Saturday, September 12, 2015

De'Veon Smith shines in Michigan's first win of the season

                                  Photo Credit: Geno Green

On a cool, crisp and fall-like Saturday afternoon in front of a rabid 109,651 fans at Michigan Stadium, Jim Harbaugh's home debut completed its fairytale ending with a 35-7 win over Oregon State (1-1), but it was De’Veon Smith who stole the show for Michigan (1-1).

Smith had a career day with a workman-like 23 rushes for 126 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion reception from Jake Rudock.

“They [the offensive line] did a great job run-blocking and pass-blocking,” Smith said. “I felt like the offense wore the defense down. We started attacking them and they broke down.”

Even in victory, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh knows the process must be embraced before the game.

“A good part of winning a game is what you do during the week,” Harbaugh said.

The quarterback comparison turned out to be night and day as Seth Collins finished 9 of 16 for 79 yards and a touchdown, while Rudock shrugged off a slow start and went 18 of 26 passing for 180 yards and an interception.

Game Recap:

Oregon State opened up the scoring as quarterback Seth Collins found wide receiver Hunter Jarmon in the corner for a 21-yard touchdown reception and put the ball where no Michigan defender could deflect it.

Both teams would exchange fumbles on their next possessions as Oregon State’s Rommel Mageo went untouched up the middle and sacked Rudock and recovered the fumble in sync.

Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden was in the right place at the right time as he recovered Oregon State wide receiver Victor Bolden’s fumble in mid-air for 18 yards and led to Michigan’s first points of the game as placekicker Kenny Allen booted a 39-yard FG inside the left hash mark with 8:20 left.

Michigan’s offense began to break out of hibernation around the five-minute mark of the second quarter as Harbaugh took a chance and went for it on 4th and 5 as Rudock found Smith in the slot for a 20-yard gain to the Oregon State 8-yard line.

Two plays later, Smith would pound the ball in from a yard out to give Michigan its first lead of the game at 10-7 with 4:03 left in the first half.

Michigan’s defense began to close Seth Collins’ running lanes, leading to more three and outs in the second quarter.

Oregon State’s problems multiplied after an illegal formation which nullified a punt that would have started U-M’s drive at its own 2.  Instead, the Beavers’ second punt attempt turned chaotic as the snap went over Nick Porebski’s head, leading to a 48-yard loss and the ball going back on downs to the Wolverines at the Oregon State 3-yard line.

Oregon State coach Gary Andersen believed that punting the ball would be the right thing.

“I thought it was a logical decision to make,” Andersen said. “I never thought of not punting, frankly.”

Michigan would capitalize as Smith rushed for his second touchdown of the half from a yard out to go into the locker room up 17-7.

The Wolverines started the second half with the ball on offense and Rudock methodically used tight ends Jake Butt and A.J. Williams for gains of 10 and 22 yards through the air to advance the ball and take up 5:35 as Kenny Allen converted a 20-yard FG to put the Wolverines ahead 20-7.

Down 13 and the pressure mounting to score, Andersen attempted to change things up by inserting Marcus McMaryion at quarterback and went three and out on the first drive with Chris Wormley ending things with a crushing sack on 3rd and 14 for a nine-yard loss, forcing the Beavers to punt.

De’Veon Smith scored from seven yards and caught the two-point conversion to put Michigan in the driver’s seat 28-7 and would not look back as a late added by Derrick Green from two yards out to score.

Game Notes:

Oregon State’s Storm Barrs-Woods could not get into any kind of rhythm as he did not see a lot of time and was held to 13 yards on three carries.

The rest of the Beavers rushing attack had no answer for the Wolverines’ defense with a combined 30 rushes on 46 yards.

After allowing the initial TD to Jarmon, Wormley and his defensive unit did not let up and held their ground.

“We came together as a defensive line and we said that we wouldn’t allow this to happen,” Wormley said.

Linebacker Joe Bolden led the U-M defense with seven tackles (4 solo).

Rommel Mageo proved to be the lone bright spot for the Beavers with eight tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.

The Wolverines had their way in the time of possession category over the Beavers 38:01 to 21:59.

Michigan moves to 5-0 all-time against Oregon State, including a 4-0 mark at Michigan Stadium.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams play Mountain West teams on Sept. 19 as Oregon State hosts San Jose State at 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks and Michigan continues the middle part of three straight home games as UNLV comes to town for a Noon kickoff.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy