards with an interception. Justin Jackson was held to a career-low 25 yards rushing on 12 carries for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats gave two other quarterbacks a chance to play, and none of them were able to do much against Michigan’s defense.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org