2021 Michigan Football — Play Diagram — Blake Corum’s 51 yard TD Run

Let’s break down Blake Corum’s 51 yard TD run in the 3rd quarter versus Northern Illinois.

First, I love this formation. The Wolverines line up with trips to the wide side of the field. In this case the receivers are in a trips diamond alignment but they also could have used a stack (all in a row). We’ll look for both of these options as the season progresses.

Why do I live this formation? Well, the trips formation gives the offense numerous options and warps the defense to match the offense. With proper blocking the offense can play 3-on-3 or as in case effectively take 3 defenders out of the play.

Pre-snap, the first thing to notice is how how room to run the trips open up on the left side of the field.

Michigan snaps the ball, the trips execute their patterns, but the key on Saturday was what happened on the other side of the formation.

Michigan QB Cade McNamara hands off the RB Blake Corum and fakes a pass to one of the the retreating receivers from the trips formation. #99 Pierce Oppong for Northern Illinois is unblocked, and despite being untouched is no match the speed and agility of Blake Corum. #77 Trevor Keegan bounces the defensive tackle and seals the linebacker while #86 Luke Schoonmaker engages and the Northern Illinois corner back #12 Eric Rogers and blocks him off the field.

With the playside defenders blocked, Blake Corum only needs to contend with the safety who can’t make the tackle. Corum streaks to a 51 yard touch run.

Meanwhile across the field the two of the trips receivers have tangled with the Northern Illinois defenders, showing that the Wolverines had other options for positive yardage from this formation.

Michigan 63 Northern Illinois 10 – Game 3 Recap



Final Score: 63-10, Michigan by 53 over NIU
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 36 (+17)
CD Projection: Michigan by 32 (+21)


GAME 3 RECAP vs. Northern Illinois

No reason to over-analyze. Seems like Jim Harbaugh has the program back to the pre-pandemic standard. Michigan has taken care of business against 3 overmatched opponents. Now, the Wolverines will look to carry their momentum into the Big Ten season next weekend when they host Greg Schiano and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Offensively, the big question coming into this game was whether Michigan would, or could, pass the ball effective coming off a 44-yard performance last week vs. Washington. Even though the game plan stayed heavy on the run game, both Cade McNamara (8-11 for 191 yards) and J.J. McCarthy (4-6 for 42 yards) were able to get live reps in this one.

The offensive line was absolutely dominant for the third consecutive week. Michigan combined for 373 rushing yards, and spread the love relatively evenly. Blake Corum led the way again with 125 yards and 3 TDs, including a 52-yard race along the sideline. Hassan Haskins did his part for the Boom & Zoom duo by setting up that 52-yarder with physical runs of 4 & 15 yards on the first two snaps of the drive. Corum took the third snap to the house.

Early in this game, there was some interesting cat & mouse between coordinators. Once Mike MacDonald effectively countered NIU’s initial play script, the Wolverines effectively clamped down for the final 3 quarters. Josh Ross let the unit with 6 tackles on the day. Gemon Green chipped in by picking off a tipped pass and returning it to the NIU 3 yard line to set up a short touchdown drive.

The top-line special teams summary goes like this: punter Brad Robbins successfully held the ball 9 times for PAT kicks, and was not asked to punt once.

In the return game, we saw A.J. Henning’s explosiveness, and his ceiling for making big plays is exciting. However, he was pulled after failing to catch a punt in the 2nd half, and Andrel Anthony was given the last few opportunities. Henning looked good, but needs to continue working on reading the ball as it goes into the air so he can get to the spot and make the catch. Onward!