Recap: More balanced attack leads Michigan to 63-10 rout of NIU

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Michigan has leaned on its rushing attack, led by the tandem of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins, to roll to a pair of convincing wins over Western Michigan and Washington at Michigan Stadium.

Northern Illinois and quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a Michigan State transfer, will look to pull off another upset and pick up their second win over a Power Five program in three weeks. The Huskies pulled out a 22-21 win at Georgia Tech and followed that up with a 50-43 loss to Wyoming.  

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi.

Michigan wide receiver Cornelius Johnson celebrates after running for an 87-yard touchdown during the second quarter.


Northern Illinois marched to the Michigan goal line after falling down 7-0, settled for a field goal, and it was all downhill from there.

The Wolverines ran off 56 consecutive points after NIU made it 7-3, posting a quick and easy 63-10 win in Ann Arbor on Saturday to advance to 3-0.

► Final leaders


UM - Cade McNamara: 8/11, 191 yds., TD

NIU - Rocky Lombardi: 8/16, 39 yds., TD, INT


UM - Blake Corum: 13 atts., 125 yds., 3 TD

NIU - Rocky Lombardi: 7 atts., 72 yds.


UM - Cornelius Johnson: 3 recs., 117 yds., TD

NIU: Trayvon Rudolph: 3 recs., 14 yds.

Second half

Michigan runs out the clock with multiple quarterbacks

Michigan takes over at its own 42 with a chance to hit 70 points.

Tavierre Dunlap rushes for no gain, then 4, with Alan Bowman now at quarterback for Michigan. Now sophomore Dan Villari comes in at quarterback. They change out a few times as the drive progresses.

Villari rushes for 4 yards to the Michigan 50, then gets 8 yards on fourth-and-2 to keep the drive alive and move the Wolverines into NIU territory.

They eventually turn it over on downs with 1:22 to go. NIU runs out the clock.

FINAL: Michigan 63, NIU 10 

► Michigan allows touchdown after penalty gives ball back to NIU

NIU can't move the ball with three run plays, and punt almost directly after receiving the ball. On the punt, though, Michigan has two players wearing No. 1, and they're flagged for illegal formation.

NIU gets it back with a fresh set of downs at the NIU 44. Rocky Lombardi pulls the read option and takes off down the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the 11-yard-line, where it'll be first-and-10.

Erin Collins picks up only 2 yards total over the next two carries, but Lombardi converts to Cole Tucker in the end zone for an NIU touchdown.

Michigan 63, NIU 10 (8:28 4th)

► Michigan comes up empty for first time today

NIU takes over at the 25, trailing by 60. 

Rocky Lombardi completes a 3-yard pass and Jay Ducker rushes for 6 yards. It's third-and-1: NIU moves the chains with a QB keeper.

Ducker rushes for 3 yards on the next play to the 44. Lombardi completes a 9-yard pass to make it first-and-10 at the 50. NIU then rushes for a yard and throws two incompletions, and will have to punt.

Michigan 63, NIU 3 (1:06 3rd)

Michigan takes over at the 20 after the punt.

J.J. McCarthy throws an absolute dart to Roman Wilson on first down, a gain of 12.

Tavierre Dunlap goes up the gut for a 7-yard gain on first down, and that'll bring the third quarter to a close.

END 3RD: Michigan 63, NIU 3 

They go back to Dunlap out of the break, picking up 28 yards, then 4.

Leon Franklin rushes for his first touchdown of the season, but it's called back for holding. It's now second-and-16. Cristian Dixon hauls in the third-down throw, but Michigan can't convert on third-and-9.

Michigan goes for it on fourth-and-9, but the shot goes over the head of Dixon's receiver. Turnover on downs.

Michigan 63, NIU 3 (12:51 4th)

► NIU forced into another 3-and-out, Michigan again capitalizes immediately

After three dismal attempts at offense, NIU punts. Michigan will take back over at its own 24.

J.J. McCarthy fires to Cornelius Johnson for a completion of 18 on the play. Donovan Edwards on the next play goes for a 58-yard touchdown.

Michigan 63, NIU 3 (4:13 3rd)

Michigan strolls past 50-burger with interception, rushing touchdown

NIU takes over at the 25 yet again. The Huskies are trailing by 46 points in the third quarter.

Rocky Lombardi's first pass of the drive is intercepted by Gemon Green and returned to the NIU 3-yard-line, where it'll be first-and-goal for the Wolverines.

Donovan Edwards is stopped for a 1-yard loss on first down, but gets the 4 yards necessary on the next play. NIU is given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play.

Michigan 56, NIU 3 (6:40 3rd)

McCarthy and Corum show leads Michigan to 49-3 lead

Michigan takes over at the NIU 48, leading 42-3.

Roman Wilson rushes for 10 yards on first down.

Donovan Edwards rushes for 3 yards on the next play. J.J. McCarthy hits Daylen Baldwin for a 5-yard pickup on second down, bringing up third-and-2: Edwards gets it on the read option and picks up 3 yards to move the chains.

