The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines opened up their conference season against Maryland Saturday at home. They found a way to take care of business and ended up beating the Terrapins by a score of 34-27. Michigan maintains perfection, improving to 4-0 on the season, but there were a lot of things revealed about this team after an up-and-down performance. None were a cause for immediate concern, but there are some things that need to be fixed sooner rather than later.
Michigan was seemingly off to a great start, given the Terrapins opening kickoff mishap, but that appeared to be a fluke in the system. The Maize and Blue had some mishaps of their own after a fumble on their third drive of the game. Maryland was unable to fully capitalize on this, having to settle for a field goal, but that put them up 13-10 on Michigan. The Maize and Blue would then trail until late in the second quarter.
The Wolverines were given another chance on a Maryland mistake, having picked off Taulia Tagovailoa in the second quarter. The Terrapins were able to hold the Wolverines to kick a field goal attempt which was missed by Jake Moody. After regrouping and forcing Maryland three and out, the Wolverines embarked on their last drive of the first half. This is the drive that yielded this week’s turning point of the game.
It should not be a surprise that this week’s turning point goes out to Michigan running back Blake Corum’s 33-yard rushing touchdown on fourth-and-1. This was Corum’s first touchdown of the game and provided the momentum the Wolverines needed to get to the end of the first half with the lead.
From there, Michigan was able to play keep away while generating scoring drives. While things were sluggish coming out of halftime, Michigan found the endzone first, putting the home team up by two scores. An argument could be made for J.J. McCarthy’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson, as it put Michigan up by two scores, but Saturday was all about Michigan’s running game.
Corum rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 8.1 yards a carry. He was the first Michigan running back since Karan Higdon in 2017 to rush for over 200 yards in a game. While Michigan ended up with a pretty well balanced offense, it was the success on the ground that stood out. Maryland absolutely struggled to eliminate Michigan’s ground attack and that was seemingly its downfall. It was the most rushing yards allowed by the Terrapins’ defense so far this season.
This game was going to be a test for Michigan, that was a known fact. There were definitely moments that left a lot to be desired, but at the end of the day it was a valuable lesson for this team that is searching to repeat as Big Ten champs. While any other year it would be of concern to only beat a Maryland team by seven, the Wolverines were in a similar situation a year ago at homecoming. Obviously things went well for Michigan after that, so let’s see if this team can do similarly.