No. 2 Michigan takes Big Ten in rout, makes playoff pitch

Dec 4, 2021, 6:51 AM | Updated: 10:08 pm
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes up field during the second half of the Big Ten ...

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes up field during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Michigan ignored the preseason predictions, the early poll snub and especially the critics who thought the program’s best days were long gone.

Instead they set out to prove everybody wrong. On Saturday, they did.

Hassan Haskins ran for two scores and broke a longtime school record leading No. 2 Michigan past Iowa 42-3 while clinching their first Big Ten title in 17 years and likely the first playoff berth in school history.

“We defied all expectations,” record-setting Wolverines end Aidan Hutchinson said after becoming the first defensive player to earn game MVP honors. “Nobody ever thought we could do this, especially this season and we did it — in dominant fashion.”

Earning the ring they’ve been craving — and into position for their first national championship since 1997 — sure didn’t come easily. The Wolverines (12-1, No. 2 CFP) had to overcome a midseason loss to in-state rival Michigan State and end the futility against Ohio State for a chance to end their conference title drought.

And then on championship week, the whole state was shocked by the shooting tragedy that took the lives of four high school students in Oxford, Michigan, including Tate Myre, a football player and wrestler. Michigan honored the victims of the school about an hour away from its campus by wearing a patch on their right shoulder with Myre’s jersey No. 42 and four hearts — one for each student who died — inside the school’s traditional block ‘O’ logo.

Myre’s family also joined the Wolverines captains at midfield for the pregame coin toss and, perhaps fittingly, the Wolverines final score gave them 42 points.

“It was Aidan who came to me and wanted to dedicate this game to Tate Myre and ‘yes, let’s do that,’ that was huge,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Tate was a warrior … Best athlete in the school could have easily made it out of that school and been the first one out but you just know while people were running away from that fire, he was running into it. He’s a hero. I’m glad our players got sold on it.”

Resurgent Michigan (12-1, No. 2 CFP) has won five straight and if it makes the playoff, as expected, one more win would send it back to Indianapolis for an even bigger championship game in January.

The Hawkeyes (10-3, No. 13) lost their second straight title game, preventing coach Kirk Ferentz from capturing his first conference crown since 2004. Iowa lost to Michigan State in the 2015 title game and this one came on a night both quarterbacks, Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla, struggled. They were a combined 19 of 37 with 175 yards and one interception.

“One thing just leads to another sometimes, there are games like that unfortunately,” Ferentz said. “They’re not much fun. I’m not sure the score is totally representative of the two teams.”

This one got away quickly.

Blake Corum made two cuts to the right and sprinted 67 yards to make it 7-0. On Michigan’s next offensive play, Cade McNamara lateraled to Donovan Edwards and the freshman running back threw a perfect 75-yard TD pass to a wide open Roman Wilson for a 75-yard score and a 14-0 lead.

Iowa finally answered with a 22-yard field goal but the Hawkeyes offense couldn’t stay on the field.

Hawkins finally broke open the game with a 4-yard TD run midway through the third quarter then sealed the victory with a 1-yard run that gave him 20 rushing TDs in a single season, one more than Ron Johnson had in his record-setting 1968 season.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan: After ending a losing streak to rival Ohio State and a 17-year title drought over the past eight days, the Wolverines are waiting to see to see where the CFP selection committee puts it in the four-team playoff bracke.t

Iowa: It was a bitter end for a team that reached No. 2 in October. Yes, Iowa won four straight and got the help it needed from Minnesota to make it to Indy. But the offense struggled mightily and the defense finally wore down.

STAT PACK

Michigan: Corum’s 67-yard run matched the longest of his career and Edwards’ TD pass came on the first throw of his career. Corum had five carries for 74 yards and Haskins rushed 17 times for 56 yards. … Cade McNamara was 16 of 24 with 169 yards, one TD and one interception. … Hutchinson added another sack to his single-season school record, giving him 14. … Michigan beat top-15 teams in consecutive weeks for the fist time since 2003 and posted their third 12-win season in school history (1905, 1997).

Iowa: Ended the first half by picking off its second pass of the game, giving it a record-breaking 24th this season. The school record was set in 1986 and matched in 1987 and 2008. … The Hawkeyes beat three ranked teams this season but a streak of six straight wins over Top 25 foes ended. It was the second-longest active streak in the FBS (Alabama, 11). … The Hawkeyes rushed 33 times for 104 yards.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Will find out Sunday where the CFP selection committee has it seeded.

Iowa: Waits to see who and where will play in its bowl game.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

France ski world blasts Asian Winter Games in Saudi Arabia

PARIS (AP) — The French ski federation, mayors from mountain resorts and ski instructors lashed out Thursday at the decision to award the 2029 Asian Winter Games to Saudi Arabia, saying the decision goes against “what is desirable for the planet.” In a joint statement also signed by the union of ski area operators, they […]
1 day ago
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, and Belgium's Axel Witsel during the Nations League soccer match ...
Associated Press

Brazil will be top-ranked team at World Cup in Qatar

ZURICH (AP) — Brazil will go to this year’s World Cup as the top-rated team after extending its lead over second-place Belgium in the latest FIFA rankings released Thursday. Brazil won its two warmup games in September — against Ghana and Tunisia — while Belgium lost to the Netherlands in one of its two Nations […]
1 day ago
Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, left, collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg...
Associated Press

Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup. Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
1 day ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
1 day ago
No. 2 Michigan takes Big Ten in rout, makes playoff pitch