Blake Corum could have declared for the NFL draft after last season, but the Michigan running back had unfinished business.
Corum followed up a junior season where he ran for a career-high 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns by running for 1,111 yards and 25 scores this season to become the school’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 56.
As he prepares to play his final game Monday night in the College Football Playoff title game against Washington, Corum reflected on his decision.
“I wanted to leave a legacy, be remembered forever, and not just for scoring some touchdowns,” he said. “I wanted to leave a bigger legacy on and off the field. That’s one of the main reasons of coming back. One of the other main reasons was being here.”
He ranks seventh in school history with 3,603 yards rushing and needs just 69 yards rushing on Monday to move up to fifth place.
Corum ran for 83 yards and his 17-yard touchdown in overtime lifted Michigan to a 27-20 win over Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Running backs coach Mike Hart, the school’s all-time leading rusher with 5,040 yards, raved about Corum’s career.
“He’s one of the best backs of all time,” Hart said. “He’s got the leading touchdown record. I just think in big games, the way he plays, the way he just takes over the game, and the kind of person he is off the field, on the field, the type of leader he is, he’s one of the best to ever do it.”
READY TO GO
Washington running back Dillon Johnson says he is ready carry the load for the second-ranked Huskies on Monday night after getting hurt last week.
“Banged up on my knee, but you know, it is what it is,” Johnson said Saturday. “We’re coming to play, we’re coming to win.”
Johnson has been limited in practice this week by injuries that have nagged him late in the season and flared up again in the Sugar Bowl last week. The exact nature of the injury has not been disclosed.
On Washington’s last offensive play against Texas, as the Huskies were trying to drain the clock and protect a lead, Johnson carried and was hurt. He stayed down and needed the attention of the athletic training staff, which stopped the clock and gave Texas about 30 more seconds to make a comeback.
“When I got hurt, I looked down, and I’m like, ‘Oh snap, I really can’t get up.’ I kind of panicked,” Johnson said. “I hate that I did that for the team, putting our defense back out there in that situation, but they handled their business, man, and they got it done.”
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Johnson said he’s been in the training room seven or eight hours a day, getting treatment.
The Mississippi State transfer came into this season recovering from a right knee injury that limited his workload early in the season. He has averaged 18 carries a game over the last 10, including at least 20 attempts in five of the last six games. On the season, he has rushed for 1,162 yards and 16 touchdowns.
LIKE A PACK OF WOLVES
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh likes to set the mood for his players the day before a game by showing them a movie or documentary about predatory animals.
“Tigers, cheetahs, lions — great stuff,” Harbaugh said. “Really seemed to resonate with the guys. I love them. Who doesn’t? We kind of allow ourselves to devolve into a pack of wolves. That’s what we want to channel. Probably nature’s greatest fighting unit.”
Poor execution on special teams nearly cost Michigan in the Rose Bowl against Alabama.
The Wolverines had two mishandled punts, one lost fumble, a botched extra point on a mishandled snap and missed field goal.
“It’s the kind of thing where you watch the film afterwards and there are easily identifiable things from a technique standpoint, this is why this error occurred,” special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh said.
Kicker James Turner missed a 49-yard field goal. He was 16 of 18 going into the game, and Harbaugh said there is no reason to panic about that miss.
Michigan defeats Alabama in Rose Bowl, advances to the National Championship
Semaj Morgan muffed a punt in the first half that led to an Alabama touchdown and Jake Thaw mishandled one late near Michigan’s goal line that was close to being a disaster. Harbaugh would not divulge who will be handling punts against Washington.
“Both those guys have had excellent seasons, and countless great reps in practice. And for that reason, those guys should feel really confident themselves,” Harbaugh said.
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Reporting by The Associated Press.
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