In early October of 2014, NFL-bound Devin Funchess said "Wins and losses are just a statistic," after three consecutive losses to Utah, Minnesota and Rutgers put the Wolverines at 2-4.
Those days are long gone for the Michigan football team. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who was both the defensive and special teams player of the game, was still upset on Monday about allowing UNLV’s fourth-quarter touchdown.
"We wanted that shutout," Lewis said. "(UNLV) wasn’t supposed to score, we weren’t supposed to let them score. We let up seven points. That’s the biggest statistic we’re supposed to fix. There weren't supposed to be points on that board."
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was quick to praise his defense’s effort and consistency in the secondary, including cornerbacks Lewis, Jeremy Clark and Channing Stribling.
"We’re better in the secondary with getting our hands on the ball," Harbaugh said. "Jourdan Lewis was our player of the game defensively and for pass breakups. He defended the deep ball well. Clark got an interception, Stribling got an interception."
He also noted linebacker James Ross’ big role and other improvements on the line.
"(Ross) played very physically," Harbaugh said. "Two in particular were big hits. If you looked at our defense, they’re improving, bigger hits, bigger presence on the defensive side when they arrive at the ball and make contact."
This Saturday, No. 22 Brigham Young University will come to Ann Arbor. It will be the second top-25 ranked team the Wolverines have seen, and the defense will need to stay consistent in order to compete.
"(BYU) has good receivers — big receivers — and a good quarterback," Harbaugh said. "Big physical team on both sides of the ball. They play extremely hard. I’m very excited about the competition this week and what’s in store. Should be a great gauge of where our team is at."
Lewis is excited about the matchup as well, staying confident in his ability.
"Small receiver, large receiver, it’s all the same to me," Lewis said. "I just need to use my technique."
Harbaugh wouldn’t budge when asked about what quarterback Jake Rudock needs to improve on, but mentioned that he’s the starting quarterback for a reason and it takes time on task to learn the timing of the passing game.
"Be clear, Jake Rudock is the best quarterback, and not by a small margin," Harbaugh said. "He’s our best quarterback."