Talking Michigan football, basketball, recruiting and anything else that Wolverine fans need to hear.
Even though it wasn't the smoothest process in the world, Jim Harbaugh is back in Ann Arbor. He's already back out on the recruiting trail doing what he does and it seems like he's poised to lead another extremely successful team in 2023. Unfortunately, Harbaugh's flirtation with the NFL, Michigan's looming NCAA violation punishment and now co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss' legal trouble have the Wolverines looking like a flailing program in the offseason. Fortunately, it likely won't matter come September. Michigan is poised to run through the Big Ten, including Ohio State, again. The Wolverines are two to three deep at most positions, but there are some questions marks at wide receiver and cornerback. However, the strengths everywhere else are so strong, it might not matter. We're eight full months away from football starting back up, but it's already fun to talk about a three-peat.
We're now two weeks removed from Michigan's unfortunate loss to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal, and instead of watching U-M's momentum build and build after a phenomenal season, we're witnessing more turmoil and uncertainty when it comes to head coach Jim Harbaugh's future with the program. Harbaugh did a virtual interview with the Denver Broncos on Monday and is now in a bit of wait-and-see mode. The Broncos reportedly want Sean Payton above all others, but Harbaugh is right there. Payton is interviewing with the Broncos on Tuesday, so it'll likely be Wednesday at the earliest until we hear anything about what Harbaugh might be doing.
Jim Harbaugh has every right to look around for a better situation for himself and his family. Over the last three seasons, he's made it pretty clear that an opportunity in the NFL would be one of those situations. In 2020, no NFL teams wanted him after the uninspiring 2020 season that ended with a 2-4 record. Last year, after beating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten and making it to the College Football Playoff, a few teams seemed interested, including the Minnesota Vikings, who actually flew him out, on National Signing Day, for a job interview that Harbaugh thought he had already aced. He didn't, so he returned to Michigan. All he did was follow up with an undefeated regular season, another win over Ohio State and another Big Ten title before making the CFP. Now, he's looking at the NFL again. It's not that he's looking, it's that he's looking after saying he wouldn't. Adamantly. So instead of riding massive waves of momentum, and using the 2021 and 2022 seasons to build on, Harbaugh and his assistant coaches are instead doing damage control and putting out fires. Instead of signing one of the best recruiting classes in the country, prospects are looking elsewhere because of the perceived uncertainty in Ann Arbor. We'll probably get some answers soon, as Harbaugh prepares to interview with the Denver Broncos this week, but it's completely up to him as to how long all of this is going to take.
For the first part of the podcast, it's all about Jim Harbaugh and his future. Will it be at Michigan? Will it be somewhere in the NFL? After just going through this last year for more than a month at the detriment of his own program, Harbaugh is once again feeling things out with the NFL. That's obviously his prerogative, but it's not a good look and continues to hurt the very thing that he has built. Once we navigate that topic, we discuss a trio of defensive transfers, which allows us to discuss the depth on Michigan's roster. When semi-productive, fifth-year guys are leaving, there's obviously a reason. The same can be said for someone who just finished their true freshman season. Throw in a tiny bit of basketball talk and some more discussion about the game against TCU and you have the most recent episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
At least 10 Michigan players and both pairs of coordinators talked with the media during the week of preparation for the Fiesta Bowl and all had something interesting to say. Each player and coordinator sat behind a microphone for more than 30 minutes giving media members plenty of time to ask all types of questions. Mike Morris complimented TCU quarterback Max Duggan. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter talked about the importance of adjustments. JJ McCarthy shared that he listens to Bob Marley almost exclusively while preparing to play. Ronnie Bell spoke about his little brother Kendrick officially becoming a Wolverine last week. Olu Oluwatimi did a little bit of reflecting on his choice to become a Michigan Man. The list goes on and on.
Christmas is now in the rearview mirror and we're inside of a week until Michigan's playoff game against TCU. Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines arrived in Arizona on Monday evening to some excited folks and a pretty legitimate welcoming committee consisting of fans, bowl reps, members of the media and even the official mascot of the Fiesta Bowl. Now that the Wolverines are here, it's time to get to work. Some of that work will include practices throughout the week ahead of Saturday's game. Harbaugh said that practices back in Ann Arbor have gone well in preparation for the bowl this week, but now that they're on location, the Wolverines need to lock all the way in and focus on the Horned Frogs. The team is likely already there, which should come has no surprise given how they have prepared and performed all season. Now, we're just five days away from see it potentially pay off.
