Michigan 35, Oregon State 7 Comment Count

Ace September 12th, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

The English language often comes up short in describing certain difficult-to-describe feelings. To capture the collective sentiment of Michigan fans after this game, I need to reference a story about bat flips in Korea:

You probably didn't know the term shiwonhada, but you knew the feeling this afternoon, whether it came over you after the wild sequence to end the first half or when Michigan imposed their will on Oregon State in the second. Every successful De'Veon Smith power run went down easy; every three-and-out met with a content "ahhhhhh."

Early on, another adopted word came to mind: schadenfreude, as rival fans watched with glee while Oregon State ripped off 136 first-quarter yards and Michigan couldn't get much going.

Then the offensive line started ripping open holes the likes of which Michigan hasn't seen against a Power 5 opponent in years. De'Veon Smith hit those holes and then hit the back seven even harder, finishing with a punishing 126 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries while establishing himself as this team's lead back. The passing game barely needed to exist.

Asked about his thoughts during the game, Smith said, "I want the ball more. Give me the ball more." He got stronger as the game went on, as did the offensive line. While Oregon State's defensive front isn't as good as Utah's, there's no question the team got better this week, and it was most apparent in the run game.

Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Or, possibly, the defense, which ceded two—two!—yards in the final three quarters.

"The mindset is score points on offense, stop them on defense," said Chris Wormley, who looked unblockable on his way to three TFLs and a sack. Wormley and Co. held up their end of that simple bargain. After having trouble with dual-threat freshman Seth Collins in the first quarter, they adjusted and dominated, generating constant pressure and eventually forcing an ill-fated switch to backup QB Marcus McMaryion, who could do no better.

To add to the good feelings, the game turned on a special teams play—in favor of Michigan. The Wolverines looked all set to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room when the Beavers appeared to pin them on their own two-yard line with 1:29 left in the half; Michigan was down to a lone timeout after burning one before the play to prevent an illegal substition penalty. The officials flagged OSU for an illegal formation, however, and on the re-kick the snap cleared the punter's head and bounced all the way down to OSU's three—a 95-yard flip in field position.

Three plays later, Smith rumbled off tackle to the right, and Michigan went into the locker room up 17-7. OSU's second-half drives went for four, three, three, three, and three plays, all ending in punts. Michigan's final drive of consequence nearly matched OSU's entire second-half play count, covering 73 yards in 14 plays—all but one of them runs, culminating in a two-yard score for Derrick Green.

The concerns after this game are minor. Jake Rudock didn't have a great outing, losing a fumble when the line didn't adjust to an overload blitz and a rusher came free and throwing a pick when he stared down Jake Butt, but he was otherwise steady and had a couple potential big plays taken away by either missed calls or poor adjustments by the receivers. Jourdan Lewis left the game with an apparent head injury following a hard fall after a great pass breakup and spent the second half in street clothes. While any long-term absence for him would be hard to handle, Michigan should be able to deal if he can't go against UNLV next weekend.

"I'm glad we won the football game. The happiest thing would be that," said Jim Harbaugh after his triumphant debut coaching at Michigan Stadium.

With Harbaugh stalking the sideline in front of a packed Big House, the maize on the home jerseys back to maize, running backs powering through downfield tackles, and the defense ruthlessly battering their opponent into submission, it was impossible to take in this game and not feel that—for the moment, at least—all is well, and the future is bright.

Shiwonhada. I can get used to this.



September 12th, 2015 at 5:48 PM ^

I hadn't seen the team play that way, safely dominating, in years. Oregon St. is a very young team and that was a big factor in us imposing our will upon them, but it was like we'd taken a video from a game of the past. I'm not going to suggest we'll beat MSU or OSU this year but Coach Harbaugh has turned this team around in a hurry. I'll be fanboy enough to say that if Coach Harbaugh stays we are going to win a National Championship in the not so distant future.


September 12th, 2015 at 4:15 PM ^

That long snap was one of the more amazing things I've ever seen watching football. It was a good six or seven feet over the punter's head and in all the ball traveled nearly fifty yards. 


September 12th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

That snap completely changed the game although what the defense did upon further review especially in that second half was absolutely incredible regardless of opponent.

It was a boring game in some ways. That's not such, if at all, a bad thing. It would/will? be nice to continue to pound on overmatched opponents and stay in games like Utah where the opponent is favored.

A very nice victory. On to UNLV and beyond.


