Lightning strikes twice as rushing attack leads Michigan football in dominate top-10 victory; MSU next

‘I said it before the season started that we were lightning and lightning, we don’t need thunder’

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 15: Donovan Edwards #7 of the Michigan Wolverines runs with the ball during the second half of a college football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Wolverines won the game 41-17 over the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (Aaron J. Thornton, 2022 Aaron J. Thornton)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Lightning struck twice on Saturday as the Michigan Wolverines rushing attack dominated No. 10 ranked Penn State in a 41-17 victory to improve to 7-0 on the season.

The Wolverines got the ball rolling behind two second-half home run plays by Heisman hopeful Blake Corum and Swiss Army knife Donovan Edwards who himself had a career day.

“I expected it,” said Corum. “I said it before the season started that we were lightning and lightning. We don’t need thunder. It’s a double lightning strike.”

Corum set the tone early as he toted the rock 28 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, one of which going for 61 yards.

Saturday (Oct. 15) afternoon’s performance was Corum’s fourth straight 100-yard rushing game. His two scores give him 13 touchdowns on the ground for the season, which leads the nation.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 15: Fans are seen with letters spelling out "BC (Blake Corum) 4 Heisman" on their chest during the second half of a college football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Wolverines won the game 41-17 over the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (2022 Aaron J. Thornton)

Corum is on Heisman watch, but he is not focused on that as he is focusing on the team’s next opponent.

“It would mean a lot, but Michigan State’s on the clock,” Corum said. “So we will see at the end of the year. If I’m blessed to be there, and if I’m blessed to get it, then that would be awesome, but Michigan State is on the clock.”

Read: Michigan State football deletes rivalry tweet with upside-down Block M because it looked like a ‘W’

Donovan Edwards

Edwards came in with the body blows during the Wolverines’ opening drive of the second half, which broke the backs of the highly spirited Nittany Lions as he made a 67-yard house call for six.

“It was a complete game as we had at least like 500 total rushing yards, and the defense played amazing,” said Edwards. “All praises go to the Lord at the end of the day as he blessed us to come out of here with the victory and all of us remaining healthy.”

Edwards had a career day against Penn State as he rushed for 173 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. The Wolverines rushed for 418 yards on the day, the second most under a Jim Harbaugh-led team.

Corum and Edwards combined for 339 of the Wolverines’ 418 yards rushing.

“We’re a dynamic duo as we feed off of each other, Corum said. “It’s love around here, we both can do multiple things, and we’re the best at what we do.”

Halftime fiasco

The Wolverines came out of the gates like a team possessed as they drove the ball up and down the field on the Big Tens’ second-stingiest defense against the run.

Coming into the top 10 matchup, Penn State gave up 80 yards per game on the ground, and it showed as Michigan settled for four field goals as they went into the half with a 16-14 lead; But that’s when the fun began as Twitter was buzzing when news broke that both teams had to be contained.

The brouhaha, according to reports, came into play as the Nittany Lions were feeling themselves after doing absolutely nothing in the first half. They ran 14 plays in just 6:05 of play but somehow found themselves in a dogfight.

“This game was a wrap in the second quarter, then (Sean) Clifford hits the long run,” said Urban Meyer. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like this. This defense for the Wolverines has completely dominated this game.”

Penn State’s two plays consisted of a 61-yard quarterback scamper to the red zone, which later produced a touchdown. Moments later, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw a pass that got deflected several times, resulting in a pick-six.

The Wolverines later got stopped once again in the red zone and had to settle for another field goal to take a 16-14 lead into the half, which is where the shenanigans ensued.

Reports indicate that Penn State was feeling themselves, and they started chirping as both teams entered the tunnel. Michigan linebacker Mike Morris told the media after the game that the situation started before kickoff on social media, where the Nittany Lions were trash-talking with their Twitter fingers.

“We told each other, they want to have those Twitter fingers, they want to talk on social media,’ and then they didn’t talk on the field,” said Morris. “They wanted to talk at halftime because they got lucky.”

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 15: Mike Morris #90 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after a Michigan defensive stop during the first half of a college football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (2022 Aaron J. Thornton)

The Wolverines totaled 563 yards on offense with 418 rushing yards and 145 passing yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan held Penn State to 268 total yards, with 111 coming from the ground and 157 yards through the air.

“I’m really proud of the team, and I think our defense is really good,” said Harbaugh. “They’re taking that step to being a dominant defense. The Guys are running to the ball. You’ll get four, five, and six guys running to the ball every play. They started the game with two three and outs and just continued from there.”

The performance on the ground was the second time this century that a team rushed for over 400 yards vs. a top-10 team. Since 2016 Michigan is 7-1 at home in ranked matchups.

Offensive lineman

The dominant effort on the ground was due to the offensive lineman who not only opened up massive holes but also pancaked the Nittany Lions throughout the day.

“I love seeing Donovan (Edwards) hit the hole and also running hard, so it was beautiful having another running back there doing his thing, Corum said. “He had a career day. Shoutout to the o-line as they were crushing (Penn State) them. I lie to you not, as they were crushing them boys off the ball and making our job easy. Shoutout to the tight ends and shoutout to the wide receivers.”

J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy added his legs to the mix as he attested for 54 yards on seven carriers, including a 21 yards burst to extend the drive for the Wolverines. McCarthy looked ready for the moment in his first game against a top-10 opponent. He didn’t have the passing yardage, but it was good to see him using his legs to extend drives.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 15: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines runs with the ball during the second half of a college football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Michigan Wolverines won the game 41-17 over the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (2022 Aaron J. Thornton)

“We did not control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball,” said Penn State head coach James Franklin. “Although the score at the end of the first, we were in the thing, but we did not control the line of scrimmage in either half.”

Franklin continued:

“Offensively, we were unable to run the ball or convert on short yardage situations to stay on the field, but defensively we were unable to get off the field. They (Michigan) controlled the line of scrimmage and thus controlled the game.”

Michigan played big boy football, and they outperformed the Nittany Lions on all phases of the game as Michigan, through seven games, seems to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses, which showed on Saturday.

Sadly for fans of the men in maize, their next matchup is Oct. 29 at the Big House, where they will play host to the Michigan State Spartans, and, from the looks of it, their focus is onward.

“All I got to say is it’s going to be pretty quick because we want Paul back,” said McCarthy. “You’re coming to our house. I don’t know if it’s going to be under the lights, but it might be, but we’re ready for that one, so we’re going to be turning the page really quick.”

Read: Michigan football game vs. Michigan State announced as 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Ann Arbor


About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.