The Michigan Wolverines beat the Michigan State Spartans by three feet on Saturday evening. Two from Blake Corum, and one from Jake Moody.
It wasn’t exactly a classic edition of this storied rivalry, but Michigan will happily take a 29-7 victory and the Paul Bunyan trophy. Michigan State made a game of it in the first half, but in the end Michigan’s running attack was simply too much for the Spartans.
Blake Corum Carries Michigan Again
Michigan’s junior running back Blake Corum has gotten plenty of attention this year. And he deserves it. On a night when quarterback J.J. McCarthy looked uncomfortable, and Michigan’s wide receivers struggled to get open, the Wolverines leaned on Corum yet again.
Corum’s long run on the night was 17 yards, but he rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 33 carries. He also added a second touchdown on a short pass that was essentially a sweep. He never seemed to go down on the first hit, consistently juking, spinning, and grinding out a few more yards on each touch.
Blake Corum has 14 rushing touchdowns on the season with at least five games left to play. The single-season record for touchdowns by a Wolverines running back is 26, set by Albert Herrnstein in 1902. That seems out of reach, but last year Hassan Haskins became just the third running back in Michigan history to rush for 20 touchdowns in a season. Corum could be the fourth.
The Moody Blues
Michigan punted just once during the game, but scored just two touchdowns on six trips inside the red zone. That’s where 2021 Lou Groza Award winner Jake Moody took over. While MSU struggled on special teams and seemed reluctant to use its kicker, Michigan was more than happy to turn to Moody.
The Northville native went 5/5 on field goal attempts in the game, including a 54-yarder. Moody made 23 field goals last year, and he’s already up to 18 this season. He’s seven shy of Remy Hamilton’s single-season school record, and six behind Garret Rivas’ career record of 64. He seems likely to go down as the best kicker in the history of the Michigan Wolverines.
Hat Tip to Minter
Michigan State gave Michigan all they could handle in the first half. If Michigan didn’t stuff MSU twice on fourth down, the Spartans may well have taken the lead into halftime.
But State seemed to have only one play: throw it up to Keon Coleman. That worked very well, because Coleman is remarkably good at coming down with jump balls. MSU head coach Mel Tucker felt like it was something that would continue to work in the second half.
Michigan Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter had other ideas. The Wolverines altered their approach in the second half, apparently moving to cloud coverage on Coleman. It worked well, as Michigan was able to hold Coleman and his talented teammate Jayden Reed in check until the game was essentially over.
Coleman did reel in one more deep pass to end his spectacular day with five catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. But Michigan safety Rod Moore put the final nail in the coffin by cutting in front of Coleman for an interception with just over four minutes remaining.
This continues an impressive run of second-half adjustments from Minter and the Wolverines. They have now outscored their Big Ten opponents 93-31 in the second half of games.
Michigan moves to 8-0 on the season and heads to Piscataway for a night game against Rutgers next Saturday. Michigan State falls to 3-5 and faces a tough road trip to Champaign for a matchup with a top-20 Illinois squad.