Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Geno's Five Non-Conference Games To Watch For- No. 5: Oregon State at Michigan

                                     Photo Credit: Geno Green

The non-conference college football season delivers some of the best match-ups fans crave for and this upcoming season continues to be no different.

Here are the first of five games that might play a key factor into who will finish in the top four of the season-ending College Football Playoff rankings in December:

5) Oregon State at Michigan, Sept. 12, Noon ET, ABC

For the second time in as many seasons, Michigan will host a Pac-12 team at Michigan Stadium, but this time around, there will be more eyeballs glued to the television.

No, not because of first-year Beavers coach Gary Andersen, who spent the previous two seasons at fellow Big Ten school Wisconsin, but because of Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, who started at quarterback for Michigan from 1983-86, will make his home debut at the Big House and has a chip on his back to prove that all of the hard work in the off-season will pay off in front of a national television audience. 

While Michigan wrestles with who the starting quarterback will be between Shane Morris and graduate transfer Jake Rudock, Oregon State must find a replacement under center after Sean Mannion graduated last season. True freshman Seth Collins looks to be the frontrunner to take over as OSU's starting quarterback.

Did You Know?

Oregon State won its previous non-conference regular-season meeting against a power-five school back on Sept. 8, 2012 defeating Wisconsin 10-7, while you have to go back to Sept. 2, 2006 for Michigan's last victory against a school from a major conference in Vanderbilt (27-7).

All-Time Series History:

Michigan leads the overall series 4-0 against Oregon State with the last meeting on Sept. 20, 1986 at Michigan Stadium (31-12 U-M win).

In an interesting twist of fate, Harbaugh started at quarterback and led the Wolverines to victory.

Players To Watch For: 

Oregon State senior running back Storm Woods:

Storm Woods led Oregon State in rushing last season with 766 yards and caught 26 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. Three of Woods' six career 100-yard rushing games came in 2014.

Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Villamin:

Of the returning starters for the Beavers, Villamin could make the biggest impact.

As a freshman, Villamin led the team in touchdown receptions with six and finished second in catches (35) and yards (578).

Michigan Fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Rudock:

Although locked in a quarterback competition with Shane Morris for the starting job, Jake Rudock showed in his time at Iowa that he can lead a Big Ten team under center.

Rudock threw for 2,436 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for the Hawkeyes and finished second in the conference in completion percentage (61.7 percent).

Senior linebacker Joe Bolden:

With the departure of Jake Ryan, expect Joe Bolden to step in and anchor the Wolverines' defensive unit.

Bolden finished second last season in total tackles with 102, along with two sacks and is the returning defensive player who started all 12 games.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.