Second verse, same as the first: Edwards gets 8 on the handoff this time. McCarthy pulls on the third straight option, hits a hole on the right side and gets to the NIU 3 for a gain of 16 yards.

Corum is stuffed at the 1-yard-line on a 2-yard, first-down run. He goes over the top on second down and gets the ball punched out, but he crossed the goal line before losing it. That'll be his third touchdown of the game.

Michigan 49, NIU 3 (7:36 3rd)

Michigan forces 3-and-out after taking 42-3 lead

NIU takes over at the 25 to start the drive, trailing 42-3.

Harrison Waylee rushes for 4 yards on first down, then loses 4 on the next play. Aidan Hutchinson finally hears his name called, sacking the quarterback for no gain on third down.

A.J. Henning again wreaks havoc on the kick return, getting to the NIU 48 for a 33-yard return.

Michigan 42, NIU 3 (11:21 3rd)

Michigan strikes quickly in second half

J.J. McCarthy takes over at quarterback for Michigan to start the second half, with the Wolverines up 35-3.

Hassan Haskins rushes for a pickup of 15 on first down.

He gets it again on the next play for a gain of 3. McCarthy then hands to Blake Corum, Corum gets to the edge, explodes down the sideline, and nobody can catch him. 

Michigan 42, NIU 3 (13:39 2nd)

First half

►First half leaders


UM - Cade McNamara: 8/11, 191 yds., TD

NIU - Rocky Lombardi: 5/9, 18 yds.


UM - Blake Corum: 10 atts., 71 yds., TD

NIU - Harrison Waylee: 10 atts., 34 yds.


UM - Cornelius Johnson: 2 recs., 99 yds., TD

NIU - Tyrice Richie: 2 recs., -5 yds.

► Michigan throws knockout punch before halftime

Michigan takes over at the 13, and they'll need just one play to get into the end zone: An 87-yard touchdown throw to Cornelius Johnson down the right sideline.

That's the third-longest touchdown pass in Michigan football history.

Michigan 35, NIU 3 (1:53 2nd)

NIU will try to run out the clock before halftime. NIU runs three plays, and Michigan stops the clock.

Michigan timeout #2 (0:21 2nd)

Michigan's efforts will be for naught, as Mike Sainristil is flagged for absolutely blowing up NIU punter Matt Ference. NIU will get it back after he's helped off the field with only 7 seconds left.

END 2ND: Michigan 35, NIU 3 

► NIU tries some trickery, comes up short

NIU takes over at the 25, trailing by 25. There's 6:15 remaining in the second quarter.

Rocky Lombardi keeps on first down for a 6-yard gain, as Harrison Waylee picks up 3 on the next play. NIU hurries to the line on third-and-1 and Lombardi tries for the QB keeper, but he's stuffed for no gain.

NIU pretends lke they're going to punt, then rushes their offense to the line and tries to get a snap off without any Michigan defenders lined up. The Wolverines call timeout just in time.

Timeout #2 Michigan (4:32 2nd)

NIU rushes to the line again — out of the timeout — and almost catches Michigan sleeping for a second time. The Huskies try to shuffle some things around before taking the snap, but are forced to call a timeout before the play clock expires. What a weird little spurt. 

Timeout #3 NIU (4:32 2nd)

Clint Ratkovich rushes up the middle for a gain of 3.

Waylee rushes for 1 yard and Michigan is then flagged for a neutral-zone infraction. A nearly intercepted pass on second down brings up third-and-4: Lombardi's pass is complete, but the play is a mess and it goes for a loss of 7.

NIU will punt.

Michigan 28, NIU 3 (2:06 2nd)

► Michigan takes commanding lead in second quarter

Michigan takes over 29, leading 21-3 in the second.

Cade McNamara takes a shot on first down to Cornelius Johnson, who's wide open beyond the secondary — but the throw misses by a couple inches, and Johnson's diving effort isn't enough to haul it in. McNamara moves the sticks with a 14-yard completion to Roman Wilson.

McNamara again goes deep, this time to Daylen Baldwin down the right sideline, and while this one isn't caught either, the pass was on-target and drew a pass-interference call. It'll be first-and-10 at the NIU 39.

Blake Corum rushes for 3 yards on first down and 9 more on second down, bringing up first-and-10 at the 27.

McNamara muffs the first-down snap; Donovan Edwards falls on it for a loss of 9. That gives McNamara cart blanche to air it out, and he does just that with a 23-yard completion to Erick All. It's first down at the 12.

Corum rushes for 3, then 4, as Michigan calls timeout ahead of third-and-3.

Timeout #1 Michigan (6:20 2nd)

Hassan Haskins rushes for a 5-yard touchdown.

Michigan 28, NIU 3 (6:15 2nd)

► Personal foul ends NIU drive before it can begin

NIU takes over at its own 25, trailing 21-3 with 12:55 left in the second quarter.

Jay Ducker gets the ball on first down, his first carry of the game, and rushes for 6 yards to the 31. Messiah Travis erases the gain with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and it'll be second-and-19 at the NIU 16. Ducker goes for 7 on second down, but NIU can't get any push the play after. NIU will punt on fourth-and-9.

