|Amber Ainsworth/Michigan Journal|
A win. A proper win. A big, boring, Harbaugh-swearing, foot stomping win.
What was more important than the numbers on the scorecard was the feeling we all had leaving the stadium or turning off the tube yesterday afternoon after Michigan's dominating 35-7 performance over the Oregon State Beavers.VIDEO: Jim Harbaugh's full tirade pic.twitter.com/Ts2OhqgM0z— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) September 12, 2015
For the first time in...well, I can't even remember how long, Michigan showed it's will against a relatively talented, albeit young Power-5 school. Michigan simply wore down the Beavers. After a slow start, Michigan just ground Oregon State down into a fine powder with 48 rushing attempts – most of which happened between the tackles.
After the Utah game, which saw 43 pass attempts and only 29 rushes...yesterday's flip of the offensive gameplan was not only a welcome sight, and reassuring to Michigan fans everywhere that Jim Harbaugh is ready to bring his power offense to Michigan.
The initial Oregon State drive that resulted in 7 points and 79 yards of offense for the Beavers had an all-too-familiar feeling to it. Michigan was gashed for big play after big play. And when freshman QB Seth Collins found Hunter Jarmon for a 21 yard touchdown, the groans were starting to swell throughout the Big House.
But Oregon State would not reach the endzone again. Nor would they eclipse that total yardage mark for the rest of the day. They tallied 79 yards on their first drive, and 59 on all the rest of their drives combined. In fact, 4 of Oregon State's 12 drives of the day would end with negative yards. Five of them were 3 and outs. In the 2nd half alone, OSU (not that OSU) was outgained by Michigan 272 to 4.
Leading the charge for Michigan's defense was Chris Wormley. Against Utah, Wormley tallied 3 tackles for loss. He added 3 more yesterday...including 6 tackles (4 solo) and 1 sack. But his real contribution was being a disruptor. He was in Oregon State's backfield all afternoon, forcing runners backwards or to the inside/outside where more Michigan defenders were waiting.
After a first quarter where Michigan gave up 136 yards of offense, the next 3 quarters Michigan gave up respectively -2, 2, 2 yards of offense to Oregon State. Michigan also held OSU to 1 of 11 on 3rd downs.
Meanwhile the offense which struggled to get to 48 yards of offense in the 1Q and looked out of sorts completely, sprung to life during the second. A 12-play 7+ minute drive in the 2Q which put Michigan ahead 10-7 was a major lift for this offense. Then, on the ensuing OSU drive, the Beavers punted Michigan down to their own 2 yardline only to have that punt called back for a penalty...the ensuing punt was less fortunate for the Beavers. The snap sailed over punter Nick Porebski's head...rolling all the way down to inside the OSU 5. Effectively a 95-yard penalty.
The Beavers never recovered.
Michigan went on to score again right before the half to make the score 17-7...and then poured it on in the 2nd half. In the post-game presser, DeVeon Smith said one of his goals is to get stronger as the game goes on...to make the 4th quarter his best quarter. He did that yesterday, and the rest of the team followed suit.
For me, the highlight of the day was Michigan's last scoring drive to go up 35-7. This drive was a thing of beauty. 14 plays (13 runs and 1 pass), 73 yards and it chewed up 7:31 of the final quarter in pure dominating fashion. Michigan ran 9-consecutive runs right up the middle, all which gained yards. And then on 3rd and 6 on the OSU 29, Rudock hit TE Ian Bunting for 12 yards and fresh set of downs. 4 plays later Derrick Green smashed through for a 2-yard score capping, for me, one of the most satisfying drives I've seen out of this program in ages.
The stadium felt electric yesterday. Despite the funky weather, there was an energy not felt on the corner of State and Main since perhaps Hoke's first season. I think fans' expectations might've been tempered a bit with the loss to Utah, but that didn't keep anyone away for this one.
The helmet stickers rock. I don't care if you like em or not, I love em. I think the players like em too. They're old school like the rest of Michigan's uniform and, I guess with Harbaugh back it just feels right to see them back on the winged-helmet.
The uniforms looked better. I love the darker maize and the blue seems shaded lower as well. I haven't watched the broadcast yet, so I'm eager to see how the colors look on TV. But from the box, the maize pants are sharp. Now, we just need to get the block-M on the field, the "Michigan" in each endzone and everyone's clothes and pom-poms to match. We'll get there. It's a process, but one I'm glad is starting.
Yes, it was a good day to be a Michigan Wolverine yesterday. Michigan got a much needed win and set themselves up for a possible little winning-streak here leading up to Michigan State on October 17th. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. UNLV is in 6 days.