The fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Michigan State Spartans at the end of October, but in the end, all that mattered was Saturday’s game. And on Saturday, on their home field, they took care of business, and some. Hassan Haskins set a rivalry record with five touchdowns on the ground in a 42-27 win over the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The Wolverines advance to their first Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis next Saturday night, looking for their first Big Ten Title since 2004, and then a potential College Football Playoff berth for the first time and their first national title since 1997. This win was their first over Ohio State in the Jim Harbaugh era, and first since Denard Robinson led them to a big home win over OSU in 2011. The Buckeyes had won eight straight in the rivalry, but 10 penalties got the best of them, along with the inability to stop the Wolverines’ run game, which totaled 297 yards on the ground as a team.
What We Saw
This was the game that mattered. Both for the playoff conversation and the Jim Harbaugh job security conversation, even with the Michigan State loss on their resume. The Wolverines did just about everything as good as you’re going to against Ohio State, including shutting down the big explosive plays that their offense relies on. The pressure on C.J. Stroud was enough to not give him time to find those open men down the field. With the snowy weather being a factor as well, the team that ran the ball better was going to win this game. And thanks to Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, the Wolverines did just that with a 297-64 advantage in that category. And you can see with that advantage that the defensive pressure clogged up the line of scrimmage to prevent any big plays out of the backfield for OSU. This was a win that Michigan needed for momentum in a potential National Title run, and one that Harbaugh needed to finally win over the faithful.
The Michigan Wolverines can clinch their first ever spot in the College Football Playoffs next Saturday night in the Big Ten Title Game against Iowa.