Michigan’s passing offense has had its ebbs and flows this season. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has been highly efficient throughout the season, but there have been near misses deep down the field, there have been some drops, and there are some things the operation can clean up.
Even so, there were moments in Michigan’s 34-3 win over Nebraska where the passing game showed flashes of stellar play. McCarthy found Ronnie Bell wide open in the end zone for a score, he connected on a 28-yard pass to tight end Colston Loveland, and he continues to flourish throwing on the run. The stat line for McCarthy isn’t flashy one bit, going 8-for-17 with 129 yards passing with one passing touchdown, and one rushing score. However, a few of those throws were drops, some others head coach Jim Harbaugh gave credit to Nebraska’s secondary.
“We were close again on a couple today, it was really pretty good coverage on some of the deep balls we threw,” Harbaugh said.
Running back Blake Corum, who rushed for 162 yards and one touchdown on the night, is confident in McCarthy and Michigan’s wideouts to produce at a high clip in the future. Corum noted that the passing game is thriving at practice.
“I think we did a great job of hitting them today,” Corum said. “Obviously we gotta go back to the board and see the ones we missed. The way we practice, the way we take it from State Street (where the team practice), we just gotta take it to Main Street (where Michigan Stadium is).
We practice it, we’re hittin, we’re hittin. I tell them keep doing it. Don’t stop throwing the deep balls because J.J. overthrew it or someone dropped it. Why stop? It’s gonna hit. That’s like me, if I get hit in the backfield, I’m gonna stop runnin’ — nah, I’m gonna keep goin’.”
McCarthy is the type of quarterback who will continue to challenge himself and his receiving options to start landing punches deep down the field. Their tilt against Ohio State is just two weeks away and the Michigan team will need to be at their very best, passing game and running game alike. Michigan has a Heisman-contending running back in Corum that the offense can lean on, but Corum has all the confidence in the world McCarthy can get it done if the game is put on his shoulders.
“Don’t stop throwing the ball, because it’s gonna connect. Because we practice, we practice really hard, It’s gonna come, just watch.”
We’ll be watching next Saturday when Michigan has its final home game of the season against 7-3 Illinois.