Blake Corum, Pass Rush Lead Michigan over Iowa
Michigan left Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon doing what was expected, beating Iowa 27-14. It was a victory that never was in doubt as Michigan had control the entire game.
It started about as well as head coach Jim Harbaugh could’ve hoped as his team received the opening kick-off and drove it 75 yards down the field for a touchdown on an 11-play drive. After that first drive, you got the sense it would be a good day for the Wolverines (5-0, 2-0).
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy looked comfortable, running back Donovan Edwards looked good in his return from injury, and the offensive line opened up gaping holes in the Iowa (3-2, 1-1) defensive line allowing running back Blake Corum to run rampant.
Corum led the Wolverines offense, rushing for 133 yards and scoring a touchdown. McCarthy went 18-for-24 throwing 155 yards and a touchdown. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers for the sophomore getting his first road start. But he was in control of the offense, made some good throws, and was excellent with his decision-making in the option game.
Harbaugh even had an interesting comparison for McCarthy after the game. “He’s better than me, but he reminds me of a young Jimmy Harbaugh.”
The offense didn’t turn the ball over once. Which was going to be a key to walking away with a win. Edwards was used sporadically in his first game in three weeks, rushing the ball five times and hauling in 4 receptions, one of which ended in a touchdown.
Michigan on defense
Defensively, the Wolverines kept Iowa’s struggling offense in their neutral state for most of the game. Edge rusher Mike Morris led the team with two sacks both coming in the second half to help preserve the lead. True freshman lineman Mason Graham continued to put the Big Ten on notice by terrorizing the Hawkeyes offensive line, contributing four tackles and a sack.
Cornerback D.J. Turner also continued his solid play in the secondary and nearly had an interception that he likely would’ve been able to return for a touchdown.
Both teams ended up with five penalties, but it was the timing of Iowa’s penalties that hindered their comeback effort. Down 10-0 with seven minutes left in the second quarter, Iowa’s holding call on first down negated an 8-yard rush. Their offensive line committed another penalty later that same drive on first down after a nice gain which would’ve put them on Michigan’s side of the field.
The second of those two penalties in which Iowa was called for tripping was a bit questionable. Fox analysts Joel Klatt and Mike Pereira both said it was the wrong call. Iowa got called for an unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter that Klatt and Pereira also said was a clean play.
Penalties aside though, Iowa never got enough going on offense to warrant any fear for the Wolverines. Hawkeyes punter Tory Taylor continued building on his Heisman Trophy campaign. He booted five punts for an average of 48.2 yards, including a touchback.
Player of the Game: DL Mason Graham
You don’t see too many true freshmen making their presence felt on the interior defensive line. But Graham was a menace Saturday afternoon, moving bodies aside and pressuring Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras. Graham’s lone sack came on the first play of the second half, leading to an Iowa three-and-out.
Michigan will travel back to Ann Arbor to rest up before hitting the road again next week, visiting Indiana. The Hoosiers are 3-1 heading into this weekend, with their lone defeat coming on the road against Cincinnati.
Photo Credit-© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK