ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- De’Veon Smith rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on just 23 carries Saturday, as Michigan defeated Oregon State 35-7, giving Jim Harbaugh his first win as the Wolverines' head coach.
Smith's third career 100-yard rushing game was highlighted by his last score during which he cut right and over two OSU defenders on his way to the end zone for a 7-yard TD. He would cap off the drive with a 2-point conversion reception.
“Shout out to my offensive line. They did a great today. They opened up some huge holes ” Smith said. “I felt like the offense wore the defense down a lot. We started grounding and pounding it.”
Michigan (1-1) ran for 225 yards overall and outgained Oregon State (1-1) 405 yards to 138. The Wolverines outgained OSU 272-5 in the second half.
"Great team win," Harbaugh said afterward. "Very pleased. I thought this game was won with the week of practice. We had a tremendous practice on Monday, and especially Wednesday, and especially Thursday. Everybody contributed. The scout team was had its best week. Guys (were)really challenging and made those practices extremely good. "
After roughing the kicker penalty late in the second quarter, which caused Harbaugh to throw his playbook. He explained his action afterwards.
“I needed a better explanation on to why that was a penalty, maybe I stand to be corrected,” Harbaugh said.
Michigan would force another OSU punt.
This time, however, OSU’s snapped went way over the punters head, and he ended up taking a 48 yard loss, giving U-M the ball at its own 3. Smith would score three plays later on a 1 yard TD run, as U-M would take a 17-7 lead into the half.
"The game was tight," Harbaugh said, refecting upon the pivotal play. "It was still in doubt and then we got a very fortuitous play for us which was them snapping the ball over the punter’s head. That happens once in a half a century for your team. (Laughter). That was a heck of a good break for us, but we’ll take it."
That seemed to take much of the life out of a OSU offense that started the day extremely strong. Beavers quarterback Seth Collins connected with Jarmon Hunter for 21 yard TD reception on the opening drive of the game. The visitors went 79 yards in seven plays, only taking 1:59 off the clock. Oregon State amassed 136 yards of total offense in the first quarter.
They gained two yards of total offense the rest of the day.
Meanwhile Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock got better as the game went on. For the second consecutive week, Rudock turned the ball over in U-M’s opening drive. He took a sack on third down, losing a fumble. U-M would force a Beaver turnover two plays later when Taco Charlton forced Victor Bolden to lose the ball, which Joe Bolden recovered. He also threw one inteception on the day, but his performance was defined by his efficiency, as he went 18-26 passing for 180 yards.
The story of the game, however, was the Wolverines' ground attack. Michigan scored its first touchdown on a 1 yard run by Smith, completing a 12-play 69 yard drive spanning 7:01 minutes, which included a key fourth down pass to Smith. U-M would score two plays later.
Smith rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns in the first half.
Michigan plays host to UNLV next Saturday at noon ET.
“We’re going to move on from this with humble hearts, because there is a lot of work to do,” Harbaugh said.