In Jim Harbaugh’s seventh season with the program, he earns his first win against Michigan’s arch rival and the Wolverines are headed to the Big Ten Championship.
The Michigan Wolverines wanted the ball and took it right to Ohio State out of the gates. Early momentum flowed with Michigan as they pounded the ball down the throats of the Buckeyes’ defensive interior. Then a fake screen left, end-around right with A.J. Henning left the the far side of the field wide open. Henning ran 14 yards and into the endzone to give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead.
The 10-play, 75-yard drive stunned Ohio State, but there was plenty of game left.
Michigan had the chance to jump up two scores in the first seven minutes after a quick three-and-out by Ohio State. But Cade McNamara tried to force it over the middle and was picked on a bad throw. It was a play that completely squandered the early Wolverine momentum.
The defense was looking good in the first half with a couple of holds. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo were applying pressure to C.J. Stroud and getting to him when it mattered most.
However, they couldn't do that forever and the Michigan offense needed to get things going. Ohio State capitalized on a short break for the Michigan defense as Stroud found Garrett Wilson on a jump ball for a big touchdown to give OSU the 10-7 lead.
Down for the first time in the game, the Wolverines put together a strong drive where they got the ball back into Hassan Haskins’ hands. That continued on a 4th & 1 pickup. The next play, McNamara looked deep and connected with Cornelius Johnson to the 1-yard line.
Haskins finished off the drive with a touchdown. The perfect answer to make the game 14-10 in favor of the Wolverines.
Ohio State took over and was moving down the field as time was running out in the first half. Stroud tossed one deep while getting hit and RJ Moten was in great position to intercept the ball, but it fell through his hands. The Buckeyes would settle for a field goal and Michigan went into the break up 14-13.
The story of the first half was missed opportunities. Yes, Michigan had the lead, but it could have been much more. Against Ohio State, you need to make the most of every mistake. The McNamara pick and missed interception by Moten are perfect examples of that.
Things got chippy in the tunnel at halftime as the teams had to be separated from each other outside of the locker rooms.
Ohio State vs Michigan the best rivalry in sports— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 27, 2021
Ohio State came out of that with three-straight runs and the Michigan defense got a huge stop on 3rd & 2.
The Wolverines were doing the same thing, but much better. Blake Corum coming off the ankle injury broke free for a massive 50-yard run, and the Wolverines were again in Ohio State territory.
Three plays, three runs, and Haskins pushed his way in for six. Suddenly, Michigan had a 21-13 early in the second half. The Wolverines rushed for 190 yards through the first 34 minutes of the game .
Now, Ohio State needed some offense and had to respond. But penalties and the Michigan pass rush was having none of it. The Buckeyes picked up their fourth false start penalty and had a holding violation that put themselves behind the sticks. Then, after being held, Hutchinson came through with his second sack of the game to force a punt.
Things started unraveling for the Buckeyes’ defense. McCarthy struck with a ball down the sideline to Roman Wilson for 31 yards. Then, a flea-flicker from McNamara to Mike Sainristil went for 34 yards. A scuffle was underway after that play as Ohio State corner Cameron Brown ripped Roman Wilson’s helmet off and threw it, nearly igniting a brawl. After just 5 plays going for 78 yards, Haskins ran it to the corner for a touchdown.
The Wolverines racked up 159 yards in just 8 plays on their first two drives of the half and had a 15-point advantage with only a couple minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Aidan Hutchinson racked up his third sack of the game as the OSU offensive line was utterly shaken. With 13 sacks on the season, Hutchinson became Michigan’s single-season sack leader. To wrap up the third quarter, the Wolverines owned a 28-13 lead with the Buckeyes threatening. TreVeyon Henderson slammed it in on the 1-yard line and OSU was still hanging around, 28-20.
Josh Gattis and the Michigan offense stayed absolutely locked in. It was essentially all runs from the Wolverines with a quality combination of Haskins and Corum. A 9-play, 66-yard drive finished with Haskins’ 4th touchdown of the game.
This is the game that legends are made of and Haskins all but cemented his legacy with five touchdowns and 169 yards on the day. Michigan regained a two-touchdown advantage, 35-20.
But the Buckeyes weren't just going to go away. Stroud connected with Chris Olave for 39 yards on a Moss-like catch over a Michigan defender to get into plus territory. On 4th & 7, Michigan brought the blitz but the Buckeyes converted on yet another big time catch, this time my Wilson. Just when OSU thought they had scored on a Stroud scramble, Ojabo earned a holding call and it backed the Buckeyes up and took points off the board. This resulted in another 4th down. OSU upped the tempo and Henderson caught a pass in the flat with no one in front of him for an easy score. Michigan had the 35-27 lead with just under 5 minutes remaining.
Each of the first three Michigan drives in the second half resulted in touchdowns and they could put the game away if they did so again. They recipe for success was handing the football to Haskins and let him run, and it worked again. It was two runs of double-digits yards and then a 37-run with a hurdle down near the five yard line. He capped off the drive with his fifth touchdown of the game, tying a school record, and Michigan took a commanding 42-27 advantage and won the game.
Fans stormed the field at the Big House as Michigan celebrates its first win in a decade against OSU. It wasn’t easy. We all remember the travesties and pain that have come over the past few seasons, in what has felt like an eternity. But, that is what makes this moment all the more sweeter, Michigan prevails, their season continues, and they are a very dangerous team playing their best football of the season heading into a Big Ten Championship Game, and maybe beyond.