Today marks the early, December edition of National Signing Day that has essentially become the National Signing Day as somewhere between 70 and 80% of recruits put pen to paper and officially sign with the team of their choice. For Michigan, it was a relatively quite day aside from landing two top-200 prospects in wide receiver Karmello English and cornerback Jyaire Hill. Once the dust settled on the first day of the period, Michigan sat at No. 17 nationally with 23 signees. As for the current Wolverines, we're still all really excited to watch them take the field against TCU. So many people are curious about the matchups, especially the ones that involve Michigan's running game and TCU's rush defense. Most expect Donovan Edwards to have a big day and for U-M to improve to 14-0 and advance to the national title game.
In the first ever matchup between Michigan and TCU, many see the Wolverines being too much for the Horned Frogs. Whether it's Michigan's running game against a porous TCU rush defense, or U-M's multifaceted pass rush against a TCU offensive line that can get pushed around a bit, it seems like a tough draw for the Horned Frogs. Still, the games aren't played on paper, so everyone is anxious to see how things play out on December 31 in Arizona. On a player by player basis, there are some intriguing comparisons. Obviously Max Duggan and JJ McCarthy aren't on the field at the same time, but how they each perform will be crucial to their respective teams' success. With Michigan's defense, it's about each player stepping up and rising to the occasion. There isn't any one guy that has to shine, but all 11 need to be sharp. Perhaps the most important part of Michigan's defense on that day, will be the secondary and covering TCU's talented receivers. However it plays out, it's going to be fun.
As the entire world gets ready to tune into bowl season, the Michigan Wolverines are two weeks away from taking on the Horned Frogs of TCU in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff. Most people still see U-M as the heavy favorite in the game, but as we discuss, TCU is no push over. We also talk about a potential matchup with both Ohio State or Georgia, which are both very intriguing matchups for different reasons. With Georgia, they're the team who eliminated Michigan from the playoffs last year. With Ohio State...well, Michigan fans everywhere understand what that matchup would look like.
Michigan is definitely dealing with the transfer portal right now, in both directions. Second-year defensive lineman George Rooks his decided to leave Michigan, while U-M is still entertaining targets from other schools who have decided to jump into the portal themselves. We also talk about Cade McNamara's appearance on a podcast that makes his departure look worse than it once did. On the field, we take a deep look at TCU as a team overall and really focus on the play and approach by quarterback Max Duggan. The seasoned veteran finished second in the Heisman voting and has shown that he'll lay it all on the line for his team. Still, TCU is goin to have its hands FULL against a physically dominant and confident Michigan team. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan is absolutely rolling in 2022. The biggest opponents on the schedule all got served by more than 20 points and the same thing happened to Purdue in the Big Ten Championship. Next up is TCU in the first round of the CFP in the Fiesta Bowl out in Arizona. Everyone paying attention sees Michigan as the favorite and that flat out feels like the easy pick right now. Of course, TCU was undefeated until last week as well. They've had many more scares, and aren't quite as talented as Michigan across the board, but they can play. Still, U-M just feels like a team of destiny this year and JJ McCarthy seems to have the "it" factor that's been missing at the QB position for several years. Jim Harbaugh and his staff have been masterful all year and are now just two wins away from being national champs.
In what should've been a busy week because of the upcoming Big Ten Championship game, the news cycle was instead flooded by breaking news. Michigan's star running back Blake Corum will be getting surgery on his left knee that will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Former U-M quarterback Cade McNamara announced his transfer to Iowa. And finally, Michigan captain and starting defensive tackle Mazi Smith is now facing weapons charges after being pulled over with a gun in the car in an incident that took place all the way back in October. Michigan is obviously playing a huge game on Saturday, but instead these items dominated the headlines. On the field, Michigan is favored by 16.5 points over Purdue and is expected to handle the Boilers. Michigan's rushing attack, even without Corum, should be effective as should JJ McCarthy through the air after picking up a ton of confidence against the Buckeyes in Columbus.
