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Top five moments from the first half of Michigan’s season

As an action-packed first half of the season comes to a close, let’s take a look back at Michigan’s best moments in the campaign thus far.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

College football is the greatest game ever to be played. The tradition, pageantry, loyalty and emotions rolled up into one highly-entertaining package make this game without parallel in the world of sports. Each and every moment has the chance to become a memory that echoes through the ages. Moments from before some of us were born — for me, Desmond Howard’s “Hello Heisman” punt return and Charles Woodson’s interception to seal the 1997 National Championship in the Rose Bowl — form the bedrock of our identities as fans and bleed into countless other aspects of our lives.

The 2022 Michigan Wolverines football season has been chock-full of memorable moments so far. Here are my top-five picks (plus an honorable mention) for the season so far.

Honorable Mention: The return of Ronnie

(The catch and crowd reaction is at 5:25, but the whole video is worth watching.)

Although just a modest reception on the stats sheet, Ronnie Bell’s first catch coming back from a season-ending ACL last year was a moment to remember. Bell is a fighter and a leader. It’s great to have No. 8 back on the gridiron.

#5: J.J.’s first touchdown throw as a starter

Yes, the competition was abysmal, but J.J. McCarthy’s bomb to Roman Wilson in his first career start encapsulates all the hopes and expectations Michigan fans have for the Chicagoland gunslinger. If he can regain some of that deep ball touch he executed to perfection on this play down the stretch, the sky is the limit for Team 143.

#4: The pass rush comes alive at Indiana

(Start at 8:55)

A major question mark about this iteration of the Michigan Wolverines was how the team was going to replace the sack production of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Well, against an Indiana team that tried its hardest to get the ball out as soon as possible, Michigan gave its answer.

With seven sacks by seven different players, Michigan’s pass rush became a monster that afternoon. No one player can come close to the stats Hutch and Ojabo put up last season, but together they can compete with the best.

#3: Ronnie Bell’s end-around wave

Michigan’s offense hijacked the energy in Kinnick Stadium with a methodical 75-yard opening drive capped off by a 16-yard end-around rush by Bell. The play alone was a spectacular marriage of strategy, execution and athleticism, but the captain’s subtle yet brilliant celebration was what made this moment special.

By waving to the crowd — and tastefully appropriating Kinnick’s signature tradition — Bell signaled to the nation Michigan’s 2021 string of road victories was not an aberration. Michigan came to play that day.

#2: Blake Corum’s 4th down touchdown

Unfortunately, I only heard this play on the radio when it happened, but Blake Corum’s explosive fourth down run to the end zone completely livened up the tone of the radio broadcast. Although the remainder of the Maryland game would be close, Corum’s ability to turn a fourth down pickup into a backbreaking touchdown altered the trajectory of that game and showed Michigan could take a punch and hit back harder.

This play — among the dozen other touchdown runs under his belt — bespeaks his immense talent and should be one of the key moments Heisman voters look at when voting in December.

#1: Lightning Strikes Penn State Twice

A part of a 418-yard day on the ground, these two runs put America on notice that Michigan has the offensive line and running backs to shake up the college football landscape. I’ll go on record and say Michigan has two of the best five running backs in the nation on its roster, and last Saturday’s back-to-back 60+ yard runs from Donovan Edwards and Corum do all the talking for me to make my case.

As we can see, Michigan’s had a pretty good season so far, but the potential for this team might just be reaching the pinnacle of college football. We’ll get a clearer perspective on that assertion in the second half of the season. For now, let’s take stock and try to relive the memories and moments that make us Michigan fans who we are.

Let us know what your favorite moments from Michigan’s season are in the comments section down below!