September 12th, 2015 at 6:15 PM ^

If the punter were to kick it, it's a penalty for illegal kicking -- 15 yards (or half the distance, in this case) and loss of down.  Michigan would have had the option to take the safety or the ball at the 1 1/2 yard line.

However, it is legal to bat the ball backwards (with any part of the body besides the leg or foot).  So, the proper play in that instance is likely to bat it out of the end zone.


September 12th, 2015 at 9:35 PM ^

NO- Bolden's fumble recovery deep in our own end following Rudock's fumble COMPLETELY changed the game. The crazy field position switch on the punts definitely exacerbated an already inexorable momentum swing in our direction.

Honestly, if not for the questionable PF on the punt that caused JH to go ballistic, the punt thing would've never even happened. We were already dominating...

oriental andrew

September 12th, 2015 at 6:24 PM ^

Being Korean, I'm very familiar with this term and concept. My wife and I said that very thing after the landscapers had removed all the overgrown brush and some large bushes by our driveway. It was wide open, clean, and 시원해 (or shi-won-hae).

This game was like that.



September 12th, 2015 at 6:24 PM ^

the difference is night and day between what Coach Rod or Coach Hoke were able to put on the field, and that's no slight to either one of them; Coach Harbaugh can out coach either one of them.

This team is going to be very good by the end of the year. The guys know the fundamentals, they know the plays, they are well coached. Really, is there any one of us who doesn't feel we're going to win next two weeks, just like we used to 10 years or so ago?


September 12th, 2015 at 5:08 PM ^

Yeah, Oregaon State was bad.  They had only 2 returning starters on D and QB's who were only true freshman.  So let's not get ahead of ourselves.  We looked great against App State last year too and we saw what happened after that.

But still . . . it felt good to take care of business against a P5 team we should beat  That has not happened with much regularity lately.



September 12th, 2015 at 5:17 PM ^

Neither was Akron. This time we got it done the way we should have though.

This doesn't mean anything for the future, I don't expect the run game to be this good beyond UNLV. But when they should have done it they did.

I will take that for now. It felt great just to start pounding and ball controlling again, even if it was against a down defense. It's been awhile since we could even do that.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 12th, 2015 at 4:35 PM ^

Honestly, his performances thus far are unacceptable. If his name was Gardner or Morris this blog would crucify him. Today was all about D, OL and Smith.

He's had nearly the same amount of playing time in his Michigan career as Morris after today. They both have 5 turnovers playing for Michigan.

Rudock just isn't the guy we thought he was going to be.


September 12th, 2015 at 4:41 PM ^

The fumble is a tough one. He's trying to tuck it away and wasn't being reckless with the ball. It's just one of those things that happens when an unblocked blitzed comes through. Fumbles can be fluky and that was one of them. The pick was a bad throw and that is an issue but this blog gave Gardner a ton of slack for his turnovers. I'm referring to the writers not the posters. But Gardner fumbled a lot by being reckless with the ball and that wasn't the case with Ruddock.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 12th, 2015 at 5:21 PM ^

Comfortable? He's a 5th year Grad transfer.

We all thought last weeks 3 TOs were an aberration against a solid team in Utah. 2 more TOs versus Oregon State (one of the worst teams on our schedule) should be a major concern.

Don't get me wrong. I am definitely pleased with the teams performance today but QB is a major concern moving forward.

LV Sports Bettor

September 12th, 2015 at 5:56 PM ^

if you asked Harbaugh he'd say the same thing too.

2 of the 3 turnovers last week weren't his fault. Plus you can't realistically expect a quarterback to go on the road into a top 25 program and play perfect football. It be nice if it happened but it's not expected either. Add in the fact the Michigan run game was completely awful as it didn't have a single carry more than 7 yards last game. Today a blitzing linebacker comes in untouched and causes a fumble, again that's not his fault.

In fact I think he played very well today. I don't think people realize how good of a job he did with reads in this game. He spread the ball around to 9 different guys in the game.

Nobody said this guy is the next Andrew Luck but the fact is we should all be very thankful that he chose to come to Michigan this year as this team would be in big trouble without him. 



September 13th, 2015 at 10:28 AM ^

Rudock's case is unusual in that he plays quite well except for about 12 sesonds a game.  Then he's a disaster.  

Devin, once we broke him, could never hit a third and 10 under pressure.  Rudock will hit all of them beautifully except for that one where he will throw it straight to the defender.

If you can fix that one thing, he's a very good QB for this offense.  With post-broken Devin, there was no one thing you could fix.