Michigan 21, NIU 3 (11:09 2nd)

Michigan takes 21-3 lead on NIU early in second

Michigan takes over at its own 36 after an 8-yard punt return by A.J. Henning.

Henning gets the ball quickly on the next play and gets all the way to the NIU 40 for a gain of 24.

End 1st: Michigan 14, NIU 3

Blake Corum gets the first snap of the quarter and rushes all the way to the NIU 16 for a gain of 24, bringing up first-and-10.

Corum's next carry goes for no gain. Cornelius Johnson catches a pass on second down and is pushed out at the 4, a gain of 12. It's first-and-goal.

Hassan Haskins goes up and over the pile on first down to give Michigan a three-score lead.

Michigan 21, NIU 3 (12:55 2nd)

► NIU goes 3-and-out after Michigan takes 14-3 lead

NIU takes over at the 25, trailing 14-3, with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter.

Tyrice Richie is stopped for no gain on first down. NIU is flagged for a false start before second down, where Rocky Lombardi throws a quick strike to Trayvon Rudolph, a gain of 2. It's third-and-13.

Timeout #2 NIU (0:17 1st)

Lombardi's third-down throw goes right through the receiver's hands and will force an NIU punt.

Michigan 14, NIU 3 (0:03)

Michigan pounds the rock for 14-3 lead

NIU runs a successful pooch kick, and gets the Michigan returner at the Michigan 24. Michigan leads 7-3 with 6:06 left in the opening quarter.

A.J. Henning gets the ball on a reverse sweep and takes it all the way to midfield, getting tripped up by one of the lone tacklers remaining for a gain of 26. 

Next it's Hassan Haskins getting the ball, and he punches it up the middle for a gain of 11.

Cade McNamara takes a first-down shot to Cornelius Johnson in the end zone, but the pass is defended well and broken up. Blake Corum gets it on second down and is tripped up just short of the line to gain, an 8-yard pickup. Haskins rushes for 3 to keep the chains moving.

It'll be first-and-10 at the 28.

McNamara's first-down throw to Daylen Baldwin is complete for a gain of 4. Donovan Edwards goes up the middle, picking up 8 and giving Michigan a first down at the 16.

A dump-off to Corum picks up 13 yards, and it'll be first-and-goal at the 1 after an offsides penalty on NIU. 

Corum caps the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Michigan 14, NIU 3 (1:52 1st)

NIU gets on board with field goal, trims Michigan lead to 7-3

NIU takes over at the 25, and opens the play with a 15-yard completion to Liam Soraghan to the 40.

Harisson Waylee then goes up the middle for a gain of 4 on first down, then gets it again on the next play and pushes ahead for a gain of 10, into Michigan territory at the 46.

The Waylee show continues, as he gets it on the next play for a gain of 7 before Clint Ratkovich bounces to the outside and picks up 12 after shaking a few tackles.

Rocky Lombardi keeps on the next play and gets to the Michigan 11 for a gain of 16 with his feet.

Lombardi has his man on a back-shoulder throw on first down, but Tyrice Richie can't hold onto it with one hand and brings up second down. Waylee is stuffed up the middle for a gain of 2 on second down. Lombardi's third-down pass is complete to Ratkovich, and he's pushed out of bounds at the 3 after a gain of 6. 

It's fourth-and-2 at the Michigan 3.

Timeout #1 NIU (6:14 1st)

NIU has decided to take the points and lines up for a field goal. The 22-yard field goal try is good.

Michigan 7, NIU 3 (6:10 1st)

Michigan takes early 7-0 lead on NIU

The Wolverines start at NIU's 48 after the 25-yard punt return by A.J. Henning.

Cade McNamara throws a pass on the first play, picking up 14 to the 34 of NIU.

Hassan Haskins then has rushes of 1 and 13, giving the Wolverines first-and-10 at the 20. 

McNamara is flushed from the pocket immediately after receiving the first-down snap, and he's forced to just get it away, incomplete. Blake Corum then gets his first carry of the game, shuffles his way through a crowded hole at the line of scrimmage, and gets to the Michigan 4 for a new set of downs.

Michigan rushes to the line and gives to Corum again, this time getting to the 1-yard-line. The next play, McNamara hits paydirt on a quarterback keeper.

Michigan 7, NIU 0 (11:05 1st)

Michigan defense forces three-and-out on opening drive

Michigan starts on defense, with Rocky Lombardi taking the field at quarterback for NIU. First down at the 25.

Rocky Lombardi completes a 2-yard throw after the Huskies pickup 2 yards on the ground on first down, but can't get the ball to his receiver on third down. Daxton Hill broke up the pass.

The punt bounces over returner A.J. Henning's head, but he's able to corral it, reverse field, and get all the way to the NIU 48.

Michigan 0, NIU 0 (13:27 1st)


Through the first two weeks of the season, the Wolverines have run all over the competition.

They’ll look to continue to the ground-and-pound trend when they host Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois in another non-conference game at noon.

Northern Illinois at No. 25 Michigan

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor

TV/radio: BTN/950

Records: Northern Illinois 1-1, Michigan 2-0

Line: Wolverines by 27