Michigan is sitting at 12-0 and is basically a lock to play in the College Football Playoff. But first, U-M will head to Indianapolis to defend its Big Ten title against Purdue. The Wolverines are 16.5-point favorites against the Boilermakers and have the makeup to make it a long night for the fellas from West Lafayette. Michigan is supremely stout up front, as evidenced by first-team All-Big Ten members Trevor Keegan, Olu Oluwatimi and Zak Zinter at left guard, center and right guard respectively, and have the best back in the Big Ten in Blake Corum running behind them. Of course, Corum is dinged up and may not play, but Donovan Edwards did just fine against Ohio State in Corum's absence. Throw in a confident and now proven JJ McCarthy, and it feels like it's going to be a rough one for Purdue.
Michigan absolutely beat down Ohio State. Nothing more needs to be said. Now, it's about getting ready for Purdue in the Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines are favored by 16.5 points over the Boilermakers and should be able to cover. Purdue is 8-4 with losses to Penn State, Syracuse, Wisconsin and Iowa. Michigan is 12-0 and handled both Penn State and Iowa over the course of the season. Obviously the transitive property doesn't work in football, but the Wolverines are expected to roll. We talk about the beatdown in Columbus, the matchup against Purdue, Michigan's talented roster and of course, Jim Harbaugh, as he prepares to add another trophy to the case.
It's finally here. When the 2022 season kicked off, everyone already had the showdown in Columbus circled because of how things played out in 2021 and because it's "The Game". It's unlikely that everyone thought it would be 11-0 vs. 11-0, No. 2 vs. No. 3 or so important to the Big Ten title and College Football Playoff pictures, but here we are. Jim Harbaugh and Ryan Day have both been pretty tight lipped this week, so it's time to let the play do the talking. As for the teams actually taking the field, there are a lot of question marks. Michigan is banged up at several key positions, including at running back with both Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards dealing with pretty significant injuries, at least for their position. Ohio State's backs are also a little dinged up, but they don't lean on the running game like Michigan does. However you slice it, this year's version of "The Game" is a massive one and everyone is anxious for kickoff.
It's THE GAME...nothing more needs to be said. Especially this year, with both teams being 11-0 and Ohio State sitting at No. 2, Michigan at No. 3. The winner of this game will represent the East in the Big Ten title game and will also punch its ticket to the College Football Playoff. Giddy up!!!
It's here. It's "The Game" week. It's Michigan vs. Ohio State. It's 11-0 against 11-0. It's No. 2 vs. No. 3. Trips to the Big Ten Championship game and the College Football Playoff are on the line. To say that this weekend's game between U-M and OSU is huge is a monstrous understatement. Jim Harbaugh spoke about the matchup and called it the meeting of two "superheroes" as he heaped praise onto the Buckeyes. We know how Harbaugh really feels about that team down south, but he kept it respectful at the microphone. In the locker room, it's probably a different story, which is totally fine. Between Ohio State's banged up running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, and U-M's own pair of injured ball carries Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, everyone is really interested in how the offenses will look. Of course, much of the game will probably come down to how CJ Stroud performs with his stable of talented receivers against how JJ McCarthy operates as he tries to clean some recent issues up. However it plays out, it's going to be massive, entertaining and certainly influential as it pertains to the conference and the playoff picture.
Michigan is a big favorite over Illinois, which would make the Wolverines 11-0 ahead of the massive showdown against Ohio State. Everyone knows that the Illini are up first, but there's nothing wrong with putting some attention on the Buckeyes. That game is going to be massively important and for all the marbles. It would be silly not to talk about it. It doesn't matter if you talk about Michigan taking on Illinois or The Game, the discussions are pretty similar. Michigan wants to run the ball and should be able to. It hasn't mattered who the opponent has been this year, the U-M run game has been successful and Blake Corum has been productive. Whether it's Illinois tomorrow, or Ohio State next week, the game plan is going to be the same. We talk about that and much more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
After speaking with Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, it's not hard to understand why this team is so good. Both coaches are sharp, detail-oriented, focused and highly organized. After hearing both of them speak, you get the sense that they absolutely know what they're doing and have every intention in putting their guys in a position to succeed. Have things been perfect on both side of the ball this year? Obviously not. But, Moore and Minter are chasing perfection as well as any coaching duo in the country. As for the rest of the Wolverines, it's all about Illinois this week. Obviously that matchup with Ohio State looms very large, the Illini aren't scrubs. They will roll into Ann Arbor with one of the better defenses in the country and the nation's leading rusher in Chase Brown ready to tote it alongside Blake Corum. Brown is a little dinged, and certainly hasn't seen a defense like Michigan's, but he and his teammates can't be slept on. With that said, I see the Wolverines covering the large 18-point spread as the march to 12-0 continues.
