Michigan vs. Iowa: Five takeaways from the Michigan football victory

Michigan went to Iowa City to take on the 3-1 Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday and going into the game, the Wolverines had lost four-straight games at Kinnick Stadium.

Kinnick has been bad for top-5 teams. Since 2008 the past five out of six teams that played Iowa in Kinnick have lost.

But both of those streaks ended on Saturday after Michigan defeated Iowa, 27-14.

Michigan entered halftime up 13-0 on Iowa. The Wolverines even left a few points on the board like when J.J. McCarthy missed Roman Wilson by a hair for a touchdown on a deep shot, but the Wolverines rushed for 131 yards on the ground against Iowa in the first half. And Michigan held the Iowa offense to 91 yards of total offense.

Michigan came out in the second half looking dominant once again. The Wolverines took a quick 20-0 lead, but Kinnick started to come alive in the second half. The Michigan defense looked to soften a little and Iowa took full advantage. The Hawkeyes scored a touchdown right into the fourth quarter to make it a 20-7 deficit. The Hawkeyes forced a three-and-out the next drive and Iowa took the ball deep into Michigan territory before turning the ball over on downs.

Blake Corum ran in for a late touchdown to seal the deal for Michigan.

Here are our five takeaways from the Michigan win.

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The Michigan O-line bullied a top Iowa unit

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Iowa entered the contest as the country’s No. 6 rushing defense, allowing a meager 73 yards-per-game.

But the Wolverines well exceeded that number on Saturday. Michigan rushed for 172 yards, and that number didn’t go up much in the fourth quarter with how conservative Michigan was being — plus Iowa sold out on the run.

In the first half, the Michigan offensive line pushed the Iowa D-line back incredibly easily. The Wolverines were averaging 5.2 yards-per-carry against an elite Iowa defense.

Trevor Keegan was back on Saturday against Iowa and his presence had to of helped, but the Michigan offensive line did a really superb job against Iowa.

Pass rush needs to improve

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

This seems to be a theme with Michigan.

The Wolverines did a poor job getting pressure against Iowa in the first half — it was nonexistent. But, Michigan defended the pass quite well in the first half and it stuffed the run, so no biggie.

In the second half, Michigan was much, much better. Like last week against Maryland, the Wolverines recorded four sacks in the second half and Michigan was able to get to Spencer Petras. Mike Morris had two sacks, and Mason Graham and Eyabi Okie both had one.

The Wolverines need to get the pass rush working earlier in the game though, especially against a formidable offense. It’s going to be important to rush just four guys and those four guys can get pressure, so Michigan can drop the other seven guys into coverage.

This will be something to watch as the weeks keep going.

J.J. McCarthy was poised in a tough environment

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

McCarthy made his first-career away start on Saturday and he played a really good game.

He finished the game going 18-for-24, 155 yards, and one score. He had a 143 QB rating. McCarthy was also used in the run game and the read-option came back into the playbook.

The only ‘flaw’ the sophomore had was missing Roman Wilson for a touchdown on a deep ball. But McCarthy made one mistake — he fumbled the ball but that was due to Trente Jones missing his block — and he looked like a veteran back there for Michigan. He just helped beat one of the best defenses in all of football and he did so with flying colors.

He is so close to unleashing his full potential, and when he does that, watch out college football.

Blake Corum should be in the Heisman conversation

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Blake Corum was an absolute stud once again.

Corum rushed for 133 yards on 29 carries. He also scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Corum has been the heart and soul to this offense and he was so again against Iowa. The Hawkeyes allow 73 yards of rushing for an entire game on averagae, and Corum almost doubled that by himself.

Corum refuses to go down on first contact and he has the power and speed combination to be a bell cow running back for Michigan. After seeing him do this against a tough Iowa defense, his name should be talked about a little more than it is in the Heisman conversation.

Needs to keep the pedal to the metal

Photo by: Isaiah Hole

Michigan was cruising in this game. It was up 20-0, but the Wolverines got extremely conservative and they got flat.

Michigan won in a tough environment, something it hasn’t done the past four times coming to Kinnick, so credit there, but this game could have been over in the third quarter if Michigan allowed it to.

The Wolverines had three-straight three-and-outs in the second half. Iowa knew Michigan wanted to run the ball, and yet the Wolverines kept running it up the middle. The maize and blue would not attempt passes unless it was third and long, and Iowa was ready for what was coming.

The defense appeared to get a little soft and allowed chunk plays in the middle of the field to tight ends. The Wolverines lost their toughness there for a few minutes and allowed Iowa to get two touchdowns before they tightened everything up.

Michigan could end up losing a game due to this down the road, and Michigan should keep its foot on the gas pedal until the game ends.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire