The Michigan offense had many questions entering this season. While most focused on the quarterback competition, some had questions about the running backs. Hassan Haskins went to the NFL leaving junior Blake Corum and sophomore Donovan Edwards among others to lead the backfield. Would they be able to step up? After week 1, there are no questions about the Michigan running game.
Saturday was a dominant performance on the ground. As a team, the Wolverines rushed for 234 yards on 40 carries. An average of 5.9 yards per carry meant the Wolverines were constantly moving the ball. There were no big runs. The longest of the day was JJ McCarthy’s 20 yard touchdown run. The Wolverines consistently had success on the ground. Another positive is that it was not one person. Blake Corum only had 76 yards total and Donovan Edwards only had 64. It was a total team effort with four different players scoring touchdowns. Corum, Edwards, McCarthy and Alex Orji all found the endzone. The interchangeable nature of this running game makes it elite. There are no questions about the Michigan running game after their victory against Colorado State.
Impact on QB Competition
Michigan is having one of the weirdest QB competitions ever. Giving both players a start in the first two games is unprecedented but the running game could have a huge impact on who becomes the starter. JJ McCarthy is clearly the more prolific runner as he showed on Saturday. If running is the strength of the team, the Wolverines should go all in on it. Having McCarthy under center as a running threat will help Michigan’s offense be more potent. It will be interesting to see what happens against Hawaii this week.
The key for the Wolverines will be if they can sustain this success. It is one thing to do this against Colorado State. It is another to do it against teams like Michigan State and Ohio State. However, this is a great start and looks very similar to the running game of 2021. In order for Michigan to have success, there needs to be no questions in the running game and it looks like that is the case.