Wolverines demolish Hawkeyes 42-3 to win Big Ten Championship


Photo courtesy of The Detroit Free Press

U-M’s 42-3 defeat over the Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend led to U-M winning the Big Ten Championship.

Joseph Popis, Sports Reporter

Michigan Wolverines Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has finally delivered a Championship to the University of Michigan. This year’s Michigan team has accomplished a 12-win season, a win over Ohio State and winning the Big Ten Championship. But there is still one goal yet to achieve — winning the National Championship.

U-M’s 42-3 defeat over the Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend began with the Hawkeyes winning the coin toss and deciding to defer the ball to Michigan. On the Wolverines’ first drive, they went three and out to kick off back to the Hawkeyes.

On the Hawkeyes’ first drive, they quickly drove down the field only to miss a 33-yard field goal by (Iowa) Caleb Shudak. The Wolverines would then capitalize on the Hawkeyes missed opportunity. On 1st and 10 (U-M), Blake Corum showcased his speed by rushing for a 67-yard touchdown to make the score 7-0. The touchdown by Corum was the longest rushing touchdown the Hawkeyes have allowed all season.

With no luck on the Hawkeyes’ second drive of the game, Michigan got the ball back. (U-M) offensive coordinator Josh Gattis orchestrated a magnificent play call when (U-M) running back Donovan Edwards made an impressive pass to (U-M) Roman Wilson for a 75-yard touchdown 14-0.

Late in the first quarter, the Hawkeyes ended up at Michigan’s goal line once again due to some savvy catches by Iowa’s playmakers. They weren’t able to punch it into the endzone, but they did hit a 22-yard field goal by (Iowa) Caleb Shudak 14-3.

The Hawkeyes would then make a big play as (Iowa) Jake Campbell intercepted (U-M) Cade McNamara for a one-yard gain.

Penalties such as a tripping call by the offensive line pushed them back 15 yards. A timid run play call on 3rd and 20 went for seven yards, leading to a Hawkeyes punt.

Back-to-back-to-back punts by the Wolverines and Hawkeyes gave U-M the ball at their 3 yard line. The Wolverines could get nothing going from such a putrid field position that led to yet another punt. When Iowa received the ball, they put themselves in a not-so-favorable situation when a holding call put them back to third and seventeen. They almost got bailed out when there was a possible targeting call, but it was cleared that there was no foul on the play. A tough catch by (Iowa) Keagan Johnson to the right for 13 yards would not be enough, resulting in another Iowa punt.

Michigan again could not get anything going toward the end of the second quarter. A well-read play by (Iowa) Seth Benson sacked McNamara, leading to a Michigan punt. Iowa received the ball, and (U-M) Aidan Hutchinson would get a sack of his own on (Iowa) quarterback Spencer Petras. On the last play before halftime (U-M), freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw a hail mary pass intercepted by (Iowa) Jermari Harris for no gain.

The second quarter of the game proved uneventful compared to the first quarter. There were countless punts combined with lousy field position that resulted in no points on the board by either team.

Iowa received the ball to start the second half — even with a great catch by (Iowa) Sam Laporta. Michigan then got the ball and go on their first drive of the second half as. Following a couple of runs plays (U-M), McNamara delivered a 27-yard pass to (U-M) Luke Schoonmaker. (U-M) Hassan Haskins would punch it into the endzone midway through the 3rd quarter with a 4-yard rush 21-3.

The Hawkeyes switched quarterbacks midway through the second from (Iowa) Spencer Petras to (Iowa) Alex Padilla. However, what looked to be a successful drive, turned out to be a 4th and goal failed conversion. A turnover ensued with the Wolverines gaining possession with 1:16 left in the third quarter.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Wolverines could get nothing going. Iowa received the ball at the 23-yard line. Michigan then blocked an Iowa punt, giving them great field position. (U-M) McCarthy connected with Luke Schoonmaker, who made a juggling catch. (U-M) Hassan Haskins rushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown 28-3.

Midway through the fourth quarter (U-M), McNamara connected with (U-M) Erick All for a 38-yard gain. However, Erick All wasn’t done yet as he caught a back-shoulder 5-yard touchdown pass from Cade McNamara to make it 35-3.

On Iowa’s next drive (U-M) Caden Kolesar intercepted (Iowa) Alex Padilla for a 1-yard gain. The Wolverines scored one last time when (U-M) Donovan Edwards rushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown 42-3. Iowa had one final drive to put a touchdown on the board but came up short, ending the game.

(U-M) McNamara threw 16 completions on 24 attempts for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. (U-M) Corum carried the ball five times for 74 yards and one touchdown, while his counterpart (U-M) Haskins carried the ball 17 times for 56 yards and two touchdowns. (U-M) Roman Wilson and (U-M) All both caught one touchdown. (Iowa) Spencer Petras threw the ball 22 times, with nine of them being completed, and his backup (Iowa) Alex Padilla threw the ball 15 times with 10 completions and one interception.

The Michigan Wolverines have compiled back-to-back statement wins within the past two weeks. As a result, they have solidified themselves into the College Football Playoff and one of the top two teams in the country. The Iowa Hawkeyes didn’t look like they belonged on the same field as the Wolverines.  Their offense was nonexistent throughout the entirety of this game. While their defense did hold up and make effective plays in the first half, it couldn’t keep up with Michigan in the second half.

The College Football Selection Committee released their final rankings on Sunday, Dec.5.: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Cincinnati. Alabama will face Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31., and U-M will face Georgia in the Orange, also on Dec. 31. The winners of those two games will play each other in the National Championship game on Jan. 10.