As Michigan sits at 10-0 with 11-0 looking inevitable, it's a fun time to be a U-M fan and honestly, a fun time to cover the team. Even though U-M's record is perfect thus far, the on-field play has not been and that's what everyone seems to be talking about. The run game is dominant, but the passing game definitely is not. Blake Corum is on his way to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, while the talented wide receivers are barely leaving an impact on the games. It's a very intriguing juxtaposition, which makes for some fantastic discussion. At the end of the day, Michigan is undefeated. Only three teams can say that and one of them resides in Columbus. As U-M prepares for Illinois this weekend, all eyes are already on the much anticipated showdown with Ohio State. That game is going to be between two 11-0 teams, sitting at No. 2 and No. 3, with trips to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship and to the College Football Playoff on the line. How freakin awesome is that?!
Michigan fans have got to be pretty happy right now. The No. 3 Wolverines are 9-0 with 11-0 looking like a certainty. Blake Corum is arguably the best running back in the country and will probably be in New York for the Heisman ceremony, barring an unexpected decrease in production. And the showdown in Columbus at the end of November is looking more and more winnable with each passing week. And even with all of that, it still feels like the Wolverines can be even better. In order to talk about all of those end-of-season goals, we have to talk about this weekend's game against Nebraska and next week's game against Illinois, which both seem like guaranteed wins at this point. Nebraska is just 3-6 with wins over North Dakota, Indiana and Rutgers only. Illinois, who looked like the class of the Big Ten West, just lost to a Michigan State team that got handled by the Wolverines a couple weeks ago. Nothing in college football is guaranteed, but everyone in maize and blue is feeling pretty good right now.
Michigan is one of just four undefeated teams left in college football and yet, they still have some things to work on. Once in a while the offense bogs down in the Red Zone and the first half performances have been decent but do not compare to how dominant the Wolverines have been after halftime. If those two areas improve, this team can absolutely win a national title. Before any of that, however, the Wolverines will take on Nebraska this weekend, Illinois next and then Ohio State to close out the regular season. While discussing the big picture, we also dive into the emergence of Mike Barrett and Michigan's dominant defense in general, Blake Corum's Heisman campaign, the spread and expectations for this weekend's game against Nebraska and which Michigan player would win a hot dog eating contest. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
It didn't start off well against Rutgers, as evidenced by Michigan's three-point halftime deficit, but a 38-0, second-half beatdown ended up being beyond convincing and puts Michigan at 9-0 during a wild weekend of college football. No. 1 Tennessee lost, No. 4 Clemson lost and No. 6 Alabama lost, which should pave the way for U-M to roll into the top four with ease. Even though it took the Wolverines a little time to get going, a few mainstays once again showed up in a big way. Running back Blake Corum, along with his buddy Donovan Edwards, got very loose against the Scarlet Knights. The one-two punch ran for 109 yards apiece and accounted for three touchdowns. They seem to be peaking at the right time. On the defensive side of the ball, Jesse Minter once again, made some major adjustments at the break and blanked the Scarlet Knights in the second stanza. The Wolverines just keep on winning and should continue to do so during its next two home games against Nebraska and Illinois.
Michigan is favored by a whopping 25.5 points against Rutgers. Obviously the game is in Piscataway, and Michigan is reportedly going to be without several key players, but U-M is still expected to roll. With how U-M has been physically dominating teams, it's not surprising. How will it look against the Scarlet Knights? That remains to be seen, but it'll likely be a heavy dose of Blake Corum with a sprinkling of JJ McCarthy making some plays. On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan should be just fine even if a key player like Mazi Smith is out. Rutgers simply doesn't have enough talent to challenge the Wolverines even in their own house. However Michigan can get a win, they'll gladly do it and move to 9-0 in the process. At this point, we know what Michigan is and Rutgers doesn't have what it takes to combat that.
With Michigan sitting at No. 5 in the first round of the College Football Playoff rankings, U-M fans everywhere are excited for the next three games. Of course after that, it's the HUGE showdown with Ohio State in late-November, which literally could be a top-two or top-three matchup. With No. 1 Tennessee and No. 3 Georgia playing this weekend, it's almost certain that U-M will be in the top four next week. Then after that, a few more home games, and then the Bucks. Of course, Rutgers played U-M tough in Ann Arbor last year, so even though the Wolverines are favored by more than 25 points against the Scarlet Knights, business must be handled in New Jersey this weekend. If Michigan plays up to its potential, and continues to dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball, they'll be 9-0 this weekend with two home games remaining before The Game. There's obviously a lot to talk about surrounding U-M's last four games, which is why Fan-Led Wednesday was such a hit.
