In some ways, what Blake Corum did Saturday afternoon didn’t seem special.
Michigan’s junior running back only touched the ball 12 times, exactly what he averaged in the first two weeks. He finished with 71 yards – and recorded just one run of more than a dozen yards – his fewest of his three games this year.
But then he was in the end zone; over and over and over and over again.
Corum’s five touchdowns were not only a career high, he tied the school record with Ron Johnson (1968) and Hassan Haskins (2021) when UM steamrolled Connecticut, 59-0, in their final non-conference game of the season.
“I haven’t heard from (Haskins) yet,” Corum said after the game with a laugh. “I’ll call him a little later.”
FORWARD:How Michigan’s JJ McCarthy fared in first start since winning QB Derby
RUNNING THE COMPETITION:Michigan ends its non-conference slate with a 59-0 dismantling of UConn
It’s been hard to learn about Michigan during the first three weeks, as it has combined to outscore opponents 103-0 over three first halves in an extremely weak non-conference schedule.
“I don’t know how good we are,” Corum said. “I feel we look good, but we haven’t faced any adversity yet. I can feel it. I think we will be great, but I can’t say yet.
“But I’ll tell you by the looks of things, the sky’s the limit for this offense.”
That said, it doesn’t mean some tests haven’t been done.
Fellow Michigan running back Donovan Edwards was in street clothes on the sideline during Saturday’s walk, indicating he was out for the game. It gave Corum a chance to show he can be a feature back.
After two passing plays to open the game found the Wolverines deep into Huskies territory, Corum ripped off an 8-yard gain before breaking up the left sideline for a 20-yard touchdown run just over two minutes into the game.
Exactly 10 minutes of game time later, Corum jumped up and over the pile from 1 yard out to extend the Wolverines’ lead to two scores.
That became a theme for Michigan’s 5-foot-8, 210-pound running back. He scored from 1 yard out twice more in the second quarter to help UM lead by 38 points at the break.
“People were like, ‘Dang, who’s going to be at shortstop?'” Corum said after the Week 1 win against Colorado State when outsiders questioned who would replace Haskins. “That’s why we lift weights. That’s why we put all that weight on the rack.”
Corum is the only Wolverine to run for four touchdowns in the first half of a game since Ed Shuttlesworth did so against Minnesota in 1972.
But even in his first opportunity to lead back other than as part of a one-two punch, he said he hasn’t changed his approach.
“My attitude is always the same,” Corum said. “I think I’m a hard runner. I don’t think I’m a first, second or third down back, I think I’m a full back. I think I can run hard, juke in space, fast as well.
“But my attitude is the same, I prepared the same, went into the week the same.”
Corum had 1,093 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago. He scored two touchdowns on 31 touches as a freshman.
But, like Corum, Michigan’s offense seems to be on another level.
Saturday’s final score was the eighth-largest margin of victory in program history and marked the first time Michigan has scored 50 or more points in its first three games of a season. Then again, none of the Wolverines’ first three opponents are undefeated Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Hawaii and Colorado State are winless, while Connecticut’s lone win came against Central Connecticut, a Football Championship Subdivision program.
So what does it mean, for Corum and the bigger picture?
“You can only play your schedule, you know? So we treat every game like it’s a championship game,” Corum said. “We’re just playing the schedule, we’re having fun, we’re out there playing handball.
“It’s great, but the Big Ten is in the way.”
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Michigan RB Blake Corum’s football career day comes easily