Michigan running back Blake Corum had another impressive outing on Saturday as his Wolverines defeated Illinois 19-17. Corum led the rushing attack with 108 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.
He got hurt late in the second quarter and went straight to the locker room. But apparently he was good enough to come back out and play the second half. He didn’t get a lot of action in the last two quarters but should be good for next week.
He’s done almost all he could to boost his Heisman Trophy candidacy to date. Granted, Corum hasn’t played a full four quarters in a few of their games due to Michigan being so far ahead, but any other coach would do that with their star players.
Even with sitting some fourth quarters, Corum’s season numbers are still very impressive. After this weekend’s game he has amassed 1,457 yards and 18 touchdowns. While everyone can admit that those are fantastic numbers the question will be weather Heisman voters find them award winning.
Not to mention history is not really on Corum’s side either. Only three running backs have won the Heisman since 2000. That’s not a lot. Like the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the Heisman is generally given to a quarterback.
But for Corum to ultimately win the Heisman he’s not only going to have a great game against Ohio State next week, but he’s going to need help from his teammates.
Two Birds, One Stone
If Michigan loses to the Buckeyes in the regular season finale, Corum won’t win the Heisman. Wolverine fans may not want to hear that but it’s the truth. Regardless of how he plays.
Right now, the Heisman front runner according to multiple media outlets is OSU quarterback CJ Stroud. Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports and ESPN all currently have Stroud as the favorite to win it all. Not to mention virtually all sports books have him as the betting favorite. And we all know Vegas isn’t stupid.
But if Michigan can take down the Buckeyes for the second year in a row that would diminish Stroud’s Heisman hopes. And if Corum combines that with a terrific game it would propel his own.
This is likely the only way Michigan’s star running back can take home the hardware. If he were to have a mediocre game, say less than 100-yards and no touchdowns, I still have strong doubts he would win it.
Even though Michigan would’ve provided Corum with a signature win, the Heisman voters could have a tough time justifying his stats.
The last time a running back won the Heisman was Derrick Henry in 2015. He ran for 1,986 yards that year and scored 23 touchdowns. Even with possibly two games left in the season, that’s a lot of ground to make up for Corum. Especially if you think, in theory, he will face two of the toughest teams he’s played all season.
Now to be fair, Hassan Haskins did rush for 169-yards and five touchdowns against Ohio State last year. Those are facts. But to think Corum will replicate that on the road against an improved Buckeye defense would be hitting the Kool-Aid bong a little too hard.
Other QBs in the Mix
Not only is Stroud competing with Corum for the Heisman but so are a few other notable quarterbacks. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is also getting a lot of media love. He is second on the rankings list for each of the three media outlets mentioned earlier. His Vol’s squad took down the all mighty Alabama at home and destroyed LSU on the road earlier in the season. A beat down that looks better and better each week as the Tigers climb the rankings. Tennessee’s lone loss on the year is a road game against Georgia, the No. 1 team in the country.
Hooker looked pedestrian that outing throwing for less than 200-yards and no touchdowns. For the season however, he is completing 71 percent of his passes and has a 24-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Both very good numbers.
You also can’t count out USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Williams is essentially carrying the Trojans this season. Their defense is not great but Williams is playing well enough to keep his team winning. The schedule is not in his favor as USC still has games against UCLA and Notre Dame. Not to mention a possible conference championship game against either Oregon or Utah, the latter of those the Trojans already lost to.
Maye’s path is a little easier as the Tar Heels have already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship game. But that means a meeting with Clemson whose problem is not their defense. Maye has been a stat machine this year totaling 39 touchdowns and throwing only three interceptions. He’s also third in the country in passing yards.
The Field is Wide Open
This is an interesting year to be a Heisman voter as there isn’t really one or two clear cut favorites. There’s no undefeated Alabama quarterback or Tim Tebow-like player dominating the game. Anyone of the aforementioned players can win it.
The other factoid that makes things interesting is outside of Stroud and Corum everyone else plays in a different conference. So none of them are going to play each other. Whether that helps or hurts the two Big Ten stars is yet to be determined.
But what we do know is for Corum to win Michigan’s first Heisman since Charles Woodson in 1997, the Wolverines are going to have to defeat the Buckeyes. And a big reason for that is going to have to be Blake Corum.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)