Merry Christmas, Wolverine faithful!
The most wonderful time of the year has been made all the more wonderful this year with the prospects of a Michigan Wolverines’ national championship. Although two victories still separate Team 143 from their first title since 1997 (first outright since 1948), this year feels as tangible as ever.
While today will (hopefully) bring you gifts of fulfillment and pleasure, Michigan football has given us several worthy of recognition throughout the 2022 season. From the team’s seven-sack performance against Colorado State, to punter Brad Robbins’s pristine mustache, and to the existence of Colston Loveland, there were a plethora of gifts to choose from. Here are the three that were my personal favorites.
This season was going to be the best single season by a Michigan running back in program history. Although Corum missed reaching the stars, he still landed on the clouds in rarefied air.
Corum finished the season with 1,463 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns through 10.5 games before his injury in the waning minutes of the first half against Illinois. Corum was undoubtedly going to break Hassan Haskins’ single-season rushing touchdown record (20) and could have threatened Tim Biakabatuka’s single-season rushing yards record (1,818) given what we know now about Donovan Edwards’s performance against the Buckeyes and Boilermakers.
Corum was honored as a unanimous All-American, the team’s overall MVP, and also received the blue collar and toughness awards from the program. This still doesn’t quantify the impact Corum had on the team this season.
He was Superman crossed with an F-150, in a 5-foot-8 frame that embodied “#ShortKingSZN.” Corum was simultaneously thunder and lightning; an elusive bruiser who could as easily pick up a 4th and Goal as break free for a 60-yard score.
Corum personified the Wolverines like only legendary running backs before him. The cumulative stats are not there, but the importance and impact is as resounding as anyone to ever dawn the colors. When you mention the names of Hart, Wheatley, Thomas, Perry, and Morris, don’t forget Corum.
Victory in Columbus
The gift that keeps on giving and the one that features so many little gifts inside. Yes, a victory in Columbus for the first time since 2000 and a 45-23 blowout victory are amazing feats, but those do not tell the whole story.
Inside this single game are moments that will be etched in the minds of Wolverine fans forever:
- LB/RB Kalel Mullings’s jump pass - The play call of the year
- RB Donovan Edwards’ left hand (and 216 yards, two touchdowns) - Without Courm, Edwards etched his name in the record books and did so with one hand
- QB J.J. McCarthy’s intestinal fortitude - The stats will not blow you away, but the toughness and swagger to face blitz after blitz while standing in a collapsing pocket and keep Michigan alive will never be forgotten. Nor will the three BOMBS he threw for touchdowns.
- CB Mikey Sainristil’s existence - Sainristil’s pass break-up in the fourth quarter is on par with with any great Michigan moment in this rivalry.
- WR Cornelius Johnson’s double move - The head and shoulders fake before CJ’s second touchdown left the hopeless Buckeye defender in search of a map and a glass of water to figure what happened. “Whaaaaaat happppppened?”
- Flag planting - The North has claimed new territory.
The Wolverines are currently enjoying the winningest two-year stretch in the storied history of the program. Keep in mind that the University of Michigan has been playing football since 1879, the same year Thomas Edison first demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public.
After a 12-2 run last year, most fans never imagined it could be better this season. But 13 wins and ZERO losses later, the Wolverines are in unprecedented territory. No Michigan team has won 13 games in a season before one and Team 143 has a chance to win 15, which would be a first for a Big Ten school and the first for a non-Tiger related university. The 15-win feat that has only been achieved by the 2018 Clemson Tigers and 2019 LSU Tigers.
But most surprising of all, this Michigan team is acting like a team that’s been here before despite having never been here before. This team handles their business with a confidence that never infringes upon arrogance; a belief that they know the outcome of every game before it’s played, but avoid giving out any spoilers for the sake of entertainment.
These are the good times, and it’s important to remember that. The floor for this team is 13-1…13-1! Remember Appalachian State? Remember being a laughing stock under Rich Rodriguez? Remember “The Clapper?” Remember struggling with Akron? Remember 10 years of losing to Ohio State? “JT being short?” The 2020 season?
I sure as hell ‘member and on Christmas Day, it as important as ever to be grateful for family, friends, and an undefeated football team.