The Wolverine

May 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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22 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2022 BY JOHN BORTON J im Harbaugh's Wolverines experienced their breakthrough season in 2021. They slew the Buckeye dragon, tore apart Iowa in the Big Ten title game, and made their first-ever College Football Playoff contest. Now the question becomes, can they do it again? There are plenty of reasons outsiders might say no. Heisman finalist Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo, Daxton Hill and a host of other standouts are gone from a dominant defense. Hassan Haskins and his 1,327 rushing yards — not to men- tion key blockers that paved the way — moved on as well. Michigan replaced both its offensive and defensive coordinators. It even faced temporary uncertainty in the offseason while Harbaugh himself explored NFL options. Plus, there's the ever-present target on Michigan's back anyway, enhanced by renewed football success. The showdown versus winged helmets gets circled on some opposing calendars every year, but there's no question that number goes up after a championship. So, a repeat won't be easy. Here are seven reasons why it could happen. 1 The 2021 Breakthrough Shows The Way Despite the personnel losses, Michigan features a bevy of performers who battled to a Big Ten title in 2021. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Cade McNamara leads the way, with a majority of his starting offensive linemen returning. Sophomore backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are back, not to men- tion a number of veteran receivers. The Wolverines even gain back redshirt junior wideout Ronnie Bell, who missed nearly all of 2021 with a knee injury. Defensively, players such as redshirt sophomore defensive end Mike Morris and redshirt junior defensive end Taylor Upshaw learned what it took from the stars in front of them. Sophomore linebacker Junior Colson played an integral Redshirt sophomore quarterback Cade McNamara and a bevy of returning starters on both sides of the ball will bring the battle-tested experience and mindset of Big Ten champions into the 2022 season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL LOOKING TO REPEAT Seven Reasons Michigan Football Can Win The Big Ten Again

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