This is the expectation. It’s nice to see that Michigan met expectations for once. This kind of beatdown is what Michigan should do on a pretty regular basis against overmatched MAC-level opponents. We’ve seen losses (2008 Toledo), close wins (2014 Akron), and other mild scares against the MAC, as well as a bunch of dominant victories. But Michigan should never really be within arm’s reach of a MAC opponent. The line should be too big, the skill guys should be too fast, and the coaches should be too smart.
Run, run, and run again. Michigan fans on Twitter were getting pretty grumpy about running the ball, but I don’t have a problem with it.* It turns out that despite the rumored good defense that Washington was bringing to Ann Arbor, they couldn’t fit the run properly. Michigan ran 56 times for 343 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 4 touchdowns. The offensive line didn’t provide a ton of gaping holes, but they provided enough room for slippery backs like Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins to make hay. The last time Michigan ran for more yards was in the rain during the 2017 game against Minnesota, when Chris Evans and Karan Higdon ran wild to the tune of 370 rushing yards. You do what you have to do to win the game, and Michigan was obviously destroying the Huskies with the run.
*Except I do have a problem with it. I know I lied above. And I apologize. I don’t have a problem with running the ball like mad when it’s an attempt to win an individual game, but it’s going to be very hard to recruit good receivers on the edge if you don’t throw the ball. Josh Gattis came in with the “speed in space” mantra and that borrowed some time for the Wolverines, but now they’re reverting to the Jim Harbaugh days of yore. If I’m a good wide receiver, I have zero interest in playing for Michigan. Michigan wide receivers caught just three (3!!!) balls on Saturday night in a comfortable, three-touchdown win. The leading receiver was Blake Corum with 3 catches himself for just 11 yards.
Please support the blog through these Amazon links (LINK):
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Henning. Assuming Ronnie Bell is out for a while (hopefully not!), I think Henning is probably the guy who needs to see more touches. Michigan needs a guy who can run through tackles and make something happen after the catch. As much as I like Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, and other guys, I’m not sure that any receiver besides Henning can offer that ability after the catch. Henning had a 74-yard touchdown on an end around and caught 1 pass for 11 yards from J.J. McCarthy.
Cade McNamara > Joe Milton. Redshirt sophomore Cade McNamara had a game that Joe Milton could only dream of, and that included completing 9/11 passes for 136 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. It doesn’t matter if you can throw a ball 80 yards if you don’t know where the ball is going. McNamara has the ability to recognize matchups and read defenses, and those skills trump Howitzers for arms. His best two passes of the day were beautiful deep balls to . . .
Ronnie Bell. Bell made a great one-handed catch on the sideline (nullified by a very questionable offensive pass interference call) and a great 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown. That at the end of an exciting 31-yard punt return, he seemed to slump to the ground when getting tackled and was swarmed by medical personnel. When he left the field, he had to be carried and his right leg was just dangling. My fear is that he tore his ACL while making a cut at the end of the run. Bell is a captain, led the team in receiving the past two years, and was bound to lead the team in that category once again in 2021. After losing Aidan Hutchinson, Kwity Paye, and Jalen Mayfield to injury in 2020, it’s frustrating that Michigan couldn’t avoid a serious injury even one game into the season against a MAC opponent.
Name: Blake Corum Height: 5’8″ Weight: 200 lbs. High school: Baltimore (MD) St. Frances Position: Running back Class: Sophomore Jersey number: #2 Last year: I ranked Corum #58 and said he would be a backup running back (LINK). He started one game and had 26 carries for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 5 catches for 73 yards. TTB Rating: 83
I’ve never seen so much off-season hype for a running back who averaged 2.96 yards per carry the previous season, but that’s where we are as Michigan fans, hoping for players to come out of nowhere and be stars. Corum did show flashes in 2020, bouncing a stuffed run outside for a touchdown against MSU, catching a 24-yard toss (which was officially scored as a pass but should have been a rush) against Minnesota, etc. Michigan’s offensive line and quarterback play were mostly questionable last season, so those things are probably at least partially responsible for Corum’s lack of production. He also showed some impatience at times.
With Chris Evans (Cincinnati Bengals) and Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) now departed, Corum clearly moves up on the depth chart. All accounts have Hassan Haskins as the #1 guy on the depth chart and Corum #2, with freshmen Donovan Edwards and Tavierre Dunlap backing them up. Michigan has typically rotated several backs, but the depth chart gets thin quickly with only four scholarship players on the roster. It will be important for all the backs to stay healthy, especially Haskins and Corum. Corum also has value as a receiver and seems to have more big-play ability than Haskins.