$1.8 million. That’s how much money it took to get the UConn Huskies football team to visit the “Big House” Ann Arbor to take on the No. 4 Michigan. The game was about as competitive as you’d expect, given that one team was paid to play the other. Without much trouble, the Wolverines pulled out the easy victory, winning 59-0, thanks to Blake Corum’s five touchdown rushes and an injury-ridden Husky squad.
Michigan won the initial toss and took the ball to start. Four plays later, UConn lost the lead and never got it back, courtesy of a Corum 20 yard touchdown run. This will become a recurring theme throughout this recap. The Huskies got the ball and managed a hard-fought 3 yards on their first three plays, punting the ball right back to the Wolverines.
To the surprise of many, the next Michigan drive didn’t result in points. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy gained seven on a pass, but lost a combined five yards on the next two plays, forcing punter Brad Robbins to make an unexpected punt in just the first quarter. Quarterback Zion Turner and the offense didn’t make the Wolverines pay though, getting just one first down and then punting the ball right back.
Michigan took all of four minutes to drive all the way down the field, finishing it off yet again with Corum waltzing into the end zone. UConn’s responding drive saw freshman running back Victor Rosa get involved, rushing once for no gain and then fumbling the pigskin on a handoff. Michigan got the ball on the Huskies 22, but a strong stand by the Connecticut defense saw the Wolverines only net three points on the drive, taking a 17 point lead into the second quarter.
UConn gave the ball back after five plays, but wasn’t able to effectively convert on the punt, getting it blocked, starting the Wolverine drive already in the red zone. Three plays later, Corum notched his third score of the game. The teams traded punts, giving the Huskies the ball back at their own four. Rosa and Carter got UConn all the way to a fourth and one, but they had to punt it away deep into their own territory. Even special teams were doing their part for Michigan, as A.J. Henning took the punt all 61 yards to the house to balloon the lead to 31-0.
Corum scored for a fourth time on the Wolverines’ next possession and the game was all but over before halftime. Despite this though, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh decided to go for a buzzer-beating, 62-yard field goal for good measure to close the half. It was no good.
The second half was both depressing and uneventful, with the Wolverines utilizing seven different quarterbacks, with each completing a pass. The Huskies gave backup Cale Millen some run under center, but he wasn’t particularly impressive, only connecting on one of four passes.
Michigan scored three more times in the contest, with Corum finishing with a career-high five touchdowns. In his first game as the clear starter, McCarthy finished 15/18 in the air, averaging north of 11 yards on each pass. He didn’t record any touchdowns, but still demonstrated why he deserved to be in there.
Carter only rushed six times for 21 yards, by far his worst outing of his sophomore campaign. He left early with a second degree shoulder separation, but returned to rush a few more times later in the game. It’s likely that if the game were closer, he would have been able to tough the injury out, but it wasn’t worthwhile to risk it in a game that was over in the first quarter. It remains to be seen if he will be available for next week’s game against NC State.
Ultimately, it’s hard to get too upset at the outcome of the game. UConn was paid nearly two million dollars to come and lose. They did just that. It’s too early in the Jim Mora era to get upset about losing this type of game in such a fashion. The next two weeks won’t get any easier, so strap in and try to enjoy whatever progress is visible in this gauntlet…