2022 Michigan Football — Playbook — Donovan Edwards 67 Yard TD Run

Let’s break down Donovan Edwards’ 67 yard TD run versus Penn State.

At the 11:30 mark of the 3rd quarter and Penn State leading 17-16, the Wolverines have a 1st and 10 at the 33 yard line. The Wolverines are trailing despite statistically dominating the first half, settling for two field goals while two fluky touchdown plays by Penn State brought the Nittany Lions back into the game.


At initial alignment, things look good for Michigan. They line up strong left and on the right side tight end has 86 Luke Schoonmaker has a good angle on the Penn State down lineman. If Michigan were to hand off or pitch to #7 Donovan Edwards, sweeping to the right, a nice gain seems possible.

But it wait, Michigan isn’t done yet- #7 Donovan Edwards move from behind QB JJ McCarthy and resets on his left. Michigan is overloaded to the left, strongly hinting the play will go that way to the wide side field.

Let’s take another look at the formation. From this angle you can see that #52 Karsen Barnhart and #86 Luke Schoonmaker have great angles to seal off the Penn State down lineman, potentially leaving #7 Donovan Edwards one-on-one with a Penn State edge defender.

Michigan has multiple options out of this formation, but with Edwards lined up in the backfield to the left, it seems like something is coming that way.


At the snap of the ball things start happening.

Michigan #18 Colston Loveland runs parallel to the line of scrimmage towards the left side the sideline. #1 Andrel Anthony and #8 Ronnie Bell match up with their respective defenders. This is important to freeze the Penn State Safety #16. It also causes Penn State #20 and second level defender to track Loveland, diverting them from the actual point of attack.

Next #76 Ryan Hayes engages #43- this is a key backside block with big implications as the play develops.

#77 Trevor Keegan, #52 Karsen Barnhart, and #86 Luke Schoonmaker perform seal blocks on the their respective defenders.

Then the hammer, Michigan pulls lineman #55 Ulu uluwatimi and #65 Zak Zinter to lead the way for #Donovan Edwards who takes the front hand off from QB JJ McCarthy and follows his pulling linemen to the point of attack.

#65 Zak Zinter blocks #4 Penn State while #23 Penn State inexplicably takes an inside path to the backfield, and Edwards is off to the races.

The image below shows the action:

(1) shows the Penn State safety distracted by the action on the left, not seeing that #76 Ryan Hayes (2) is blocking downfield, indicating a run play.

(3) shows the Michigan offensive lineman putting on a blocking clinic, while (4) shows Olu and Zinter pulling to clear the way for Edwards.

Below (3) shows Penn State #23 taking an inside angle into the backfield (where Edwards used to be), (2) shows #76 Ryan Hayes holding his block on #43, (3) shows the Penn State Safety #16 still not reacting the point of attack.

Now watch the play.

Linebacker #43 knows to key on the pulling guard (he’ll take you to the play) but #76 Ryan Hayes keeps him engaged while Edwards breaks through to the next level.

Penn State Safety (#16) recovers but takes a bad angle and Edwards makes him pay.

Donovan Edwards

Donovan Edwards and JJ McCarthy describing the 67 yard TD run.

A few notes here. This play shows how many things have to go right for Michigan (and wrong for Penn State) for Edwards to score this touchdown. What could have been 5 or 10 yard gain turns into a 67 yard TD run because a backside block by #76 Ryan Hayes and bad angle taken by Penn State #23.

In defense of Penn State #23, he did have 6″3′ and 307 pound Olu bearing down on him.

This play also shows how incredibly fast the Penn State defense is. #20 and #43 on the backside of the play recover to race Edwards to the endzone when he cuts back. Make no mistake, Penn State was out schemed on this play but their talent nearly bailed them out.

2022 Michigan Football — Playbook — Blake Corum’s 4th Down 33 Yard TD Run

Let’s break down Blake Corum’s 33 yard TD run in the 2nd quarter versus Maryland.

With 35 seconds remaining until halftime and Maryland leading 13-10, Michigan has a 4th and 1 at the 33 yard line. The Wolverines are lucky only to be trailing by 3 points, their sole TD compliments of a Maryland turnover on the opening kick-off.

