The Wolverine

November 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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8 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2022 P enn State will absolutely shut down Michigan's run offense today." — Fox Sports commentator Urban Meyer In other sports news history, experts predict Tom Brady will never start a game in the NFL, the 1997 Wolverines will con- tinue the "M Stands For Mediocre" nar- rative and Bo's '69 crew has no shot at Ohio State. Defensive backs require a short mem- ory, and Meyer must have hoped for DB status during the Wolverines' runaway 41-17 victory over Penn State. Some 418 rushing yards later, Michigan exceeded the 399 yards the Penn State defense had surrendered to all others combined this season. How many ways are there to serve crow — baked, fried, slow smoked? Hopefully, there are more, because the old OSU boss should be munching on it from now until the Wolverines hit Columbus. Sophomore tailback Donovan Edwards raced away for 173 yards and 2 touch- downs, while junior Blake Corum churned out 166 yards and 2 more TDs. Michigan's offensive line got investigated for D-line abuse, and the Wolverines delivered their biggest statement against the Nittany Li- ons since Judgment Day in 1997. "Like Coach Harbaugh said in the locker room, it's a butt-kicking in every which way it could be kicked," sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy said afterward. "It was in our house, and we take pride in it. We protect our house. Just being able to do it in the fashion we did was just awe- some to see." Not for everyone, of course. "We did not control the line of scrim- mage on either side of the ball," Penn State head coach James Franklin said following the second-half decimation. "Although the score at the end of the first half [was 16-14, Michigan], we were in the thing … they controlled the line of scrimmage and they controlled the game. "They're a good team. Give them credit, but we didn't play well." All true — and salmon generally do not play well in the jaws of grizzlies. The Wolverines delivered a reminder of how devastating they can be when they point to and gear up for a particular opponent. The romp at The Big House got the at- tention of many, including poll voters who vaulted the Wolverines back into the top four in the nation following a one-week absence. "Michigan's offense is something out of the Bo Schembechler era," wrote Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel. "Then again, so is its record. "It's 7-0 now for the No. 5 Wolverines after they completely dominated 10th- ranked Penn State on Saturday, 41-17. That marks consecutive 7-0 starts for the first time since they did it four seasons in a row from 1971-75 and Schembechler was at his legendary peak. "Those are the golden glory days around here, sepia-toned memories that the program constantly tries to duplicate." Michigan didn't have to deal with the likes of Penn State in conference play back then — not that it mattered this year. The Wolverines didn't have to win an extra game for a Big Ten championship, al- though beating the West Division champ after getting by Ohio State seems a little like knocking out Pee-wee Herman after taking down Mike Tyson at his peak. Earlier iterations in the winged helmet — even in 1997 — didn't have to face a playoff gauntlet to get to a national cham- pionship. And few Michigan teams are exempt from the unexpected ambush. Purdue in '76. Minnesota in '86. Mich- igan State and Illinois in '99. Anyone thinking Jim Harbaugh's 2022 Wolver- ines are invincible at least until Columbus does not qualify for a degree in Michigan football history. But make no mistake. This team is strong, and getting stronger. Elsewhere in this issue, we point out three huge factors leading to Michigan's success and hoped- for surge down the stretch: the impressive run game, extremely low turnovers and McCarthy's own rapid adaptation to the starting role. Ignoring defensive coordinator Jesse Minter's crew would be a huge mistake, one Michigan's remaining opponents — Michigan State, Rutgers, Nebraska, Il- linois and Ohio State — would make to their peril. The Wolverines on defense are summoning up echoes of Bo's finest ball- stopping brigades. They've yielded an average of 12.1 points per game, No. 5 in the nation. They limited Penn State's offense — averaging 34.4 points per game coming into Michi- gan Stadium — to 10. The defensive front comes in waves, from seniors Mazi Smith and Mike Morris to late-addition grad transfer Eyabi Okie and healed-up junior Braiden McGregor, to flexing freshman Mason Graham. The cupboard wasn't empty after all, post-Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo. Meyer talked before the game. So did Penn State, apparently. "They want to have those Twitter fin- gers," Morris said. "They want to talk on social media. OK. And then, they didn't talk on the field." If Michigan keeps talking like this on the field, it will drown out all others. ❏ WOLVERINE WATCH   JOHN BORTON Can U-M Be Stopped This Side Of Columbus? Junior tailback Donovan Edwards rushed for a career-high 173 yards and 2 touchdowns in Michigan's 41-17 win over Penn State. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Editor John Borton has been with The Wolverine since 1991. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @JB_Wolverine. "

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