Michigan football: Haskins and McNamara put Wolverines in good shape
Michigan running back Hassan Haskins is a safety net. He rushed 27 times for 168 yards and a touchdown on Saturday during the No. 7 Wolverines’ 29-7 win over Indiana. Without him, the Wolverines likely would have struggled vs. the Hoosiers.
And if Blake Corum’s injury gets worse, the Wolverines will certainly have to rely upon Haskins, their workhorse back, to get things done. During the past four games, Haskins has been a focal point of UM’s offense, carrying the ball 20 or more times during three of those Saturdays.
So yeah, he’s important.
Haskins is 27th in FBS in average rushing yards per game at 92.1 ypg. With 829 yards to his credit, he’ll probably crack 1,000 this season, giving UM a 1,000-yard rusher for just the third time during the past 7 years of the Jim Harbaugh era in Ann Arbor.
His 27 carries vs. Indiana tied a career high. He also had 27 vs. Washington earlier this season.
During the postgame press conference, Haskins expressed sympathy for Corum, saying that he had been “praying” for his teammate. However, when duty calls … well, duty calls.
“I had to get the job done,” said Haskins, who set a career high with 168 rushing yards Saturday vs. Indiana.
Haskins has eclipsed the 100-yard mark 4 times this year, so it’s safe to assume that he has at least another 100-yard performance up his sleeve as his Wolverines continue to chase a Big Ten championship. In September, Corum was the man for the Wolverines but he cooled off a little bit.
Haskins has done a tremendous job of carrying the added responsibility.
Speaking of safety nets, Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara has been one of the most reliable players in the country. On Saturday he completed 10 of 18 attempts for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns vs. the Hoosiers. He won’t always blow up stat sheets, but the junior will always turn in a solid effort and take care of the ball. He has only thrown 2 interceptions this year and continues to lead the Wolverines on the field.
McNamara, who has been criticized for a perceived lack of arm strength, connected with Cornelius Johnson for a 50-yarder vs. the Hoosiers, one of his best throws of the season. Again, he’s not always flashy but he does everything necessary for the Wolverines.
Michigan wouldn’t be 8-1 without its safety nets, Haskins and McNamara. Because of them, Michigan remains a top B1G team.
Saturday’s win reaffirmed what many already knew: The Wolverines are a well-rounded team, and the loss to Michigan State wasn’t a season-ending event. If anything, that loss might have inspired UM.
Saturday was a major confidence booster for McNamara and Haskins, who don’t always get enough credit — they’re basically expected to play well and blend in on game day. Sometimes it seems that the focus is on everyone but UM’s two mainstays on offense.
Michigan wouldn’t have even been a threat to the Spartans without McNamara’s career-high 383 passing yards. Without McNamara, UM could have easily lost to Nebraska in October. If not for a steady QB, the Rutgers game could have turned out differently.
The Wolverines wouldn’t have dominated the Hoosiers without Haskins, who continues to impress while flying under the national radar. He needs to be recognized as one of the best running backs in the nation, but he shares a backfield with Corum, who gets the majority of the attention.
Together, they’ve accounted for 20 touchdowns, 11 by Haskins. McNamara has thrown for 9 TDs.
Not every team is as lucky as Michigan. Having a rock-solid QB and RB are necessary components to success, especially in the Big Ten. Haskins and McNamara are, without question, the Wolverines’ most valuable players on offense.