To appreciate this 4th down conversion and TD you have to go back to the previous play. On 3rd down and 4 yards to go, Blake Corum ran for 3 yards to set up 4th and 1.

It’s important to note that Maryland has 3 timeouts remaining while Michigan has 1.
It seems that the Maryland defenders are expecting a timeout, but instead Michigan quickly sets up to attempt the 4th down conversion.

The Maryland defense is misaligned. They should have called timeout.

Their strength is away from Blake Corum- there’s no need to protect the wide side of the field away from him on 4th and short.

Let’s take a look from Corum’s perspective:

Michigan has the advantage formation wise but there’s no indication (yet) that this play is going to end up in the endzone.

But things go bad for Maryland after the snap of the ball, when their defenders collapse to stop an anticipated short dive for the first down.

Maryland safety #25 breaks in and away from Corum’s side of the field and #8 Ronnie Bell executes a great block on Maryland defensive back #4.

There’s nobody left to account for Blake Corum, who seeing the pile-up ahead of him bounces outside and scampers for a 33 yard 4th down conversion touchdown.

Blake Corum on his 33 yard TD run vs Maryland 2022
Blake Corum and JJ McCarthy describe what a happened on the 4th Down conversion that went for a TD

Michigan makes the extra point and heads into halftime leading 17-10 after being outplayed by Maryland for most of the first half.

This play is a great example of multiple defensive failures leading to a huge play for Michigan.

  • Maryland did not anticipate Michigan’s quick 4th down play call.
  • Maryland’s defense did not align correctly for the 4th down.
  • Maryland didn’t call time-out to properly prepare for the 4th down play.
  • Maryland’s left side end crashed in, leaving a lane for Blake Corum to run.
  • Maryland’s safety took himself out of the play by stepping in and away from Corum’s side of the field.

2021 Michigan Football — Playbook — Hand-Off — JJ McCarthy to Blake Corum

Let’s break down Michigan’s first touchdown in the Big Ten Championship versus Iowa.

Blake Corum had a blistering 67 yard touchdown run (with a little help from QB J.J McCarthy) that maybe would have been stopped if not for some blown assignments on the Iowa defense.

Blake Corum describes what he saw during the play


The Michigan offense lines up in the pistol formation on the right hashmark with QB #9 J.J. McCarthy and RB #2 Blake Corum in the backfield. WR #5 Mike Sainristil goes in motion from the left side of formation.

Michigan is targeting the right side of the Iowa defense, pre-snap there are good gaps for a running play and bringing WR #5 Mike Sainristil brings an extra blocker to the point of attack.


#2 Blake Corum takes the handoff from #9 J.J. McCarthy in the backfield.

Check out the Michigan offensive line- #77 Trevor Keegan and #68 Andrew Vastardis double team the Iowa down lineman in front of them, taking him out of the play. #65 Zak Zinter and #71 Andrew Steuber do the same to the down lineman in front of them.

At this point Iowa is in trouble- they have two defenders #44 and #28 to account for two Michigan players– TE #86 Luke Schoonmaker and WR #5 Mike Sainristil– and plenty of space for #2 Blake Corum to make some moves.

WR #5 Mike Sainristil comes in motion and ignores Iowa defensive end #92 as he crashes and takes himself out of the play. Sainristil heads downfield to block.

And here is where things go wrong from bad to worse for Iowa. Linebacker #44 steps up into the double team of #65 Zak Zinter and #71 Andrew Steuber taking himself out away from the point of attack. Linebacker #31 slides over and is in good position to stop Corum but inexplicably takes on #86 Luke Schoonmaker.

And Blake Corum is off to the races. Note the distance between Blake Corum and J.J. McCarthy. Now Blake had to slow down a bit to evade defenders but J.J made up an incredible amount of ground.

#Roman Wilson blocks a defender while #5 Mike Sainristil blocks for Blake Corum with J.J. McCarthy joining the attack.

#5 Mike Sainristil blocks #33.

#9 J.J. McCarthy places himself between a final Iowa defender, allowing Corum to score a touchdown.

