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Turning point of the game: Iowa and the Big Ten Championship

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The Wolverine defense earns this week’s turning point of the game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines continue their pursuit for a national championship, cruising through the No. 13 Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis by a score of 42-3.

Michigan was dominant throughout the game, despite the offense looking sluggish and going scoreless in the second quarter. After some adjustments at the half, the Wolverines rattled off another four touchdowns to guide them to their first Big Ten Championship since 2004.

Despite punting on their first drive of the game, there wasn’t really cause for panic, especially after Iowa missed a 33-yard field goal on their first drive. The Wolverines started to get rolling right after, scoring two touchdowns on their next two drives. Michigan first found the endzone after a 67-yard rush from Blake Corum, igniting their fans in Lucas Oil Stadium. They could hardly be contained on Michigan’s next drive where Donovan Edwards connected with Roman Wilson for a 75-yard passing touchdown. The Wolverines went into half up 14-3.

The Hawkeyes got the ball to start the second half, but ended up punting after going three and out. Michigan opened the second half with a four-yard rushing score from Hassan Haskins, going up 21-3. Iowa, on the next drive, marched down the field and got into the red zone. The Wolverines forced a fourth down, and Iowa ended up losing seven yards on the play and turned the ball over on downs. This was Iowa’s first and only time in both Michigan’s territory and the red zone in the second half. The Hawkeyes didn’t make it past midfield in five of their six drives in the last thirty minutes.

By then it was too little too late for the Hawkeyes. Their offense sagged and couldn’t stay on the field, while the Wolverines found the endzone three more times before the game was over. Thus, Michigan’s defense and the fourth down stand earns this week’s turning point of the game. The Wolverines defense took away any attempt for the Hawkeyes to score, leaving Iowa with only three points for the game. While Iowa was able to complete a pass on fourth down, their receiver fell well short of the line of scrimmage, ending up with a seven-yard loss to Michigan’s 15, where the Maize and Blue would take over.

A close second would be Haskin’s four-yard rushing touchdown to open the half for Michigan. Coming out of half time and scoring another touchdown was much needed after Michigan’s offense appeared sluggish in the first half. After the Wolverines went up 21-3 and the Hawkeyes were stripped of their final attempt to score, the game was locked in Michigan’s favor. Iowa forced Michigan to punt their next drive, but on their next series, Haskins found the end zone once more with a 1-yard rushing touchdown. This would be Michigan’s only punt of the half.

Haskins broke the long standing Michigan rushing touchdown record for a single season, collecting his 20th on his second score of the night. Erick All caught the next touchdown with a nice one-handed catch with about five minutes remaining. J.J. McCarthy entered the game for Michigan’s final drive with a lot of Michigan’s second string to cap off the game with an Edwards rushing touchdown.

Despite how the first half went for the Wolverines, they were reminded of their preseason predictions and chances. They made adjustments and refocused their mentality to prove to all those that doubted they were capable of being a contender for the CFP wrong. Michigan collected their first title since 2004 and their first Big Ten Championship game trophy in an absolute dominant win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Wolverines will move on to the CFP for the first time in program history as they continue their incredible season of redemption.