It was a triumphant return for Coach Jim Harbaugh as the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines cruised to a 31-7 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in their Big Ten opener on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Michigan's offense was firing on all cylinders, led by standout performances from running back Blake Corum and quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Corum showcased his skills with two rushing touchdowns, while McCarthy redeemed himself after a rough previous game by completing 15 of 21 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown.
Corum proved to be a force to be reckoned with, carrying the ball 21 times for 97 yards. His explosive runs gave Michigan the momentum they needed to dominate the game. McCarthy also made an impact with his arm and legs, adding 51 rushing yards to his impressive passing performance.
The Wolverines' defense also made their presence known, with cornerback and captain Mike Sainristil returning an interception for a touchdown. Sainristil's play demonstrated Michigan's defensive prowess and their ability to capitalize on turnovers.
The Wolverines controlled the game from start to finish, dominating the time of possession with 36 minutes and 8 seconds. Their efficient offense allowed them to capitalize on scoring opportunities and keep the Scarlet Knights' offense at bay.
Rutgers managed to strike early, catching Michigan off guard with a 69-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. However, the Wolverines quickly responded with a 94-yard drive that ended with Corum's first touchdown of the day, tying the game at 7-7.
Michigan continued their offensive onslaught with an 18-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Semaj Morgan, giving them a 14-7 halftime lead. The Wolverines didn't let up in the second half, adding a field goal and another touchdown to their tally.
The turning point of the game came when Rutgers had a promising drive but faced a crucial fourth-and-2 at the Michigan 27. Wimsatt's screen pass attempt turned into an interception by Sainristil, who returned it for a 71-yard pick-six. This play further solidified Michigan's dominance and demoralized the Scarlet Knights.
Corum put the nail in the coffin with his second touchdown of the day, extending Michigan's lead to 31-7. Rutgers had one last opportunity to score, but their drive ended with an incompletion, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Wolverines' victory showcased their strength on both sides of the ball and cemented their position as a top contender in the Big Ten. With Corum's standout performance and McCarthy's redemption, Michigan fans have plenty to be excited about for the rest of the season.