COLUMN: Huskies can build off blowout loss to Michigan

Thomas Hammock and his team are gathering what to take from a 63-10 loss to Michigan last week

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Courtesy of Michigan Daily

NIU linebackers, sophomore Nick Rattin (left) and redshirt senior Lance Deveaux (right) try and tackle Michigan sophomore running back Blake Corum (middle). Corum led the Wolverines with 125 yards rushing in a 63-10 win over the Huskies on Sept. 18.

James Krause, Sports Editor

During the University of Michigan’s 63-10 shellacking of NIU on Saturday, the 106,623 fans at Michigan Stadium kept themselves thoroughly entertained.

The sea of yellow and blue did the wave, they sang The Killers hit “Mr. Brightside” and played games appearing on the video boards at both ends of the stadium. When all else failed, they engaged in their favorite chant.

“F— Ohio!” Clap, clap, clap clap clap.

The Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh said during Big Ten Football media day in July that among his goals for the season was to finally defeat Ohio State or “die trying.”

If Harbaugh is rebuilding Michigan from the ground up with the idea of finally beating Ohio State, then how would you expect a game with NIU to turn out? The Huskies’ red and white might as well have looked scarlet and grey to the Wolverines.

Michigan came close to executing a perfect game, scoring on their first nine possessions and keeping NIU out of the endzone until the fourth quarter. 

Michigan got to play 106 players over the course of the game, giving reps to players lower on the depth chart. NIU got to take home $1.5 million, and head coach Thomas Hammock got to see what he can build on ahead of the Huskies conference opponents.

“For us, we won’t see an opponent better than this,” Hammock said. “We did some things in the running game, but there are still some things to work on in the passing game. Those are the positive things we can take and go back and build on. Like I told my team, it’s okay to say someone is just better. That’s just football, that’s life.”

The loss also gave Hammock another look at what to fix on defense ahead of Mid-American Conference action. The 63 points Michigan scored were ten shy of matching the most scored against NIU since the beginning of the modern era in 1970.

Michigan gained 367 yards rushing, their third-straight game gaining at least 300 yards. The Huskies’ emphasis on group tackling was on display at times, but the offensive line made life easy for the duo of sophomore running back Blake Corum and senior running back Hassan Haskins.

The troubling concern for NIU continues to be in their secondary. Junior quarterback Cade McNamara connected with a wide-open junior wide receiver Cornelius Johnson for an 87-yard touchdown.

Still, the result shouldn’t be blown out of proportion by worrisome NIU fans. It shouldn’t be stunning that a team frequently drawing five and four-star recruits beat a team that is littered with underclassmen at starting positions. It shouldn’t be shocking that a coach in just his fifth non-conference road game was out-coached by an 18-year veteran who previously led an NFL team to a Super Bowl. 

Michigan is being built to beat Ohio State and establish itself as the de facto kings of the Big Ten, and they looked every bit ready to do that. NIU is being built to return to the MAC Championship game. The jury is still out on where they stand.