Wolverines escape Boilermakers in Big Ten Championship, advance to playoffs



Michigan running back Donovan Edwards celebrates a touchdown scored tight end Luke Schoonmaker against Purdue during the first half of the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis.

The University of Michigan Football team capped off a remarkable Big Ten season with a 43-22 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers in the conference championship game on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium. With the victory, the Wolverines improved to 13-0 on the season and are headed to their second straight College Football Playoff.

Michigan clinched its spot in the Big Ten Championship Game the previous Saturday with a 45-23 beating of the formerly undefeated and second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy played the game of his life, and Wolverine running back Donovan Edwards broke two rushing touchdowns of more than 75 yards as Jim Harbaugh claimed his second straight win over his rival.

The Wolverines marched into the Big Ten Championship Game with an unblemished 12-0 record and an enormous amount of confidence after having played in the conference title game last season against Iowa. 

Although the team was without its Heisman Trophy-contending running back Blake Corum, who is out for an extended period of time with a knee injury, Michigan just called on the next man up — which happened to be Donovan Edwards, once again. Edwards was quiet in the first half, but much like in the Ohio State game, he came to life in the second half.

Michigan was clinging onto a 14-13 lead at halftime, but the Edwards show began on the first play of the third quarter. The sophomore running back made a defender miss at the line of scrimmage and broke into the open field as he ran down the sideline for a gain of 60 yards.

Michigan scored a few plays later, and then on the ensuing drive Edwards found the end zone on a 27-yard touchdown run. 

The star running back was named the Big Ten Championship Game MVP with a final stat line of 25 carries, 185 rushing yards and a touchdown.

McCarthy also threw for three scores as the Wolverines routed the Boilermakers in the second half.

Michigan has now won 13 games for the first time in program history, and its season is still far from over. The Wolverines earned the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, and they will take on the third-seeded TCU Horned Frogs at the Fiesta Bowl in the national semifinal on Dec. 31.

Should the Wolverines win the New Year’s Eve battle with TCU, they will advance to the national championship game to face the winner between the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs and the fourth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan would have a good amount of experience playing against either of those two teams.

Georgia gave Michigan a hard dose of reality last year when the two teams met in the CFP Semifinal. The Bulldogs crushed Michigan 34-11 and went on to win the national championship. 

Obviously, Michigan has experience playing Ohio State, too. The regular season finale on Nov. 26 brought in 17 million viewers, making it the most watched college football game of the season.

McCarthy was asked after the Big Ten Championship Game how he would feel about a potential rematch with the Buckeyes.

“Please, please, bring it on,” McCarthy said. “I mean, that would be truly a blessing if we get a shot to play those boys again.”

The semifinal games won’t take place until the last day of December, so the teams have a lot of time to prepare — but the story almost writes itself for either opponent, should Michigan defeat TCU.