The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2022 BY JOHN BORTON M i c h i ga n fo o t b a l l n e ve r started a season by scoring 50-plus points in the open- ing three games — until now. The Wolverines demolished their nonconference opposition 166-17 in the opening trio of contests. Meanwhile, some are still wondering how good the offense is going to be. After all, the '85 Chicago Bears didn't appear on the schedule. Neither did the '97 Wolverines, for that matter. Colo- rado State, Hawai'i and Connecticut folded like a $20 tent when Jim Har- baugh's crew rolled into camp. It gets a whole lot tougher now, of course. But in the meantime, it's hard to complain too much about the highest- scoring team in the nation. Averaging 55.3 points per game, the Wolverines held that lofty spot over James Madison (53.5), Tennessee (52.0), North Carolina (51.3) and Kansas (51.0) heading into Big Ten play. None of that matters nearly as much as what Harbaugh & Co. learned and refined over the first three games. They elevated a new starting quarterback in sophomore J.J. McCarthy, used abun- dant big-play opportunities among their backs and receivers, and found some gaps to shore up along the front lines. Meanwhile, it's steady as she goes for new offensive coordinators and play-callers Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss. So far, so good there, according to Moore. " P l ay- ca l l i n g h a s b e e n s m o o t h , play-calling has been great," Moore said. "I feel like it's been in a rhythm. Obviously, when you put up the points we have, it's gone pretty well. "We always think there are things to improve. The [lack of ] pre-snap penalties, it's really about the players. Just their focus and their details. Just watching them progress has been re- ally good." Here's a quick, position-by-posi- tion overview of the early returns by the Wolverines' scoring machine: QUARTERBACK This one's been the most talked about spot in the lineup, for more than the normal obvious reasons. McCarthy simply took the position by storm over the last two weeks of fall training camp, then absolutely tore it up in his first career start against Hawai'i (11-for-12 passing, 229 yards, 3 touchdowns). After the game, Harbaugh named McCarthy Michigan's starter going for- ward. The second-year Wolverine fol- lowed up that announcement by leading a 59-0 romp past UConn. His stats through three games — 30-for-34 passing for 473 yards and 3 touchdowns, despite one drop and a receiver slipping down mixed in. His passing efficiency rating hit an off-the- charts 234. Harbaugh called his effort against Hawai'i "near flawless," and McCarthy has kept that going, earning praise from his teammates. "His skills and talents enable us to do a lot of things," senior wideout Corne- lius Johnson said. "He's a great quarter- back. None of the things we're seeing on UNSTOPPABLE … SO FAR Michigan Offense Awaits Much Bigger Tests Junior running back Blake Corum tied the school record with 5 rushing touchdowns in the win against UConn. Through the first three games, he had 34 carries for 235 yards (78.3 per game and 6.9 per carry) and 7 touchdowns. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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