On a cold, snowy November afternoon at the big house in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines beat the injury-riddled Nebraska Cornhusk by a minimum. From start to finish, the Wolverines are clearly the better team. The game wasn’t sexy, but Michigan carried 412 yards and an easy 34-3 win en route to one of the Big Ten bottom lines.
No team is perfect, and that includes this Michigan team. Despite playing 10 games, the bond between JJ McCarthy and his receivers is still developing. Michigan opened it up and had McCarthy take some pictures, but they just didn’t connect. That’s why McCarthy was slightly less efficient in the first half, going 6-for-13 for 91 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers aren’t bad, just not as jaw-dropping as they could have been. It could be the weather or the lights, or just something that wasn’t locked on the route, but McCarthy had too many balls hitting the turf in his hands.
However, he did find Ronnie Bell in the second quarter to give the Wolverines a two-point lead:
The running game dominated against a poor Nebraska defense. Michigan’s offensive line roughed up the Huskers’ front line, and Corum got off to a good start. He had passed the century mark in the first half and had a physical blow to Husk all night. At the end of the game, Heisman Hope had 28 carries for 162 yards, this time for a touchdown:
Nebraska’s game plan is like Michigan’s: slow and steady. However, Michigan’s defense is better. Despite having more than 13 minutes of possession, the Huskers had only 104 yards and five starts in the first half. In the second half, they totaled just 43 yards. There was no sense of urgency in Nebraska and its staff throughout the game.
It’s almost as if both sides decided to run the ball and squeeze the clock. Nebraska fell to its third quarterback after the injury to backup Chubba Purdy. An injury to offensive coordinator Mark Whipple in the second quarter may have contributed to the vanilla game, but it felt like the Husks conceded before halftime and just wanted to go home.
At the end of the day, Michigan simply handles business. The Wolverines had more than 10 minutes of possession in the third quarter, most of which came from a 10-game, 65-yard drive that saw four different running backs carry the football on their backs. Donovan Edwards was limited in this game, so Blake Colomb, CJ Stokes, Taviel Dunlap and Isaiah Gash all ran with the ball in the third quarter. JJ McCarthy ended the game, reaching the tower with barely a touchdown:
Nebraska’s defense limited any big games, as Michigan had only three games over 20 yards. The problem is that in the Michigan running game, 5.4 yards per carry are allowed. Unless the Wolverines go all out every single time, they almost never fall behind on this one.
Michigan’s long third quarter ended in rather odd fashion. Ronnie Bell made a regular catch and then made some play. He kept his feet in bounds, bowed to a defender, and fumbled for the ball as he reached the end zone. Fortunately, Andre Anthony recovered a bizarre touchdown there to give the Wolverines a 31-3 lead.
Mike Morris got an injury scare after being hit in the leg by a teammate. Thankfully, he jogs off the court and then walks around the sidelines. This prompted Jim Harbaugh to introduce a bunch of backups in the subsequent Michigan drive. Davis Warren at quarterback. Leon Franklin, Dunlap and Garsh got some carries. Real freshman Taylor Morris had a reception. The final ball ended with a 43-yard field goal by Jack Moody.
In the end, the Wolverines stayed healthy and did the job of beating the Cornhusks. Now, they’re turning their focus to Illinois’ battle against Illini, who lost a second straight to Purdue on their resume.