The Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes descended on Indianapolis for a sell-out B1G 10 Championship Game. Both sides defied expectations to be here, overcoming pre-season predictions, big rivalries and even mid-season wobbles. Michigan dedicated this game to the victims of the tragic school shooting that rocked the state earlier in the week. The players wore a special patch on their uniforms for the game to honour those who lost their lives and were affected by the horrible events.
Iowa came in as huge underdogs, with many dismissing their chances of dispatching the Wolverines. The Hawkeyes began well and looked to make their mark early in the game. Michigan were forced to punt on their opening possession, going 3 & out in a brilliant start for the Iowa defense. Spencer Petras, Tyler Goodson and Sam LaPorta linked up well on Iowa’s first drive to put them into field goal range. LaPorta hauled in a couple of big plays to set up Caleb Shudak, but he missed from 33 yards out.
Fire up the Scoreboard
The opening score came soon after. Blake Corum, looking much healthier, was handed the ball in Michigan territory. He cut through the hole opened by his O-line, shifted outside to the right and danced down the touchline for a 67-yard touchdown. It was an explosive run, but Corum still had a key block down the field from his quarterback of all people! JJ McCarthy showed his pace to keep up and shepherd Corum into the end zone.
It was the Wolverines defense’s turn to force a quick 3 & out, getting their offense straight back on the field, and boy did they take advantage! Michigan consolidated their lead with a fun trick play on the first snap of the drive. Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis dialed up a double pass that found a wide open Roman Wilson. It was 5 star running back recruit Donovan Edwards who received the ball and threw a beautiful pass right in stride for Wilson to take it to the house.
Gattis seems to have found a way to get Edwards involved in the game plan, without limiting the outstanding work that Corum and Haskins are doing in the backfield. There is no question that the highly touted prospect will get his turn in the running game, but for now he is respecting the hierarchy and doing his part to help Michigan win without complaint. It must help when you get given double-pass responsibilities!
Time for Iowa to get going
Spencer Petras and the Iowa offense needed a response. They were down 14-0 and struggling for momentum. With Michigan bottling up the running game, Petras turned to the air. He picked up some chunk plays to move Iowa into the redzone. They couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for a field goal. But at least they were on the board and making progress.
The defense stepped up to play their part too, as the Hawkeyes sensed the game swinging in their favor. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh highlighted linebacker Jack Campbell before the game as a huge talent and threat on the Iowa defense. Campbell lived up to the pre-game hype, picking off a pass that was tipped by the intended receiver. The ball popped up and Campbell gobbled up the interception as he has done all year.
Disappointingly, the Hawkeyes couldn’t turn that into points and the second quarter descended into a punt-fest. The defenses dominated with neither side able to gain much traction on offensive drives. The half ended in a hail mary attempt from JJ McCarthy that was intercepted in the end zone, tallying yet another INT for the Hawkeye defense, but not the most devastating for Michigan who led 14-3 at halftime. The first half was a tight, defensive battle but Iowa’s offense wasn’t giving their fans much to believe in. Aidan Hutchinson celebrated being a Heisman finalist with another sack, tackle for loss and 2 QB hurries, not giving the Iowa signal callers any time to dissect the defense.
Night Night Iowa
After the break, Michigan put the B1G 10 Championship Game to bed. Hassan Haskins added yet another touchdown to his resume from 4 yards out. The offense sealed the edge, Haskins trotted into the corner of the end zone untouched and the Wolverines had a 21-3 lead that looked insurmountable. The Hawkeye offense has been uninspiring all year. Even when Iowa got down to the red zone, they couldn’t overcome the stout Wolverine goalline defense. They drove all the way to the Michigan 8, but turned the ball over on downs.
Michigan were excellent all day, and in all phases of the game. The punt coverage was suffocating, not allowing Charlie Jones any time or space on returns. They also managed a block early in the 4th to give Michigan great field position and the chance to wrap up the game beyond any doubt. The offense obliged, setting up camp at the 1 yard line thanks to an incredible 1-handed catch from Luke Schoonmaker. Haskins went in for his second TD of the game, diving over his offensive line for the score.
The game was over at 28-3 and Iowa were clearly aware they weren’t getting back into this. Alex Padilla replaced Petras at QB but couldn’t maneuver the ball against this defense. Erick All added another 6 with a touchdown catch from 5 yards out. Caden Kolesar corralled an interception as Padilla’s throw was tipped by the receiver. Kolesar gleefully caught the early Christmas present. The Wolverines kept their foot on the gas all game, determined to show just how good they are ahead of the payoffs. Donovan Edwards rushed for Michigan’s 6th TD to bring the score to 42-3 in an absolute rout.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT