Ohio State, Michigan sneak past trap games, set up epic showdown

Entering the 12th week of the college football season, there were four undefeated teams, and two of them resided in the Big Ten.

Big Ten powers Ohio State and Michigan have cruised through their respective schedules so far this season, and the two teams had looked rather unstoppable through the first 10 games of the year.

And then the 11th game hit. 

Michigan kicked things off on Saturday with a noon meeting with Illinois, a team that had lost its previous two games and surrendered its position as the Big Ten West’s best team. 

The Wolverines received the ball first, marching right down the field and scoring a touchdown. Blake Corum ran in his 19th total touchdown of the season, and Michigan claimed an early 7-0 lead. 

Illinois struggled to move the ball on offense, but much to its luck, Michigan’s offensive rhythm also disappeared. It was one of the lower scoring games in college football at halftime, with the Wolverines leading 7-3. 

The Fighting Illini kept, well, fighting. Heisman Trophy-contending running back Chase Brown scored two third-quarter touchdowns, and Illinois found itself with a 17-10 lead over Michigan at the Big House heading into the fourth quarter. 

It was the first time Michigan had trailed in the fourth quarter all season, and the tension in the air at Michigan Stadium could be felt. 

However, much like in its game against Michigan State, Michigan field-goal-kicked its opponent to death, and a Jake Moody 35-yard field goal gave Michigan a 19-17 lead with nine seconds remaining. 

Illinois couldn’t create any late-game magic, and Michigan improved to 11-0.

Not long after Michigan’s game ended, its arch rival Ohio State took the field in College Park, Maryland against the Terrapins. The Buckeyes were a heavy favorite, but the game didn’t quite go as planned for Ryan Day’s team. 

TreVeyon Henderson caught a 31-yard touchdown from C.J. Stroud, and Ohio State took an early 7-0 lead just over a minute and a half into the game.

Maryland continued to hang around, though, and the Terrapins led 13-10 going into halftime. 

Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles sealed the deal with a 45-yard field goal with 42 seconds left, and a late fumble recovery gave Ohio State an extra touchdown.

Neither Michigan nor Ohio State was comfortable with its performance on Saturday, but each team was able to accomplish the ultimate goal — victory. 

Now, the two teams will square off in an undefeated showdown in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday. It will be the first time the two teams meet at 11-0 since 2006 in what was deemed the Game of the Century. The Buckeyes won that game 42-39.

The winner of Saturday’s game is almost certainly in the College Football Playoff, while the losing team might have to resort to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Either way, this will be the most highly anticipated regular season college football game this season, and it should be one for the history books.