Faculty Soccer and Faculty Basketball Author
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The hush washed over Michigan Stadium straight away, greater than 100,000 individuals falling silent in response to the horror alongside the sideline. Star operating again Blake Corum — he of 1,457 dashing yards and 18 touchdowns in a bona fide Heisman Trophy marketing campaign — lay immobile clutching his left knee following a low deal with from Illinois defensive again Xavier Scott.
As members of Michigan’s medical workers rushed throughout the sphere, the gang contemplated the implications of what Corum’s harm meant for immediately, subsequent Saturday and past. Would their dominant 10-0 begin to the season dissolve on the cusp of a rematch with No. 2 Ohio State? Would their path towards a second consecutive look within the Faculty Soccer Playoff be rerouted to one thing much less fascinating?
However 20 minutes later, after a tepid response to the marching band’s halftime efficiency, the followers regained their collective voice. Corum emerged from the locker room unassisted, in uniform and able to partake in second-half warmups. He returned to the sphere on Michigan’s second offensive snap earlier than exiting the sport for good a couple of minutes later.
That would have been the tip for head coach Jim Harbaugh’s crew, a gaggle uncovered as a one-trick pony compelled to play with out its thoroughbred. And but a passing assault maligned as a lot for its fleeting presence as its common ineffectiveness cobbled collectively sufficient within the ultimate minutes: good points of three yards, eight yards, 5 yards and a vital go interference penalty that handed the Wolverines 15 extra.
They marched from their very own 48-yard line to the Illinois 17, and kicker Jake Moody did the remaining. His 35-yard subject purpose with 9 seconds remaining accomplished a fourth-quarter comeback for a 19-17 win. The dream of an undefeated season continues.
Listed below are some takeaways from Ann Arbor:
Sticky scenario at operating again
With the potential for an undefeated showdown towards Ohio State on the horizon, the Wolverines’ two main aims on Saturday had been to beat Illinois and keep away from main accidents. The rating, the aesthetics and the exact method of victory had been much less essential than merely getting the job carried out.
Michigan entered the sport shorthanded at operating again with Corum’s main sidekick, former five-star prospect Donovan Edwards, unavailable after dropping out of final week’s win over Nebraska. The one different tailback with reputable expertise this season is true freshman CJ Stokes, an rare contributor with good effectivity.
Corum ignited the gang with a 37-yard burst on the primary play from scrimmage, jump-cutting on the line to discover a gap after which juking defensive again Kendall Smith within the open subject. He bookended the drive with three consecutive goal-line carries to plunge into the tip zone for an early lead. By halftime, Corum was averaging higher than 5 yards per keep it up 17 makes an attempt and gained 41 yards on a display screen go from quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
Although Corum returned for a number of snaps in the beginning of the third quarter, many of the second-half carries had been break up between Stokes and reserve tailback Isaiah Gash. An Illinois protection ranked sixth nationally at stopping the run sliced Michigan’s common acquire from 6.7 yards per play within the first half to three.8 within the second because the Wolverines failed to succeed in the tip zone within the second half.
No Corum, no explosiveness.
Proving his price
To some extent, the lavish reward heaped on Corum has obscured the exploits of Illinois operating again Chase Brown, who arrived in Ann Arbor because the nation’s main rusher with 1,442 yards — practically three dozen greater than anybody else in FBS. Final week’s loss to Purdue was the one time he’s been held under 100 yards this season.
His standing for Saturday was sophisticated by a leg harm suffered within the ultimate minutes towards the Boilermakers, and a ultimate determination on his participation didn’t come till a number of hours earlier than kickoff. He suited up, pounded the ball between the tackles and racked up 140 yards and two touchdowns on 29 makes an attempt to frustrate top-of-the-line defenses within the nation.
Head coach Bret Bielema’s steadfast dedication to the operating recreation proved instrumental in chipping away on the Wolverines. The Illini gained three dashing yards within the first quarter, 60 within the second and 75 within the third as Brown’s good points expanded from 3- and 4-yard dives to bigger chunks that persistently moved the chains. He exploded by means of the correct aspect and into open house for a 37-yard rating that gave Illinois a 17-10 lead late within the third quarter.
The talk over the Huge Ten’s finest operating again continues — and Minnesota’s star Mohamed Ibrahim would in all probability like a phrase — however Brown acquitted himself effectively.
Erratic downfield passing assault
For many Michigan followers, the expectation of what this yr’s offense may seem like shifted the second Harbaugh declared McCarthy the starter after a chronic competitors with Cade McNamara, the participant who guided the Wolverines to their first Huge Ten title in 17 years final season. McCarthy had the larger arm, higher mobility and the kind of game-changing charisma that McNamara, who was extra of a recreation supervisor, lacked.
However the dominance of Michigan’s offensive line, coupled with Corum’s excellence and the smash-mouth predisposition of its head coach, meant the Wolverines prolonged their run-heavy method in a sequence of lopsided victories. They entered the weekend ranked fourth nationally in dashing with 2,514 yards and 188 extra operating makes an attempt than passes. An argument may very well be made that an over-reliance on the run — albeit an efficient one — stunted the expansion of a passing offense averaging simply 208.9 yards per recreation.
Believers in that speculation may level towards a sequence of off-target throws on Saturday as McCarthy threw excessive, extensive and behind receivers on crossing routes over the center. He accomplished simply 18 of his 34 makes an attempt for 208 yards towards Illinois with a protracted of 27 on downfield makes an attempt. Improper trajectories and an absence of contact unsettled the Michigan crowd, particularly when he overthrew tight finish Colston Loveland for what may have been the game-winning rating with a bit greater than three minutes remaining. Two display screen passes totaling 61 yards skewed the numbers even additional.
And when McCarthy did throw correct passes — just like the one he dropped in a bucket after the Illinois protection appeared to leap offside — wideout Andrel Anthony allowed it to slide proper by means of his palms for what would have been a landing within the third quarter. Gash additionally dropped a possible landing on a brief go out of the backfield within the fourth.
The passing recreation is a reputable concern. There’s work to do earlier than touring to Ohio Stadium subsequent week.
Michael Cohen covers faculty soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis on the Huge Ten. Comply with him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13.
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