Michigan got a big 29-7 win over Michigan State on Saturday night, but the entire contest was overshadowed by what happened in the tunnel after the game. Michigan cornerbacks Ja'Den McBurrows and Gemon Green were assaulted by numerous Michigan State players in the tunnel, which has resulted an investigation and charges being pressed. Jim Harbaugh and Mel Tucker both spoke about the incident on Monday afternoon and the messaging could not have been more different. We also talk about Michigan's offense, which is dominating teams while at the same time struggling in the red zone. It's a weird conundrum, but the Wolverines are 8-0 and rolling. The offense is a machine, but it bogs down once close to the end zone too often. So far, it hasn't hurt them, even a little bit, but everyone already has an eye on that massive showdown in late-November.
Even though Michigan is expected to win by quite a bit on Saturday, U-M fans everywhere still have a lot of questions about the Spartans, how the game might go and ultimately, what the final score will be. Some see Sunday getting out of hand in favor of the Wolverines, others think it will be close because, well, it always seems to be when Paul Bunyan is on the line. Whichever camp you're in, you're excited about Saturday. We also address the topic that's been at the forefront of our minds all season — Michigan's offense. On one hand, the running game has been dominant, Blake Corum has been special and Michigan is 7-0 and rolling. On the flip side, JJ McCarthy hasn't been asked to do much and has a pretty pedestrian stat line through seven games. If McCarthy needs to wing it 40+ times for more than 300 yards and some clutch late throws and scores, can he do it? Ability wise, yes, but it's more than that. It might not surface this weekend, but it might in late November.
Jim Harbaugh doesn't usually subscribe to clichés in the football world, but even he used the famous, "throw out the records," trope when referencing this weekend's matchup against Michigan State. The Spartans are just 3-4 on the year but everyone in The Great Lakes State knows what happens when these two teams get together. Paul Bunyan has been in East Lansing for a while so bringing him back to Ann Arbor is all Harbaugh and his guys can think about. We also take some inventory after the first seven games. Even though we're technically past the halfway point of the season, it felt like a good time to breakdown everything we've seen from the Wolverines so far given the fact that the team just enjoyed a bye week. We look at Blake Corum's season so far, JJ McCarthy's first campaign as a starter, the wide receiver group and the defense, of course. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan hit the bye work unblemished and relatively healthy, but it's always good to grab a break ahead of a big rivalry week even if Michigan State isn't very good. The 2022 version of MSU doesn't have Kenneth Walker III and sits at just 3-4. Still, Michigan fans know that the records don't matter, as cliche as it sounds. Don't look at 7-0 vs. 3-4, look at maize and blue versus green and white at night. It's going to be fun. Fans have already started asking about the Spartans just in case. No Michigan fans seem worried, but everyone knows about Mel Tucker's 2-0 record against Jim Harbaugh and those same fans know that Sparty is going to treat this week as their Super Bowl. They don't have much left to play for, so spoiling U-M's season might be it for them.
Besides the dominant win over Penn State, there is plenty to talk about in the Michigan market. Former Michigan hooper Jordan Poole cashed in on a massive contract, the kickoff time for the Michigan State game was officially announced by the program and James Franklin...had a day in Ann Arbor. With so much going on in the Michigan world of sports, we had plenty to talk about before we even got to the Penn State game. Once our attention shifted to Michigan's win over the Nittany Lions, though, we really hit our stride. The running game was absolutely dominant, JJ McCarthy was very efficient once again and the Wolverine defense under the guidance of Jesse Minter kept PSU in check all day long. At the end of the contest, Michigan was up by 24 points and sitting at 7-0.
