Is it fair to say that the Oct. 30 matchup in East Lansing between No. 19 Michigan and No. 20 Michigan State is starting to look like a pretty big deal?
The Wolverines and the Spartans are both 3-0 through the first three weeks of the 2021 season, with both programs showcasing a rushing attack that looks nearly unstoppable.
For Michigan, it all starts with sophomore running back Blake Corum. Quickly becoming one of the most electric backs in all of college football, Corum's athleticism has been on full display through the first three weeks of the season. Corum currently leads all Michigan rushers with 407 yards and 7 touchdowns on 48 carries, good for an impressive 8.5 yards per carry.
Not only has Corum impressed in the rushing game, he's also made a big impact in the passing game and on special teams. In fact, he's currently tied with Cornelius Johnson as the team leader in receptions with six, while his 128 kick return yards place him in the No. 1 spot as Michigan's most productive returner though three weeks.
By the end of week two, Corum's 282 rushing yards over the first two games of the season were the most by any Wolverine since Denard Robinson's unbelievable 456 rushing yards to start the 2010 season. On Saturday, Corum became the first Michigan running back to open the season with three consecutive 100-plus rushing yard games since Mike Hart - former Michigan running back and current Michigan running backs coach - did it in 2007.
To put it simply, Blake Corum is getting it done in every single phase of the game. Based on his early success, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that some within the Michigan fan base are starting to use the "H" word when it comes to the highly-talented sophomore.
Oddly enough, some of the folks over in East Lansing are having the same conversations about their running back - Kenneth Walker III.
Walker, the Spartan running back transfer from Wake Forest, has accumulated 493 yards on 57 carries with five rushing touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season - good for the top spot in the nation.
The Spartan's feature back burst onto the scene in week one, putting up 264 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the road against Northwestern. After a relatively quiet week two performance, Walker once again put together a monster performance in week three - rushing for 172 yards on 27 carries as the Spartans knocked off the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes down in Florida.
Thanks in large part to Walker's dominance on the ground, the No. 20 Michigan State Spartans now look more than capable of playing with any team in the Big Ten conference.
Given all that Corum and Walker have achieved through the first quarter of the season, it's not all that crazy to start entertaining the idea of both entering the Heisman race in the near future if the production continues - but not yet.
Here's how both backs compare on the ground through three weeks:
Blake Corum, Michigan
- Ranks No. 3 nationally with 407 rushing yards
- Averaging 8.5 yards per carry on 48 carries
- Leads UM with 8 total touchdowns in 12 quarters of play
- Week Two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week
- Week One vs Western Michigan: 14 carries, 111 yards, 1 touchdown
- Week Two vs Washington: 21 carries, 171 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Week Three vs NIU: 13 carries, 125 yards, 3 touchdowns
Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
- Ranks No. 1 nationally with 493 rushing yards
- Averaging 8.6 yards per carry on 57 carries
- Week One Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week
- Week One vs Northwestern: 23 carries, 264 yards, 4 touchdowns
- Week Two vs Youngstown State: 7 carries, 57 yards, 1 touchdown
- Week Three vs No. 24 Miami: 27 carries, 172 yards