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Michigan’s Run Game More Than One-Trick Pony

  • Ryan Fowler
  • October 20, 2022
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Two-headed rushing attacks are a commonality in the college game. Some are better than others, but usually, it’s a tandem or even a trio of talents that remain tasked with leading the ground game each and every week. At Michigan, running the football just means more. Overpowering defensive linemen and pounding the football both inside and outside the tackles, the Wolverines have played football to the tune of their own horn this fall on their way to an unblemished mark now seven weeks into the campaign. 

Led by arguably the most impressive back in college football this year, junior Blake Corum—one of the favorites for the Heisman—has been everything and much, much more for the Wolverines’ offense since his arrival in 2020. A talent that has shared the backfield with the likes of Zach Charbonnet (UCLA) and now Tennessee Titans ball-carrier Hassan Haskins over the last two seasons, 2022 has seen him blossom into one of the most enjoyable ball carriers to watch in the country. 

He won’t blow you away with size, power, or speed, but at times he’s single-handedly shouldered head coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense this fall. The poster child of college football’s ninth-best run game when it comes to yards per outing (241.7), his 901 accumulated total ranks second only to Illinois’ Chase Brown in the country, and his 13 trips to paydirt lead the nation through seven games. 

Behind Corum sits true sophomore Donovan Edwards, a physical talent at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. The thunder to Corum’s lightning, his role in ways has been a lot like Corum’s was over the last few seasons: Provide a breather, but if he gets hot, lead the way for the Wolverines’ ground game. While his 43 carries compared to his running mate’s 146 showcases a one-man show, Edwards has taken advantage of his touches, averaging 7.1 yards per carry through the first seven games of the season. His five carries against Iowa and seven carries against Indiana won’t open any eyes, but Edwards’ performance against Penn State last week provided a flash in the pan into the true talent he could be when it’s finally his turn. 

Edwards had 173 yards and two touchdowns despite Corum led the team with 28 carries. Edwards rushed for nearly 11 yards a pop on the 16 touches he received—a massive sign toward the future as Michigan prepares for their inevitable meeting with No. 2-ranked Ohio State in a little over a month’s time.

All in all, everything for the Maize and Blue starts with their superstar ball-carrier from Laurel, MD in Corum. And if they eye a trip back to the CFP this winter, it’ll be on the shoulders of the former four-star prep talent and highly-touted 2023 draft prospect. But behind him lies a talent in Edwards worth noting. A north-south runner whose physical brand of football will be a burden to counter as the chilly winter months arrive, the Michigan ground game has evolved into much more than a one-trick pony.