It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan came out on top Saturday against a gutsy Illinois team.
The Wolverines went right down the field on the first drive for a Blake Corum rushing touchdown. But the wheels fell off after that, and the maize and blue didn’t find the end zone for the rest of the game. Jake Moody saved Michigan’s season after kicking a game-winning field goal with nine seconds left in the game to give Michigan a 19-17 win.
The Wolverines have dominated every game they’ve played all season. This was the first game Michigan has trailed deep into a ball game, but receiver Ronnie Bell told the media he wouldn’t want it any other way being in a close game like this.
“Wouldn’t want it any other way man,” said Bell. “The amount of work we put in, like it almost sucks sometimes when you win by a bunch you don’t get to play four quarters. So you wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Once the clock hit zero, Michigan was 11-0 and will enter Columbus next weekend undefeated. The Buckeyes defeated Maryland on Saturday, although Ohio State had struggles of its own. Both teams will face each other without a loss on their record for the first time since 2006.
Rod Moore and J.J. McCarthy believe Michigan is ready for the task. The Wolverines are a little banged up right now but both players told the media Michigan will be prepared and ready to go.
“I believe we’re ready for next week in any way shape or form,” said Moore. “Whoever’s gonna step up, everybody’s gonna step up. So we’re just gonna go out next week and attack and come prepared.”
“We’re ready no matter what,” said McCarthy. “We got only 22 guys out there. I know we’re gonna be ready.”
But how quickly would Michigan turn the page to Ohio State? Usually, Jim Harbaugh says the Wolverines will enjoy a win for the rest of the night before looking at their next opponent. But Kris Jenkins said the Wolverines would probably turn their attention to Ohio State after the Illinois game.
“Without a doubt tomorrow (Sunday),” said Jenkins. “We’re all looking forward to you know, our coaches usually tell us maximum enjoyed a win for the night. So you know, right after tonight we’re all looking forward, we’re all pushing forward to to the big game. Which is the game this upcoming week. So there’s not gonna be too long until we’re gonna start turning on that film. Probably tonight even.”
Since the Michigan-Ohio State game was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 within the Michigan program, most of the current Wolverines have not played in Columbus. In fact, many starters know nothing but winning against the Buckeyes. Michigan defeated Ohio State last year in Ann Arbor, 42-27. The Big Ten championship game is on the table next Saturday in the Shoe and Jenkins shares similar sentiments when saying Michigan is prepared. The Wolverines have been preparing for this moment all season and not that it’s here — Ohio State will get Michigan’s best shot.
“Honestly, I think we’re really prepared,” Jenkins said. “You know, we really tried to keep that mindset preparing for them throughout the year and everything that we do playing the game of football but with our workouts with everything. So we’re just setting our every — everything that we do, you know, we’re setting that mindsets and that attitudes and that identity. So when we go over to play them, you know, we give them our best shot.”