Just two years ago, Michigan exercised its Ohio State demons by defeating the Buckeyes 42-27 in the snow in Ann Arbor. The final blow came in the game’s final minutes as Michigan running back Hassan Haskins crossed the goal line for the fifth time that afternoon, before blowing some kisses to the crowd and cementing his status as a Michigan legend.
Just a year later, Blake Corum seemed poised to turn in his own legendary performance against Ohio State. He had rushed for over 1,400 yards through 11 games and put himself in Heisman contention before a knee injury against Illinois derailed his season. His teammate Donovan Edwards would steal the show in “The Game” instead, rushing for a pair of long touchdowns and running himself into Wolverine lore.
In 2023 though, it was finally Corum’s turn to make some noise.
“I couldn’t go out in the Big House like I did last year,” Corum said following the win. Corum would finish the game with 22 carries for 88 rushing yards and two touchdowns, the type of productive performance that fans would’ve loved to see a year ago in this game and certainly a good way to go out in his final home game.
Corum’s talent was on display in this game due to his ability to churn out yards, especially late in the game, but it was partially set up due to aggression that Michigan showed (and had success with) early in the game to get Ohio State on its heels early in the game.
“Coach Moore said - that he was gonna call the most aggressive game he’s ever called,” said quarterback J.J. McCarthy. “For the big boys, for Blake - that’s just music to our ears.”
It wasn’t all great though for Corum and the Michigan rushing attack, as they lost a key cog in the machine in offensive guard Zak Zinter in the third quarter. However, right after Zinter left the field by way of the medical cart, Corum responded with his biggest run of the game, a 22-yard touchdown to help put Michigan up 24-17.
“Zak is my guy - he’s another guy that came back for unfinished business,” Corum said of Zinter following the game. “Seeing him go down in the last game hurt.” Corum responding to the injury with a touchdown was a great way to honor his injured teammate, much like his team did for him a year ago against Ohio State.
Despite the win though, Corum and his teammates know that this is not the end of the line for their team, as a Big Ten Championship against Iowa and potential College Football Playoff appearance are on deck.
“Just like Kobe Bryant said, the job’s not finished,” said Corum. Corum though is no stranger to success against the Hawkeyes, as he ran for 133 yards against them just last season.
For now Saturday at least though, Corum and the Wolverines will take their time and enjoy the victory, one that was battled for until the game’s closing seconds and comes amidst plenty of noise outside the program and calls to discredit Michigan’s recent success.
When asked if Saturday’s win was the most significant in his time at Michigan, Corum had a simple response: “100 percent.”
“I just look back and pray I left a legacy,” said Corum. He has done just that over the last two seasons, and put a final stamp on it with one more great performance in the Big House, hopefully he has a few more left in the tank to propel Michigan in its hunt for a National Championship.