Michigan running back Donovan Edwards played in a game earlier this year against northern Illinois where he rushed for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. In addition to this match, Edwards was awaiting his turn behind Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.
With Corum out on Saturday against Maryland, Edwards has grown considerably stronger. The former four-star prospect had 10 catches for 170 yards and 1 touchdown – the 170 receiving yards is the most important by a Michigan backer in program history.
“I felt like it was a good time for me to show my talent,” said Edwards. “I think every week I attack the week like it’s my first game of the season. Eventually, it was going to happen.
And it happened just in time, with 10-1 Michigan playing for the Big East title against 10-1 Ohio State on Saturday. For head coach Jim Harbaugh, he knows Edwards’ performance against the Terrapins won’t be his only moment of glory.
“I’m going to make that statement, and I don’t like making a lot of big hyperbolic statements or anything – it was a record, it was a great performance, an all-time record. But, like I told you earlier, it will be a hit on the career radar of Donovan Edwards, ”said Harbaugh. “He’s meant for great things.
As good as Haskins and Corum executed the boulder, Edwards’ reliability in the passing game became evident against Maryland, as did his great playing ability on a 77-yard touchdown. Edwards has stable hands, great speed, with a good balance of power to go along with his speed.
Edwards’ pass-detection prowess is something his coaches and teammates have been aware of for some time.
“It’s something we’ve seen in training since he came here,” said quarterback Cade McNamara after the 59-18 win. “His elusiveness, his ability to catch the ball, is really at a high level for a running back. I’m so excited that he played a big part in this game plan and that I got to give him the ball.
With a record breaking performance, it’s fair to wonder if Edwards bursting onto the trendy scene will result in major snaps against the Buckeyes – a game that will be all on deck, win at all costs, take no prisoners. Whatever advantage Michigan can find it needs to be capitalized on, and Edwards can make the difference in the passing game.
Even though Blake Corum is healthy enough for action against OSU, and although Corum has been formidable at times this year, it looks like Edwards is ahead of Corum in terms of reliability and safety as a passer. How many shots Edwards will get against Michigan’s biggest rival remains to be seen, but he did secure a role in the most important of the clashes.
“All season we have known his ability to catch the ball and run routes. It started during spring training after he retired from his thumb surgery. He was in a cast for the first three weeks. He was catching, an average of seven catches a day, to the point where he was an example even to everyone, ”Harbaugh said. “This guy grabs, he doesn’t drop anything and he has a hard cast on his hand. And the job he’s done, he’s got so many reps built. I understand that he and JJ (McCarthy) are throwing and catching all the time.
Welcome to the stage, Donovan, will now build a legacy against these Buckeyes.