This weekend's tilt between No. 5 Michigan and No. 10 Penn State is a big one in the Big Ten East and nationally when it comes to the College Football Playoff picture. Obviously there's a lot of football still left to play, but whoever wins on Saturday is going to be sitting pretty for a little while as the first round of CFP rankings are just a couple weeks out. When it comes to the Nittany Lions, Michigan fans have a lot of questions. How good and how effective can Sean Clifford be against U-M's defense? Will the front four be able to get home against Clifford? How good is running back Nick Singleton and can he pop off big runs agains Michigan like he has just about everyone else? On defense, just how good is Penn State? They have some dudes over there, but they haven't seen anyone like Michigan — what's that going to look like? We address all of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Well, for fans of Wolverine Digest and The Winged Helmet, we have quite an update when it comes to Rosie, our motorhome turned command center, the last two weeks or so and everything we've been up to as we build toward the biggest football game of the season. It's been a journey, and we're happy to share it with you.
Jim Harbaugh and Co. are 5-0 and likely on their way to 6-0 with a matchup against Indiana on the horizon. The Hoosiers pose a few problems but got blown out by Cincinnati a few weeks ago and lost by 14 points against a hapless Nebraska team last week. Michigan is favored by a lot and expected to roll in Bloomington. With Blake Corum carrying the ball like he is, and JJ McCarthy and his receivers potentially ready to take a big step forward, Michigan could be getting ready to operate at full strength as we near the midpoint of the college football season. We discuss all of that on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan is now 5-0 after beating Iowa in Iowa City and looking toward 6-0 with a matchup against Indiana in Bloomington coming up this weekend. The Hoosiers love to throw it around, which can be tricky in another team's house, but Michigan is expected to win by quite a bit. It's going to be interesting to see how the Wolverines prepare for IU after the trip to Kinnick and ahead of the big time matchup against Penn State. Obviously a lot of Michigan's success depends on JJ McCarthy's continued development. The young quarterback was solid against Iowa, but not necessarily lights out and yet, Michigan got a 13-point win inside of a venue where that just doesn't happen. How will things look for McCarthy on the road this weekend and against the best team not named Ohio State next week? We're all very anxious to get the answer to that question.
Michigan is 1-0 in the Big Ten after hanging on to beat Maryland and will now be tested in a major way this weekend in Iowa City. The Wolverines haven't won inside Kinnick Stadium since 2005 and it's going to be tough again. Iowa isn't lethal on offense, but they are on defense. Jim Harbaugh knows it, the offensive coordinators know it and JJ McCarthy is about to find out as he prepares for his first road start. McCarthy's performance on Saturday will be key, but everyone else needs to be sharp as well. Iowa doesn't make many mistakes and capitalizes on most made by their opponent. Earlier today, Harbaugh mentioned that in several different ways, as did Zak Zinter, Rod Moore and Kris Jenkins. Everyone seems to full understand what this weekend is all about, and why wouldn't they, after winning several big games on the road last year and taking Iowa apart in the Big Ten Championship game. All of that, plus 40+ minutes of burning questions, on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan was supposed to beat Maryland going away, but that didn't happen. Instead, Michigan won just 34-27 and the Terps actually had a chance to recover an onside kick at the end of the game. JJ McCarthy was solid but not electric and he also showed some signs of being a young, first-time starting quarterback. Blake Corum, on the other hand, was absolutely incredible. The 5-8, 210-pounder carried it 30 times for 243 yards and two scores and was the biggest reason Michigan came away victorious. Next up for Michigan is a road game against Iowa. Heading to Iowa City for a showdown with the Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium is always tough and that figures to be the case next weekend. Iowa's offense has struggled, and Michigan is more talented, but college football can get weird in a hurry. We talk about all of that after making our way back to the Command Center.
Michigan is sitting at 3-0 and hasn't been challenged, so everyone is anxious to see the Wolverines now that Big Ten play is upon us. Of course, Maryland isn't expected to challenge Michigan much, but Taulia Tagovailoa can sling it, there are athletes at the skill positions and it's a conference game that Mike Locksley and his squad would LOVE to win. All of that creates some intrigue even though U-M is supposed to win comfortably. So with conference play comes true tests. We all expect to see the starters well beyond halftime and possibly deep into the fourth quarter. If that happens, what will it look like? Everyone is curious about a four-quarter JJ McCarthy stat line and Jesse Minter's defense, that has been absolutely dominant, hasn't been tested yet. What kind of a test will Maryland provide? We'll all see soon enough...
