As of right now we have not been made aware if Michigan running back Blake Corum will play against Ohio State. We likely won’t know until minutes before game time.
On Monday, Corum said his knee was fine and that he’ll play. Which means absolutely nothing because why would he tell you he’s not six days before the game.
Wolverines tackle Ryan Hayes was asked earlier this week about Corum and had this to say.
“We’ve planned on this. He’s a great player, but I think everybody else is just gonna step up with him out, and I think we’re up to the challenge.”
Now if you take that statement in it’s literal form, he said “with him out,” not if he were going to be out. That would indicate Corum won’t play this weekend. Hayes may have misspoken, we all do it, so I would still reserve hope until we hear official word from the team.
If the Heisman candidate running back ends up playing, I give Michigan a 50-50 chance at winning. But if he can’t suit up, Jim Harbaugh would welcome your prayers.
What’s the Game Plan Jim?
If Corum does miss the game, the keys to the offense would be handed over to quarterback J.J. McCarthy. The sophomore would have to put the team on his back and carry them to victory.
The good news is he has resources around him to relieve some of the stress. The offensive line is one of the best in the country and has kept McCarthy clean most of the season.
Michigan also has a deep receiving corps with guys who bring different tools to the table. Ronnie Bell has the all-around skill set and veteran presence. Roman Wilson is the small crafty speedster. And Cornelius Johnson has the big frame to body defensive backs away from the ball.
A possible x-factor on the offensive side of the ball is freshman tight end Colston Loveland. The kid from Idaho has 90 receiving yards the last two games on five catches. We know how much Michigan loves to use their tight ends. Ohio State is aware of that too. But will they keep tabs on the relatively unknown commodity or will Loveland make them pay?
If Donovan Edwards ends up playing he certainly has the talent to hold his own in the run game. But it’s not the same as having Corum out there. Edwards can line up as a receiver and do damage there as well, but if he’s the featured back that will limit his time lined up out wide.
In the End it’s on QB1
At the end of the day, this will all come down to McCarthy’s arm. If the kid makes the necessary throws, Michigan will have a solid shot at victory.
He’s going to have to hit on a couple deep balls at some point in the game, which he has struggled with throughout the season.
McCarthy has had a rough time the last few games finding completions in general. In the last four games, he has had a completion percentage better than 53 just once, and that was against Michigan State.
I think many people would agree it’s not that he’s played bad over the second half of the season. He hasn’t looked better though and shown progression each week.
He will need his best game of the year on Saturday in Columbus in order to lead his team to the Big Ten Championship. Anything less than that and it’ll be a long trip back home.
McCarthy has shown flashes of brilliance this year and given Wolverine fans a good reason to think his future is bright.
But great quarterbacks are born out of games like this, when all the chips are at the middle of the table and your team needs you.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)