Rapid Reaction: Michigan gets first win of Harbaugh era
Final: Michigan 35, Oregon State 7
Telling stat: 79 OSU yards on first drive, 59 after
Wow, that’s the experienced Michigan defense we’ve been hearing about all offseason. The Wolverines weren’t looking so hot when Seth Collins marched down the field and threw a touchdown pass on his first drive in the Big House. Then reality hit the true freshman quarterback…and the entire Michigan defense did, too. The matchup to watch coming into this one was Chris Wormley and his job on Collins. It was clear by day’s end that Wormley got the last laugh.
Key play: THE WORST PUNT OF EVER
One of the worst snaps you’ll ever see was also the key to Michigan getting some life. Instead of pinning the Wolverines back inside their own 10, Oregon State’s sailed snap gave the Wolverines the ball on Oregon State’s 3-yard line. That set up De’Veon Smith to do what he did all afternoon. But wow, that snap was beyond horrendous.
-De’Veon Smith was a man
So rumors surfaced that the Wolverines were going to put Ty Isaac in as the starter and Smith would be a change-of-pace back on Saturday. Um, about that. A career-high 126 yards and three touchdowns was impressive, but it was the way in which Smith got there that impressed me. The dude ran like he had something to prove. He didn’t care if there wasn’t holes. He made holes. Smith also had a big 20-yard catch on a fourth down play that set up his first touchdown of the day. If there was a running back controversy coming into Saturday, there won’t be one on Sunday.
-Jourdan Lewis left with a concussion
The Michigan cornerback was out for the second half after suffering a concussion in the first half. The junior cornerback had three tackles before he went out, and really wasn’t needed with how well the Wolverines contained Collins. If he were to miss next week, it would definitely be something to watch for against a more experienced quarterback.
What it means: Michigan might have an identity
For all the talk that the subpar quarterback got during the week — I’m guilty of this, too — the Wolverines did exactly what Jim Harbaugh wanted them to do. They played power football and dominated the Beavers at the line of scrimmage after that first drive. Jake Rudock didn’t have a touchdown pass and Jake Butt only had 25 receiving yards yet Michigan rolled in this one. That’s a good sign.
What’s next: vs. UNLV
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a comfortable Michigan victory. Last year’s opener, to be exact. Appalachian State, ironically enough, was the last team the Wolverines beat by four touchdowns. What do the Wolverines have a chance to do next week? Win two straight games and give the Wolverines the offensive confidence they’ve been desperate for in recent memory.