Some Michigan State fans and media members just can't handle the fact that Michigan is 3-0 after watching their precious Spartans take it on the chin in Seattle over the weekend. Because of that, all they can do is talk about Michigan's soft schedule and then hope and pray that U-M isn't as good as they appear to be. Luckily for everyone, Big Ten play starts this weekend as Michigan will host Maryland, which should give the maize and blue a chance to shut some folks up at least a little bit. We also discuss the lack of production from a loaded wide receiver room after we learned that the receivers in that room aren't too pumped about their usage. Once through that, hundreds of fan-led questions push us well past an hour as we hunker down for another episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan has been quite dominant through three weeks albeit against vastly inferior opponents. Even though each team that came to the Big House was outmatch, the Wolverines did what they were supposed to do. Jim Harbaugh's squad is leading the country with 55.3 points scored per game and is only giving up 5.7 points per contest. To put it bluntly — Michigan is rolling. As U-M gets ready to kick off Big Ten play, there are still some questions to answer. What's this offense going to look like when it really opens up? How will JJ McCarthy truly be utilized? There's only one ball and so many weapons...can they all eat? Is the defense really this good? Can the new faces on defense generate a consistent pass rush? What happens when the secondary is truly challenged? All of those questions are there as U-M gets ready to take on better athletes on better teams.
As expected, Michigan absolutely dominated UConn to the tune of 59-0. Junior running back Blake Corum found the end zone five times and the Wolverines made several impact plays in all three phases of the game. AJ Henning returned a punt for a touchdown, Caden Kolesar blocked a punt and Brad Robbins looked like one of the more powerful and accurate punters in the country. It's also worth noting that Michigan played over 100 players and at least seven quarterbacks. Freshmen galore saw action and just about everyone who entered the game made their way into the box score. With the Wolverines sitting at an easily attained 3-0, everything gets real next week as Big Ten play starts. The Wolverines will host Maryland at noon next Saturday.
Now that we all know who Michigan's starter is, we're anxious to see him in action again. JJ McCarthy showed everyone that he's definitely the guy in his first career start last week against Hawaii, and now he's preparing to lead the team against UConn. The Huskies aren't much better than Hawaii according to the spread, which is currently at 47.5, so it's unclear how much McCarthy will actually play. Nevertheless, people are more and more excited about watching No. 9 against UConn and for the rest of the season. We're also anxious to see how the defense looks in week three. In week one, it was a sack party. Last week, Michigan only got home once, which was mostly due to Hawaii's game plan. There simply wasn't enough time for pass rushers to get to the quarterback. So now that we've seen two extremes, what will it look like against UConn? That's what we're all wondering. Throw in some discussion about Cade McNamara, Roman Wilson and the coaching through two weeks, and you have the latest episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Michigan fans now know that JJ McCarthy will be running the show on offense as the starting quarterback. He played 11 snaps against Colorado State and flashed some greatness as a runner, then played 27 snaps against Hawaii in his first start and was basically flawless as a signal caller. Now, he'll run the offense against a 47-point underdog in UConn. Michigan fans everywhere are anxious to watch No. 9 play again. We also talk about Cade McNamara's future at Michigan or possibly elsewhere, the plethora of weapons at McCarthy's disposal and how much we'll see from them and obviously the defense, which has been pretty damn impressive through two weeks, albeit against inferior opponents. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
So it turns out, JJ McCarthy is really good at football and easily won the starting quarterback job after his first start. Now, The McCarthy Era is officially upon us as the young sophomore has two more games to get things tightened up before heading to Iowa for the first road game of the season. McCarthy didn't get to practice during the spring due to a shoulder injury and was apparently neck and neck with Cade McNamara throughout fall camp. Now, he's clearly far better than McNamara and ready to lead the Wolverines into the meat of the 2022 schedule. We also discuss Cade's future. Last year's starter did lead Michigan to a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. He didn't stuff the stat sheet in the process, but he was still the starter and played clean, efficient football. So now we'll all wait and see what McNamara wants to do. All of that, plus some of Jim Harbaugh's words from his Monday press conference on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
It's almost here — JJ McCarthy's first start. Even if you're a member of "Team Cade", as a Michigan fan you have to be curious about what McCarthy can do. Against Hawaii, he should be able to do whatever he wants. McNamara was up and down at best last week, while McCarthy did some nice things in just 11 snaps. Now, he's likely going to play at least a half of football, which should be more than enough to show what he can do. On the flip side of the ball, Jesse Minter's defense is going to try to improve on last week's 7-sack performance. Michigan is going to be better than Hawaii, by a solid margin, at every position on the field. If McCarthy can shine, and the defense can dominate like they did last week, Michigan might just cover the massive 51.5-point spread and roll into week three with No. 9 as the true starter at quarterback. The game won't be competitive, but it should be intriguing for several reasons.
