Michigan Takes Big 10 Again!

Michigan has set a new school record.  The Wolverines have never won 13 games in a row in one season.  Now, they are hoping to push that record further to 15.  It is clear that Jim Harbaugh’s stamp is firmly affixed on the Wolverines.  They play a tough, physical brand of football.  They wear you down.  They impose their will upon you.  They defeat you.  Michigan is on a mission this year.  Beating Michigan State, Ohio State and taking the Big 10 Championship is part of that mission.  Now they wait to see where their seeding is at for the college football playoff.


Hopeful Boilermakers

Purdue deserves their due.  Coach Jim Brohm is building a program intended to last in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Aiden O’Connell and childhood friend Charlie Jones led the Boilermaker attack against the Wolverines.  They connected 13 times for 162 of O’Connell’s 366 yards thru the air.  They tested Michigan’s defense.  But Michigan’s defense bested the Boilermakers, sacking O’Connell four times at critical points in the game.  Additionally, freshman cornerback Will Johnson ended two Purdue trips to the redzone with interceptions.  Johnson is an NFL player in the making, at 6’3 190 pounds.


A Fast Start

The Wolverines started fast, ending their first drive with a 25 yard touchdown strike from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.  Purdue answered letting Michigan know that the championship game wasn’t to be a walk in the park.  In fact the Boilermaker defense forced a three and out on Michigan’s next possession and Purdue seized the initiative by driving to the Michigan 16 yard line and settling for a field goal and the 2nd quarter lead.

When the Wolverines started their next drive, they decided to grind the Boilermakers into the ground, executing a 15-play touchdown drive chewing up six minutes of clock.  Michigan had to convert a key 4th down to keep the drive alive.  The drive ended with a seven-yard touchdown catch by Luke Schoonmaker.  The Boilermakers answered in their next drive with a field goal.


Dominate Edwards

Donovan Edwards shocked the Boilermakers the first play of the second half with a 60-yard sprint down the field to the Purdue 15-yard line.  Four players later and Kalel Mullings rammed his way into the endzone.  Michigan forced a Purdue three and out and went right back to work.  The Wolverines showed how explosive they can really when they traveled 67 yards in two plays for a touchdown.  J.J. McCarthy hit Schoonmaker for a 40-yard strike and then Edwards gashed the Boilermaker defense for 27 yards and a touchdown.  Edwards showed his agility and power as he side-stepped two defenders and burst past multiple would-be tacklers into the endzone.

Michigan running back Donovan Edwards (7) runs with the ball as Purdue safety Sanoussi Kane (21) defends during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Two Turnover Tale

Purdue started a very promising drive their next possession.  O’Connell hit Charlie Jones for a 32-yard gain, and then Devin Mockobee rushed for 25 yards down to the Michigan 43-yard line.  Purdue was moving the ball.  Then O’Connell took the snap and ripped the ball down the left side of the field where Will Johnson snagged his first interception of the game.  Unfortunately, Michigan went three and out and Purdue drove far enough to get a field goal.  When Michigan got the ball back they started another very promising drive.  After securing a 3rd and 3 with a pass to Ronnie Bell, you could tell J.J. McCarthy was starting to feel it.  Once the pocket started to break down he had no problem rolling out to look for a receiver down field.  He has ultimate trust in his arm and his vision.  Yet, he still as more to learn.  On first down, McCarthy ripped a 30 yard pass down the field thinking he could fit it in between three defenders.  Jamari Brown disavowed him of that thought.  Still, his mistake only resulted in a Purdue field goal two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Michigan’s next drive was a three and out.  Feeling the pressure, O’Connell took another risk only to be rewarded with another Will Johnson interception on Purdue’s 12-yard line.  This time Michigan capitalized on their good fortune.  On third and 11, J.J. McCarthy threw a heater down the middle the field to Ronnie Bell as he came open right in front of the goal post.  Coach Harbaugh decided to go for two.  Michigan opted for a bit of razzle dazzle moving his offensive line to the left side of the field and leaving his skill position players where they were at.  McCarthy took the snap, rolled to his right and found Schoonmaker for the two point conversion putting the Wolverines up by three scores.


Intellectual Brutality

Purdue managed one more drive and one more field goal.  During their next possession, Michigan executed eight runs in three minutes on their way to yet another touchdown.  Michigan’s last drive of the game was intellectual brutality at its finest with only one explosive 18 yard run by Donovan Edwards.

Everytime J.J. McCarthy steps on the field he gets better.  Remember, he is just 19 years old and a sophomore.  He hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.  His 11 completions for 161 yards and three touchdowns might not seem like much but don’t let the numbers fool you.  He made critical, timely and difficult throws that only a few people on the planet can make.  He has the athleticism to throw accurately on the run and he has a rocket for an arm.  His one interception is instructive.  He also under threw a few passes.  Whenever he misfires its due to lack of fundamentals.  However, you could see the coaches on the sideline coaching him up and through his mistakes.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) scrambles as Purdue linebacker Kieren Douglas defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


No Blake Corum, no problem.  Donovan Edwards rushed 25 times for 185 yards and a touchdown.  He is a fast, powerful, and patient runner of the football.  He is also very gracious and humble, giving his teammates the glory for his accomplishments.  Ronnie Bell’s experience shown thru as he always found a way to get open and the tight ends were key to McCarthy’s success this evening.


Playing thru Adversity

It is important to note that Michigan played without two of their best players today.  Mike Morris, edge rusher, was ruled out for the championship and Blake Corum is out for the season.  Michigan started the season with a quarterback controversy as the staff worked thru the process of who was going to lead this team down the stretch.  Coach Harbaugh didn’t make a decision until the fourth game of the season versus Maryland.  Coach Harbaugh felt that McCarthy’s ceiling was higher and would give Michigan the best chance at accomplishing all of their goal’s this season.  Thus far his choice has been the right one.

The Michigan Wolverines are Big 10 Champions for the 2nd year in a row.  For now, the Wolverines wait to see where their seeding is and who they will face in round one of the college football championship.  Go Wolverines!

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