Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines have finally done it. For the first time since 2011, Michigan has finally gotten over the proverbial hump, taking down rival Ohio State, 42-27. The Wolverines got to send the Buckeyes packing, and the Maize and Blue faithful finally got something to talk about.
Michigan earned its first trip to the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis, facing the Iowa Hawkeyes next weekend for a chance at the title. Should the Wolverines win next week, they’ll retain their bid for the CFP for the first time as well.
Michigan opened its first drive of the game with a rushing touchdown from AJ Henning. Ohio State went three and out on theirs. The next series Cade McNamara threw the one turnover of the game. Despite coming up with an interception, the Buckeyes had to settle for a field goal after Michigan’s defense forced another three and out within the Michigan 10. The Wolverines punted their next two series, but these would be the final punts for Michigan for the rest of the game.
The Buckeyes got the ball at the start of the second half, but were quickly forced to a three and out. Ohio State ended up in a third and short situation, and their running back TreVeyon Henderson got stuffed by Josh Ross, resulting in a loss of two. The Buckeyes were forced to punt from their own 35.
This was the turning point of the game for me. For years, halftime adjustments by Ohio State has been part of Michigan’s downfall. This time, the Buckeyes came out for their first drive of the second half and got stopped dead in their tracks. Michigan took the momentum swing in their favor and scored a touchdown on each of their four drives in the second half. Josh Ross’ 3rd and 2 stuff set the tone for the rest of the game for the Wolverines. It led immediately into Haskins’ second touchdown of the game as the Wolverines went for 81 yards on three plays for their first drive of the second half. This put Michigan up 21-13 early in the third quarter.
Ohio State never felt like it truly went away, but one thing was certain, it wouldn’t mount a comeback. Opening the second half only down one meant that everything was still on the table for the Buckeyes. The Wolverines took that away from them in one fell swoop. While there were multiple contenders who could be credited at turning the tide given the vast amount of highlights this game produced, Ross set the tone for the Wolverines for the rest of the game.
On a beautiful snowy day in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh and the Wolverines collected their first win against the Buckeyes since he took over the program in 2015. Michigan heads to Indy next week for the first time and hopes to return to Ann Arbor with a Big Ten title. The future’s still bright for the Wolverines this season as all their goals still lay before them.