We had heard rumblings in the offseason that the Michigan offense would attempt to be more balanced in 2023 after relying heavily on the run over the last two seasons. While the passing attack hadn’t previously been bad, there was still another level it could reach in order to make Michigan’s offense one of the nation’s elite.
On Saturday, we saw that vision come to fruition in a way, as it was the passing attack that propelled Michigan to a 30-3 victory over East Carolina in Ann Arbor. This ability to be flexible was indeed necessary, as the Pirates seemed to be selling out to stop the run
“ECU did a phenomenal job stopping the run - that was their gameplan and they did a pretty good job,” said senior running back Blake Corum.
Michigan wasn’t as efficient on the ground as we’ve seen in recent years, registering only 3.9 yards per carry as a team. However, a transition to the pass, a credit to interim play caller Kirk Campbell, allowed Michigan to move the ball consistently.
“If teams want to do that, please - we’ll keep throwing,” Corum also said in regards to East Carolina’s approach on defense. “If we need to run the ball, we’ll run it. If we need to pass the ball, we’ll pass - as a team we’re complete."
“It’s very nice selfishly as a quarterback, said junior quarterback J.J. McCarthy of his role in today’s game. “It’s gonna be whatever we do to move the ball down the field.”
McCarthy filled the stat sheet in the game, finishing with 280 yards and three touchdowns while completing 26 out of 30 passes.
“If you know the answer we’re just going to change the question,” McCarthy said in regards to the offense’s ability to switch things up and go against what opposing defenses might be planning to see from the Wolverines.
“Last year at the beginning of the season people were like, they can’t pass the ball, and I’m like yeah we can - just like J.J. was saying,” said Corum in regards to the offensive approach.
While the rushing attack may have underwhelmed in week one, it was certainly refreshing to see Michigan find another avenue of offensive success. Perhaps success through the air and being multi-dimensional is a sign of things to come later in the year.