Jim Harbaugh has approached his quarterback battle in a unique way, but it feels like he's being accused of doing something that he's not really doing. Too many people view what Harbaugh is doing as turning his back on Cade McNamara, when in reality he's just trying to play the best guy, which is exactly what he's supposed to do. I will admit, giving Cade the start in week one, and JJ McCarthy the start in week two, is a little unorthodox, but it's not like he's cutting McNamara and forcing him to move out of the country. He gave Cade a shot last week and Cade didn't deliver. Now it's JJ's turn and we're all waiting anxiously. We also discuss Mike Hart's comments about recruiting, what the game is going to be like under the lights, what uniform combination the Wolverines might wear and how Mike Elston uses his defensive linemen. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
So far, the 2022 season feels a lot like the 2021 season. Michigan won in dominant fashion, we some some good things out of pretty much everyone, yet we find ourselves a little confused as to what the ceiling ultimately is for this team. Of course, we're still trying to figure out what's going to happen at quarterback too, even though it feels like it's time for JJ McCarthy. Plus, we answer the tough questions. Did Cade McNamara start his last game at Michigan? How would we each grade Jesse Minter's first game as U-M's defensive coordinator? How many sacks can this team record each week? How freakin good is Mike Sainristil? All that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
Cade McNamara got the start against Colorado State, but he didn't exactly light it up. JJ McCarthy, on the other hand, did in just 11 snaps of action. The dynamic sophomore went a modest 4-for-4 through the air for 30 yards but added a career high 50 yards rushing and a score on three carries. Now, McCarthy is in line to start against Hawaii and everyone is assuming that he's never going to look back.
With just a few days left until Michigan's 2022 season starts, it's time to start taking a look at the Colorado State Rams. The Rams aren't nearly as talented as Michigan but they are expected to throw the ball a ton under new head coach Jay Norvell. Because of that, things could get interesting for U-M on defense. Defending such a pass-heavy team can be tricky, but it can also be a great learning experience and a chance for Michigan's new pass rushers and veteran cornerbacks to shine. Sprinkle in some talented freshmen like Will Johnson, Mason Graham and Derrick Moore and you have what could be a very entertaining game even if it does get out of hand. Plus, we take on dozens and dozens of fan-generated questions. From stat predictions, to breakout players, to questions about the RV and even some discussion about who would win a quarterback battle between Chris and Brandon, the fan-led portion of the podcast is now a staple of the Wednesday night show. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
It's game week and Jim Harbaugh is dishing out information like never before. He's dropping the entire depth chart, explaining his decisions about the quarterback battle by referencing bible verses and confirming, over and over, that no one knows what the future holds. His game week media availability was a little odd, but it's pretty obvious that Harbaugh knows that he's got a great team and a very realistic chance at repeating at Big Ten champs. It's also game week for us, which means the return of TFG, Burning Questions and some discussion about this weekend's game, obviously. We also unveil something that should be a game changer for The Winged Helmet and Wolverine Digest, and might just take everything we do to another level. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
As NIL continues to evolve and ramp up, Michigan finds itself struggling to keep up with some of the more aggressive programs across the country. Juwan Howard himself has questioned what's going on in Ann Arbor as he and coaches like Jim Harbaugh try to compete on the recruiting trail against schools doing NIL in a much bigger way. We also talk about the quarterback battle again as we approach Michigan's season opener. It's starting to feel like Cade McNamara's job almost exclusively, which brings up a lot of interesting talking points. All that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.
We're now just over two weeks away from Michigan's 2022 season kicking off and Jim Harbaugh is feeling good. He spoke to the media for the first time this fall after 10 or 11 practices and had many positive things to say about his team. Of course, he spoke at length about the quarterback battle and his revamped defense, but he also told a pretty cool story about Michael Phelps and actually named a fall camp MVP so far. We also got a chance to sit down with Juwan Howard last week and the head basketball coach had some really interesting things to say about NIL at the University of Michigan. Name, image and likeness has now been a part of college athletics for more than a year, yet U-M is still dragging its feet. Why? No one seems to know, not even Juwan. We discuss those things and excitedly bring back a fan favorite — TFG. All of that and more on this episode of The Wolverine Digest Podcast.