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Blake Corum embodied the Michigan spirit against East Carolina

On a day where the passing game was firing, it was still great to see the Wolverines’ heart and soul in the backfield.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 East Carolina at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When entering a game as massive favorites — and entering a season with astronomical expectations — it can be hard to really impress. The Michigan Wolverines overcame some coaching suspensions and various injuries, though, and took care of business against East Carolina while providing some highlights along the way.

There were certainly some important moments to celebrate from the win. While J.J. McCarthy and Roman Wilson lit up the scoreboard and Mike Sainristil got things started with an early interception, the best vibes on Saturday came from No. 2.

Blake Corum specifically stated one of his reasons for coming back for a final season was to not have his final memories of the Big House be his injury against Illinois. Most expected him to leave for the NFL, which would have been completely understandable and fully deserved. That means that many never expected to see a play like this from the electric runner at Michigan Stadium again:

Though Corum was marked down at the two-yard line, he would punch it in on the next play to put the Wolverines up two scores early in the second quarter, which proved to be more than enough against ECU.

This game was never really going to be an issue, but it was the passing effort doing most of the damage early. As good as it is to see a more balanced attack that lets McCarthy utilize his arm, the identity of this team is still being able to run at will over any opponent.

Michigan fans are very familiar with Corum finding a hole and sprinting downfield to power the Wolverine offense. While it was not the most prolific first quarter, the Heisman hopeful’s effort on this play reminded fans to relax and reminded the Pirates just how overmatched they were going to be.

This run symbolized the multiple ways Michigan can impose its will, and leverage its plethora of weapons. Corum put up a solid 73 yards on just 10 carries.

The bigger picture: Back with a purpose

The real reason I want to highlight this play is for the cathartic release it provides after the past nine months of waiting. Michigan missed Corum in the final three games of last season, but it was also a disappointing way for a career to end for one of the best rushers in the country, as well as Michigan history.

By returning to school, the bar is incredibly high for Corum personally, in some ways unfairly so. Matching the first 10 games of production from last season is absolutely doable, but still a big ask. Saturday’s opener showed he is back and ready to roll, though, and while it was just one run, this play shows those expectations are there for a reason. Corum is back and fully capable of carrying this team back to the College Football Playoff.