Halftime observations: UM's Blake Corum putting speed, versatility on display
Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara made his debut as full-time starter and has been steady in the first half in a balanced showing by the offense.
McNamara has gone 8-of-10 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns to help Michigan to a 27-7 halftime lead over Western Michigan in the season opener on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Michigan has accumulated 265 total yards and sophomore running back Blake Corum has been productive with 167 all-purpose yards.
Running back Hassan Haskins ran for a 22-yard score, Ronnie Bell and Corum each have a touchdown reception and Jake Moody has made both of his field-goal attempts. Michigan has suffered a key injury, though, in the first half.
Bell, a veteran receiver and captain, left the field on a motorized cart with what appears to be a right leg injury. He walked gingerly down the sideline to reach the cart and was taken the locker room.
Bell was injured after returning a punt 31 yards with about eight minutes left in the first half. It is unclear how serious the injury is.
He combined with McNamara on a 76-yard touchdown pass to take a 17-7 lead with 9:18 left in the first half. During Michigan’s previous drive, Bell made an exceptional one-handed catch on third down but was called for pass interference.
Turning on the jets
Corum has been lauded for his speed and versatility, and he put both on display in the first half in multiple ways.
He and McNamara combined for a 14-yard pass play for the Wolverines’ first points of the game. In the 11-play, 75-yard opening drive, Corum had four carries for 27 yards (6.8 per carry). Corum showed off his speed when he set up Michigan’s next scoring drive.
Corum returned the kickoff — after WMU had tied the game at 7 — 79 yards to the Western Michigan 21-yard line. Michigan built a 10-7 lead on a field goal by Jake Moody.
After a half, Corum leads the team in total yards with 167 — 66 rushing, 22 receiving, and 79 on kickoff returns.
Offensive line shift
Zak Zinter, considered by the Michigan coaches to be the best offensive lineman on the team and projected to be the starting right guard, went through pregame warm-ups wearing a cast on his right hand but did not make that start.
Zinter, however, was in on the first play as an extra blocker.
Ryan Hayes and Andrew Stueber, locked in as starters at left and right tackle, respectively, coming out of spring practice, started with Trevor Keegan at left guard, Andrew Vastardis at center and Chuck Filiaga at right guard. Keegan and Filiaga were in a fierce competition during camp for the starting job at left guard.
Later in the first half, Zinter did enter the lineup at right guard but Filiaga was back in during the last series.