Oregon State got off to as good a start as could be imagined, scoring just over 3 minutes into the game. But their offense completely disappeared after the first quarter, and Michigan proceeded to capitalize on a number of mistakes, and physically assert them selves in the second half, pounding their way to a 35 unanswered points, and a successful 35-7 homecoming win for alum and new head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The Beavers drove 79 yards on the game's first possession, with completions to multiple receivers, and on both sides of the field, and also ran inside and outside, capped by Seth Collins' 21 yard scoring pass to Hunter Jarmon.
Oregon St. managed only 59 net yards over the remaining nearly 57 minutes of the game.
The Beavers had a chance to take the crowd of nearly 110 thousand on hand for Harbaugh mania out of the game early, when a blitzing Rommel Mangeo forced Wolverine quarterback Jake Rudock to cough up the ball on Michigan's first possession deep in their own territory. But Victor Bolden, running out of the backfield, and not used to running in traffic between the tackles, fumbled the ball right back.
It was the first of several missed opportunities in the first half that would prevent the Beavers, who outplayed the Wolverines by a wide margin early, from taking control of the game. Two additional drives came to early ends, when Collins came up a foot short on a 3rd down run, and on the next drive, Jordan Villamin was stopped a yard short on 4th down.
Meanwhile, the Oregon State defense was doing a good job, holding Michigan to just a field goal in the first quarter.
The tide began to shift though, with a couple of personal fouls on special teams by Oregon St. a big part of the problem, particularly the personal foul on true freshman Paul Lucas for trying to tear Jabrill Peppers' head off.
Staked to better field position, Michigan then capitalized on a badly blown coverage, easily the worst single play of the game by the Oregon State defense, on a 4th and 5 play that resulted in a 20 yard completion to DeVeon Smith.
Two plays later, Smith, above, scored the first of his 3 touchdowns of the day, putting the Wolverines ahead just 4 minutes before halftime.
Special teams miscues then became the story of the first half, for both teams, and turned the game.
Initially, it looked like it would be Michigan that paid the price, as the Wolverines were called for a personal foul for roughing Oregon State punter Nick Porebski. It produced the days most notable Harbaugh sideline tantrum, but in truth, Porebski, who had to field a bad snap (which was a harbinger of worse things to come, but more on that in a minute), and was outside the tackle box, though he was never trying to run with the ball. With the Australian style running punters, this play is called as inconsistently as any play in football, and Harbaugh's angst was understandable.
The Beavers drive would still stall though, forcing another punt. Porebski would proceed to pin the Wolverines on their own 2 yard line, and at the worst Oregon State should have gone to the locker room for the break down only 10-7.
But the Beavers were flagged, correctly replay would show, for an illegal formation, with the gunner on the left side not up on the line of scrimmage.
The snap on the re-punt sailed way over Porebski's head, and he covered it all the way back on the Oregon State 2 yard line. The pair of special teams errors cost 96 yards, and though the Beaver defense dug in and stopped the Wolverines twice, Smith finally powered in from 1 yard out with just 12 seconds left in the first half. In hindsight, Porebski would have been better off taking the ball into his own end zone for a safety. Instead, Michigan took a 17-7 lead to the locker room.
Oregon State pinned Michigan at their own 11 with the kickoff to start the second half, but another defensive coverage assignment error allowed Michigan TE Jake Butt, who had been the Wolverines' best offensive weapon in their season opening 28-21 loss at Utah, to get open for a rollout pass that kept the drive alive.
That third quarter opening drive then began to take on a definite Michigan power football look, and the Wolverines pounded their way to the Oregon State 9 yard line.
Larry Scott got away with an uncalled holding penalty in the end zone that stopped the drive, and got another rise out of Harbaugh, above, and over 100,000 of his closest friends, but the Beaver defense had again forced a field goal, keeping it a 2 score game.
At the moment, it looked like a crucial stop, and had the Oregon State offense been able to generate more than 2 net yards in the third quarter, it might have been.
Storm Barrs-Woods, who was not used in the first half, in favor of Chris Brown, who did have a good run on the opening drive, and wound up the Beavers' leading rusher, but with just 33 yards on 8 carries, and freshman Deltron Sands, had a good carry on his first touch of the game, and a face mask penalty on Michigan at the end of the play produced what would be the only first down of the entire second half for Oregon State.
Caleb Smith's drop and an unsuccessful Collins draw ended the series, but the Beavers only ran 4 plays in the first 12 minutes of the third quarter.
Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake went back to a 4 man front to counter the relentless Michigan power running game, and the Beavers did get a stop, but not until after the Wolverines had burned off most of the period.
Oregon State coach Gary Andersen, who had said he planned to play Marcus McMaryion multiple series in the game in any event, tried to change things up with the red-shirt freshman, but the experiment was a disaster.
McMaryion overthrew Jordan Villamin on his first play, and took a sack at his own 2 yard line by Chris Wormley for a 3 and punt negative yardage possession. Utah hadn't been able to block Wormley last week, and Sean Harlow wasn't successful either.
Starting at the Oregon State 39, Michigan finally pounded the game open, with Smith capping the drive, and his career best day, with his 3rd touchdown run of the game, after breaking 2 tackles, and then the catch for the 2 point conversion that made it 28-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Smith was done with 126 yards.
Rahmel Dockery pinned his own team at the 16 yard line, bringing the ensuing kickoff out when he should not have, but it didn't really matter when McMaryion was off target with 2 passes in another 3 and punt.
Mangeo gave Oregon State a glimmer of hope with an interception, as the defense continued to play well enough to give the Beavers a chance, but Peppers put the hit of the game on Jarmin to break up a pass, and Collins, back in at quarterback, suffered another sack, above, which resulted in still another 3 and punt.
Michigan then put together a 7 1/2 minute, 14 play 73 yard drive, all but one of which was a running play, as the Oregon State defense simply got worn out and run over, capped by a 2 yard scoring run by Derrick Green, above, that made the final score 35-7.
Fittingly, McMaryion went back in at quarterback, and went 3 and punt again.
Collins completed 9 of 16 passes, for 79 yards, after starting 7 of 9, but ran for only 28 yards. He did have a 17 yard run, and one up and over a Michigan defender highlight, below, but it all came early in the game, before the Wolverines adjusted to his speed, and refocused their defense to keep him hemmed in.
Villamin had just 3 catches, and led the Oregon State receivers with 26 (!) yards. Villamin also forced Michigan into a pass interference penalty, as he did against Weber State, but the Wolverines were successful in keeping him out of rhythm.
The B1G crew allowed more contact in the secondary than Pac-12 officials usually do, though it can't be said that there was a "bias", as shown by Villamin still getting a call, and Scott not getting called.
Still, Andersen commented at halftime "I guess they won't let us catch the ball."
Rudock was 18 of 26 for Michigan, for just 180 yards. Amarah Dabroh led the Wolverines with 4 catches, for only 50 yards. Butt also had 4 catches, but for only 25 yards, and the Beaver defense was generally successful at controlling him.
Michigan actually had more penalties, and for more yards, than Oregon State, 10 for 105 yards compared to 8 for 62, but the magnitude of the miscues were far more game changing for the Beavers.
In the end, there were just far too many mistakes for an Oregon State team that needs to play cleanly to be able to compete successfully.
"I was proud of how hard we played," Andersen said, "and Seth played very well in the first half. But we need to grow up, make plays when we have the opportunity to, and not make foolish mistakes."
Michigan improved to 1-1, and will host UNLV next week, while Oregon State dropped to 1-1, and will return home to host San Jose State next Saturday evening.