For the first time in 30 years, Michigan has back-to-back Big Ten titles.
Following last week’s win over Ohio State, everything between Michigan and another spot in the College Football Playoff is meeting unranked Purdue in the Big Ten championship game.
Purdue put up a tight fight, but the Wolverines ended up winning 43-22 in Indianapolis for their second straight Big Ten title. It’s something Michigan hasn’t achieved since the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
With this win, Michigan secures a spot in the CFP — likely No. 1. The No. 2 seed is behind defending champions Georgia.
Donovan Edwards, red zone defense set Michigan apart
To get to 13-0, Michigan needed another strong performance from running back Donovan Edwards. Edwards, now filling the leading back role in place of the injured Blake Collum, added 185 yards and 25 passing touchdowns on top of his 216-yard effort last week.boiler worker
Edwards’ outing was needed as Michigan got off to a rather slow start. Purdue led 10-7 early in the second quarter, and the Wolverines had just taken a 14-13 halftime lead. In the second half, however, Edwards set the tone.
On the first play of the third quarter, Edwards completed a 60-yard burst for Kalel Mullings’ first career touchdown.
Purdue earned three outs on the next drive, allowing Edwards to get back to work. This time, Edwards exploded for a touchdown 27 yards after JJ McCarthy passed tight end Luke Schoonmaker for 47 yards.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Michigan extended its lead from 14-13 to 28-13.
Purdue had proved too much to overcome, but the Boilermakers fought to the end.
Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell passed for 366 yards and caught one after another with Charlie Jones (162 yards and 13 catches). But the Boilermakers have been stuck in the red zone. Purdue has made it to Michigan’s top 20 six times but scored just one touchdown. Of the other five possessions, four were field goals and one was an interception by O’Connell.
Michigan’s ability to bend rather than snap has proven to be the difference in the game. If Purdue’s pitching keeps falling short, Michigan can finish the game.
Although the final score looked one-sided, Michigan led only 28-19 at the start of the fourth quarter. Nine strokes later, Purdue actually got the ball back and had a chance to shrink the lead even further. However, O’Connell was picked off by Will Johnson a second time, opening the door for McCarthy to hit Ronnie Bell for a touchdown from 17 yards.
That touchdown, McCarthy’s third of the game, snuffed out any chance of a comeback. McCarthy went 11-for-17 for 161 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the win.