Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh unsure if Blake Corum will play vs. Ohio State

Tony Garcia
Detroit Free Press

Michigan football's Blake Corum suffered an apparent knee injury late in the first half against Illinois on Saturday in Ann Arbor.

Michigan (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) coach Jim Harbaugh did not say definitively one way or the other if he is in line to play next week against Ohio State.

"Nothing right now," Harbaugh said about any updates. "Got cleared to go back in, we’ll see where it is tomorrow, how it feels tomorrow. Structurally good, which is great news."

The Heisman Trophy contender took a handoff up the right side deep in Illini territory and was taken down near the right sideline where he immediately went to grab his left knee. The play was reviewed and officials determined Corum lost control of the ball before he went down and the Illini recovered. It was the first fumble of the season for Corum.

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Corum eventually got up and walked off the field under his own power, but instead of returning to the sideline, he walked with staffers up the tunnel towards Michigan's locker room.

However, Corum came out with his teammates after halftime, warmed up and took one carry in the third quarter before he was sidelined the rest of the day.

"It was bothering him," Harbaugh said of why Corum didn't return again. "He communicated with us, how does it feel, that's alright we got CJ Stokes, Isaiah stokes (Tavierre) Dunlap, you know they'll step up, next man up.

"Blake was coaching those guys, motivating them on, that's the kind of teammate he is. Nobody panicked."

Corum opened the game with a 37-yard run and capped the first drive of the day with a two-yard touchdown, his 18th on the ground of the season. He'd ripped off a 25-yard run earlier in the drive and had 18 rushes for 108 yards and two catches for 39 yards on the day.

The junior has been one of the best running back in the nation this season. He entered Saturday with 227 carries for 1,349 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns.

Corum, who had the third most rushing yards in the country — his opponent in the opposite backfield, Illinois' Chase Brown entered the day in the lead — continued his streak of at least one touchdown in every game this season and 100 or more rushing yards in every Big Ten contest.

Michigan entered Saturday without the services of Corum's capable backup, Donovan Edwards. The sophomore tailback ran twice on the opening drive of last week's game against Nebraska, but didn't take the field again in the contest and didn't dress on Saturday.

Edwards has 70 carries for 471 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns this season and another 14 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He'd started to come into his own in recent weeks; racking up 324 rushing yards, 111 receiving yards and three scores over the prior three weeks.

Freshman CJ Stokes will presumably get the bulk of the work until either Corum or Edwards return. Stokes had eight carries for a career-high 68 yards against Nebraska.

"Anybody who is on the fringe, knowing our guys, they're going to want to play," Harbaugh said of his team's health. "They're going to give it every bit of treatment and healing power they can this week.

"If somebody's out, they're going to be out. But it will be our best opportunity, because the guys really want to play in this game."

Contact Tony Garcia at apgarcia@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.