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Takeaways from Michigan’s dominating win over Northern Illinois

Annihilation in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 25 Michigan Wolverines improved to 3-0 on the season after as convincing of a win as you’ll see in college football, beating the now 1-2 Northern Illinois Huskies 63-10.

Here are takeaways from the thrashing.

McNamara finds his groove

After throwing for just 44 yards last week against Washington in what was a run-centric gameplan, starting quarterback Cade McNamara had a good showing overall. There were a couple near misses deep that could have went for touchdowns, but McNamara wound up with a deep strike to Cornelius Johnson that went for a 87-yard score.

McNamara got rid of the ball quicker, going 8-of-11 for 191 yards and 1 touchdown. Northern Illinois played a very bad game, and McNamara will face a much stiffer test when Michigan faces off against a Rutgers team that plays tough under head coach Greg Schiano.

We don’t know exactly who Cade McNamara is just yet, but he had a good game today — he did his job.

Blake Corum is special, o-line is dominant

Jim Harbaugh has never had a back like Blake Corum at Michigan, a player who can do it all. Corum can make people miss, he can gain yards after the contact when he runs downhill between the tackles, his vision and patience have been top notch, as has his elusiveness and speed in the open field. Corum rushed for 125 and 3 scores, averaging an astounding 9.6 yards per carry.

Corum always credits the offensive line for his success, and they’ve been quite dominant in their own right through the first three games of the season. In all, Michigan rushed for 373 yards on the day and the line opened up big hole after big hole throughout what became a thrashing.

J.J. McCarthy getting reps was important

The young five-star freshman and backup QB got into the game in the second half and received valuable reps operating the offense. Time on task matters and McCarthy received a quarter and a half of playing time, going 4-of-6 for 42 yards while rushing for 16 yards.

Like quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss said this spring, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when for McCarthy, and the more time he can get in non-crucial situations, the better.

Defense played convincingly

Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi may have beat Michigan a season ago when he was Michigan State’s QB, but the success he had then never appeared today. Lombardi couldn’t generate any traction with his arm — he was either inaccurate or under duress, leading to just 46 yards passing (1 TD, 1 INT). Cornerback Gemon Green mentioned that he felt the secondary didn’t play well a week ago vs. Washington and they had their eyes set on limiting yardage through the air in this one — mission accomplished.

Team identity and mentality is heading in the right direction

Sure, it was just Northern Illinois, but this was another game where Michigan went out and punched the other team in the mouth. The team is hustling on offense, defense, and special teams - it appears the players are buying in to the new coaching hires. This seems like a team ready to right the wrongs of what was the 2020 season, they seem hungry.

Michigan has a lot of work to do, but they’re heading in the right direction as their conference schedule looms.