Wolverines find their rhythm against Oregon State
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh began his first seasons with the Stanford Cardinal and San Francisco 49ers with a near one-to-one ratio of rushing attempts to passing attempts (highlighted in the Big Ten East RB preview) and the 2015 season has followed suit. With a 1:0.9 ratio to begin the season, the Wolverines absolutely dominated their matchup hosting Oregon State in Ann Arbor.
After allowing Utah ball carriers to gain 137 rushing yards on 37 carries, including two touchdowns, the Michigan front seven shut down Oregon State’s offense. The Wolverines held the Beavers to 12 first downs, one third down conversion out of 11 attempts and 138 total yards.
The key for the offense was running back De’Veon Smith who took 23 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Last week, Smith was handed 18 touches against a very tough Utah defense, but was still able to shed 11 tackles, producing the 22nd-highest yards after contact per attempt (1.88), and a healthy 115.0 elusive rating (fifth-best).
Michigan will host UNLV and BYU over the next two weeks, followed by a meeting with Maryland in College Park, and the Wolverines will likely be favored in each of these matchups. That means they stand a good chance of entering the tougher part of their schedule (versus Northwestern, Michigan State and Minnesota consecutively) with a 4-1 record and in synch with their new head coach.