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Handing out game balls for Michigan’s 34-27 victory over Maryland

It was gritty and even ugly at times, but the Wolverines found victory on the back of No. 2.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines opened up Big Ten play much like last year with a sluggish, concerning, hard-fought home victory over a mediocre team. Even the automatic kicker Jake Moody kept with tradition by missing a field goal in the conference opener for the second-straight year.

In what was advertised as Michigan’s first “real” test of the season, the Maryland Terrapins rose to the occasion and forced Michigan to earn a 34-27 victory. There were highs, lows, and as sure as gravity, there was Michigan running back Blake Corum.

Let’s hand out some game balls!

RB Blake Corum

I mean who else? Blake Corum was Michigan’s offense in this one, as he bullied and juked his way to 243 yards and two scores on 30 carries. Corum became the first Michigan running back to hit 200 yards since Karan Higdon against Minnesota in 2017, and furthermore, Corum’s 243 rushing yards are the seventh-most in a single game in U-M history (fourth-most against a Big Ten opponent).

Even when the Terrapins knew he was coming, they couldn’t stop him. Corum — the Maryland native — is now the all-time leader in program history, averaging 6.47 yards per attempt.

Hello Heisman (conversation), Mr. Corum!

TE Luke Schoonmaker

Luke Schoonmaker had to replace the injured Erick All as TE1, and did so masterfully.

Schoony posted a career-high in receptions (7) for 72 yards and one touchdown. More impressively, he was de-cleating would-be tacklers in the run game to help solidify edges and open up running lanes for Corum.

All’s availability the remainder of the season is unknown, but Schoonmaker appears to be up to the task as a receiver and a blocker.

CB Mike Sainristil

Firstly, the entire secondary has a claim at this, especially Gemon Green, DJ Turner and RJ Moten, the latter whom produced the most important defensive play of the day with a key interception late in the game. However, Mikey Sainristil’s complete game cannot be ignored.

The first-year defender lead the team in solo tackles (6), tackles for loss (2), sacks (1) and finished second in total tackles (8). Sainristil also had an interception on Maryland’s first two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter, although for reasons unbeknownst to me, does not count in the box score.

Sainristil’s versatility affords the defense the luxury of playing five defensive backs without sacrificing run support and sure tackling in along the line of scrimmage.

Honorable Mention

  • Defensive tackle Mazi Smith
  • Edge Mike Morris
  • The entire offensive line (especially right tackle Trente Jones who had his best game as a Michigan Wolverine)