INDIANAPOLIS — The senior running back had himself a memorable night at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday, and cemented his name in Wolverine lore.
Although Blake Corum missed last year’s Big Ten Championship Game with a knee injury, he carried Michigan to a 26-0 victory over Iowa this time around. The Virginia native made a statement, and generated the Wolverines’ only two touchdowns in the contest. One of those scores made Corum Michigan’s all-time leader with a jaw-dropping, 57 touchdowns from scrimmage.
The amazing feat was basically the cherry on top to his remarkable career. Which is why Corum couldn’t be more thankful for his teammates and coaches, who helped him get to this point. After all, he’s a three-time conference champion, was named the Big Ten Running Back of the Year for a second-straight season, and Michigan is set to have the No. 1 overall seed in the Playoffs.
“To have three back-to-back-to-back Big Ten championships, it’s a wonderful feeling, and we’ve kind of changed the narrative how people look at Michigan,” Corum said. “We set these goals at the beginning of the season, and we hold ourselves to such a high standard, that we must accomplish those goals.”
Nothing came easy for Corum and the Wolverines’ offense against a stingy Hawkeye defense. Michigan finished with a season-low, 213 total yards, including 66 on the ground. On top of that, the Wolverines only averaged a mere 3.3 yards per play. Still, Coach Jim Harbaugh used the five-foot-eight, 213-pounder like a battering ram, and Corum ended up with a team-high, 16 carries.
The Wolverines’ offensive output wasn’t pretty by any means, but they were able to grind it out with Corum’s legs. He got stronger with every carry in the fourth quarter, and embraced the physicality. Corum understood that the game was going to be a defensive slugfest too. Backups Donovan Edwards and Kalel Mullings were able get some touches, and that kept Corum fresh in the second half. Regardless, the Hawkeyes held their own on defense, and Courm respects how they battled throughout the evening.
“First of all, Iowa has a good defense, they’re up there, but we made some mistakes,” he said. “I wish I would have ran a little better, we had dropped passes, there’s just things we can clean up, but we have a month now.”
Corum also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in rushing on the season. Everyone was happy for him, especially Harbaugh, who was back on the sidelines after serving a three-game suspension. The team was glad to have Harbaugh back, and rallied behind him. In Corum’s eyes, his presence alongside the team made them play harder. Once the smoke cleared, Michigan(13-0) led Iowa in yards, plays, first downs, and time of possession.
There’s no denying that the Wolverines have some wrinkles to iron out on offense approaching the Playoff semifinals. Iowa’s defense exposed some areas. Now that Michigan has reached postseason glory, Corum knows the real pressure starts, and he’s determined to be ready.
“We have a month to get guys healthy, watch a lot of film, practice a lot, so we have time,” the 23-year old said. “Today’s performance, it wasn’t our best, but there’s nothing better than winning, it got the job done.”
Everything is coming full circle for Corum and the Wolverines this fall. Michigan became the first program to reach 1,000 wins, and Corum is setting records along the way. Momentum is at an all-time high, and Corum believes the best is yet to come. It’s still Michigan against the world, and having that motto is keeping the players hungry.
Harbaugh wants to see more explosive runs from Corum, and can’t wait for him to get another opportunity in the Playoffs. He thought Corum’s two touchdowns against the Hawkeyes were a taste of what’s coming down the road.
“That goal line run from the six-yard line, that was a great run,” Harbaugh said. “That was the best six-yard run I’ve ever seen.”
No doubt Corum’s vision, quickness, and low center of gravity is going to take him far this postseason. Michigan fans love that he’s having all of this success, and are all going to sit back and enjoy the ride.