Phillip Lutz, Guest Writer
Michigan defenders wrap up a tackle. Photo//WolverinesWire/USA TODAY Sports
The #3 University of Michigan Wolverines ran all over the Cornhuskers of Nebraska Saturday night, winning by a score of 34-3. The Wolverines used their running game to trample the struggling Cornhuskers, gaining 264 yards compared to the measly 75 yards by Nebraska.
The Wolverines won the coin toss and deferred. Nebraska got the ball first with QB Chubba Purdy leading the offense. Purdy was able to connect with Marcus Washington for a 30-yard gain, but the Cornhuskers were unable to go further down the field. Michigan’s defense stood tall early and often.
Sophomore QB J.J. McCarthy came out slinging the ball on Michigan’s opening drive. McCarthy connected with wide receiver Ronnie Bell for a 25-yard gain. Junior RB Blake Corum added his finesse as he ran all over the Cornhusker defense to methodically down the field. Corum finished the drive himself with a two-yard touchdown run, putting Michigan up 7-0.
Purdy completed a pass for six yards to Nate Boerkircher to end the first quarter. Nebraska was forced to punt back to the Wolverines to begin the second quarter.
Corum scampered for 12 yards on first down, but three incompletions by McCarthy saw the Wolverines punt again.
The next Wolverines drive saw the emergence of freshman TE Colston Loveland. Loveland caught a 28-yard pass from McCarthy, setting the Wolverines up nicely. Corum added a 12-yard run to the Nebraska nine-yard line. McCarthy found Bell for the nine-yard touchdown one play later. Moody added the extra point to make it 14-0. It was all Wolverines.
Purdy used his legs to start off the Cornhusker drive, running for a 12-yard pick up. Purdy connected with Alante Brown a couple plays later for a 13-yard completion. Timmy Bleekrode hit the 37-yard field goal. 14-3 Michigan.
Corum again started off the Wolverine drive with an 11-yard gain up the middle. McCarthy then connected with junior WR Roman Wilson for a 13-yard gain. Corum settled into his role of running it up the middle for minimal gains for the rest of the drive. McCarthy then connected with senior WR Cornelius Johnson for a 12-yard completion. Moody hit the 30-yard field goal to finish the drive and put Michigan up 17-3 going into halftime.
Michigan got the ball first after halftime and came out flat. Corum ran the ball several times, but the Wolverines were forced to punt. The Cornhuskers did not do much better, gaining one first down before punting themselves.
The following Wolverine drive was all run, run, run. Corum and the running backs ran the ball methodically from the Michigan 35-yard line down to the Nebraska three-yard line. McCarthy took it himself and ran it in for the touchdown. Moody hit another extra point, giving the Wolverines the commanding 24-3 lead.
Freshman RB C.J. Stokes led off for the Wolverines on their next drive with a 17-yard gain. Stokes followed it up with 15-yard and 14-yard runs. McCarthy then completed a pass to Bell that went for 29 yards, but Bell fumbled it into the endzone. Sophomore WR Andrel Anthony recovered the ball in the endzone for the Michigan touchdown. 31-3 Michigan.
Sophomore QB Davis Warren took the reins for the Wolverines on their next drive. Warren was able to hit Loveland for a 12-yard completion. Moody finished off the drive with a 43-yard field goal. 34-3 Michigan.
McCarthy finished the contest completing 8/17 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, McCarthy ran for negative eight yards on three carries with a touchdown. Heisman hopeful Corum ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 28 attempts. Stokes added 68 yards on the ground. Bell had four receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Loveland had 40 yards on two receptions.
The Michigan defense was solid all game long, getting two sacks. They were led by sophomore LB Junior Colson, who had six total tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack.
With the win, the Wolverines improved to 10-0 for the first time since 2006.
Michigan will welcome in the Fighting Illini of Illinois University (7-3) next Saturday to the Big House for the final home game of the season. The game will kickoff at 12 PM/ET.
Both teams will have plenty to play for on Saturday as the season nears its end. Michigan is tied with Ohio State for top of the East Division in the Big Ten, while Illinois is still fighting to stay in the picture of the very muddled West Division. It will be a real slobberknocker as Jim Brandstatter used to say. Both teams like to run the ball, which will be crucial if the weather calls for more snow and wind. See you Saturday.