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Week Four: Five Things We Learned About No. 4 Michigan

In what was supposed to be a lopsided contest to kickoff conference play, the No. 4 Wolverines found themselves in a four-quarter fist fight with the Maryland Terrapins.

1. JJ McCarthy is human.

JJ McCarthy, Roman Wilson, Blake Corum

This may come as a surprise to the vast majority of the Michigan fan base, but it turns out the JJ McCarthy is human after all - and Saturday may have provided a bit of insight into what made the quarterback battle so close during fall camp. 

Although McCarthy is a tremendous talent, he's still growing into the position and learning how to be a big time quarterback at a big time program. He missed on several deep balls, took a massive (avoidable) hit and fumbled the ball twice. 

On the flip side, McCarthy finished his afternoon completing 18-of-26 for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns - bringing his season total to 48-of-60 for 693 yards and five touchdowns (with zero interceptions). As a comparison, veteran QB Cade McNamara was 33-of-53 for 534 yards and three touchdowns through the first four weeks of the 2021 season. 

Put simply, McCarthy is doing just fine. 

He'll need to get some things cleaned up over the next couple of weeks before conference play gets significantly more difficult, but the good news is that McCarthy still looks really, really good - and still has plenty of room to grow. 

2. Blake Corum? Dog.

Blake Corum

On a day where the Wolverines needed every single ounce of what he could bring, Corum delivered. The junior running back finished the afternoon with a career-high 243 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries - brining his season total to 478 yards on and nine touchdowns on 64 carries. 

Corum's nine rushing touchdowns currently lead the Big Ten conference. 

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3. Mike Sainristil is the real deal.

Mike Sainristil, Rod Moore

Mike Sainristil has been so good on defense that it's hard to believe he spent the first three years of his career at Michigan on the offensive side of the ball. Through the first four weeks of the 2022 season, Sainristil leads the Michigan defense in solo tackles (12) and sacks (2.0).

4. The offense is good, not great...yet.

Michigan Football offense

Coming into the 2022 season, there was plenty of talk about the Michigan offense and all of the weapons at its disposal. Part of the problem, however, is figuring out how to utilize all of those weapons effectively. Here's how the Michigan offense stacks up against the rest of the Big Ten through four weeks:

  • Rushing YDS: No. 2 (937)
  • Passing YDS: No. 8 (1,019)
  • Total YDS: No. 3 (1,956)
  • YPG: No. 3 (489)
  • Touchdowns: Tied for No. 2 (24)
  • Scoring: No 1 (50.0 PPG)

Conference rankings for U-M's top performers (offense):

  • Passing YPG: JJ McCarthy, No. 12
  • Rushing YPG: Blake Corum, No. 4
  • Receiving YPG: Ronnie Bell, No. 12
  • Scoring: Blake Corum, No. 1

5. The loss of Hutchinson and Ojabo is noticeable.

Kris Jenkins, Jaylen Harrell , Junior Colson

After a hot start that included a whopping seven sacks on the quarterback in week one, the Wolverines have managed to notch just four sacks in the last three games. While sacks aren't necessarily the end-all-be-all, it's clear that Michigan is still trying to figure out how to replace the production of two elite first-round edge-rushers in Hutchinson and Ojabo. It's obviously not a huge deal against teams like UConn and Hawaii, but it becomes a much bigger deal against teams like Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State. 

The production will undoubtedly improve as the season progresses, but it's still slightly concerning to see a defense like Michigan's averaging a little over one sack over the last three contests - particularly against inferior opponents.