Check out the clip below to see the entire play.



Corum took advantage of a few mis-steps by the Iowa defense and completes the scoring the play with the help of QB J.J. McCarthy whose hustle downfield makes the difference.

2021 Michigan Football — Playbook — Flea Flicker — Hassan Haskins to Cade McNamara to Mike Sainristil

Let’s break down Michigan’s 3rd Quarter Flea Flicker versus Ohio State in their 42-27 victory.

Michigan has shown the flea flicker before this season and here is another variation.


They line up strong right (tight end and twins) on the left hashmark #25 Hassan Haskins in the backfield to the right of Cade McNamara. #5 Mike Sainristil (the trailing twin to #14 Roman Wilson) goes in motion pre-snap.

Michigan is targeting #5 and #17 on the Ohio State defense.


#25 Hassan Haskins takes the handoff, freezing the Ohio State secondary and then flips the ball back to Cade McNamara.

Check out the Michigan offensive line- #76 Ryan Hayes and #77 Trevor Keegan seal the middle while #68 Andrew Vastardis drops back to block the Ohio State defensive end. #65 Zak Zinter and #84 Joel Honigford take on Ohio defenders while #25 Hassan Haskins and #71 Andrew Steuber provide moral support.

Cade McNamara has all day to make the pass.

McNamara throws a pass Sainristil and Michigan executes another flea flicker play (3:37 of the below clip). #5 on the Ohio State mirrors Sainristil but gets turned around as he breaks downfield.


McNamara slightly underthrows Sainristil or the play might have gone for a touchdown. But the impact on Ohio State can’t be overstated.

2021 Michigan Football — Playbook — Victory — Erick All 47 Yard TD Reception

Let’s break down the 47 yard touchdown pass from QB Cade McNamara to TE Erick All at the 3:40 mark of the 4th quarter.

TE Erick All describes the game winning TD.

It was a huge play for Michigan, coming back and taking the lead on the road at Penn State.


Here is the pre-snap look at the line of scrimmage. It’s 2nd and 10 yards to go, early in 4th quater. Michigan has the three receivers to the wide side of the field– as I’ve mentioned before, this is one of my favorite formations used by Josh Gattis. It gives the offense many options and causes coverage problems, if the offensive line can hold their blocks long enough for the receivers to run their routes. Penn State has their defense spread defending the edges, almost daring Michigan to run inside.

Here’s another angle showing the match-ups, and the Nittany Lions have a problem. They have overloaded their defense keying on #25 Hassan Haskins. #12 Cade McNamara knows that #83 Erick All will have an opportunity for a huge play if the offense line can hold.


As the play unfolds things go from bad to worse for Penn State. First, the Michigan offensive line holds, allowing all three receivers (#5 Mike Sainristil, #14 Roman Wilson, and #6 Cornelius Johnson) to run patterns to left side of the first, drawing their defenders with them.

Second, Penn State defender #4 who is mirroring #83 Erick All, runs into another defender giving All separation. #5 Sainstril has plenty of open field and even #12 McNamara could made a nice gain if he chose to run.

What happens next is when is everything goes right.

Not only was Michigan in great position we had two photographers covering the game and one was in perfect postion.

McNamara hits All as he crosses the formation, and Penn State defenders rush to pursue.

Photo by Dell Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM

#4 (who ran into another defender) attempting to shadow All had the best chance but he unable to catch him.

Photo by Dell Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM

#16 (playing deep safety) nearly forces All out of bound prior to end zone but he comes up short as well.

Photo by Dell Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM
Photo by Dell Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM
Photo by Dell Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM


This play shows how the overloading the formation to the wide side causes problems for Penn State.

Michigan called a great play, but it relied on the offensive line holding their blocks, All running a precise pattern, and McNamara throwing a ball right where it needed to go– not to mention a little luck with Penn State defenders running into each other.


Aidan Hutchinson shares his feeling for Cade McNamara

Not to be completely outdone, our other photographer got this great shot after the game.

Erick All, Josh Gattis, and Cade McNamara celebrating post game
Photo by Ryan Callihan/UMGoBlue.COM