Not scared: Michigan football takes down No. 2 Ohio State, advances to B1G Championship game

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — 10 years. Nine games. That’s how long it had been since Michigan football had bested its rival in Ohio State. And on Saturday, the Wolverines played with pent-up aggression, embodying every single second of that drought — from the players to the coaching staff.

It turns out that the “Beat Ohio” drill, a 9-on-7 drill based on physicality and the run game, wasn’t just a named formality, empty words used to indicate that Ohio State was finally the focal point for this maize and blue program. Against a touted defensive front, Michigan returned to its roots, doing what it did early in the season, hitting the ground and pound hard, and the Buckeyes had no answer for it.

While the run game starred for the Wolverines, that wasn’t the big story. It was the defense against the vaunted Ohio State offense.

Though the scarlet and grey were expected to move the ball — and they did — it was a masterful plan by new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, executed about as well as it possibly could. Senior captain and edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson was electric, despite being a giant focus of the OSU offensive line. His three sacks added to his total, which is a single-season record now for the Wolverines.


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In the biggest game in Ann Arbor since 2003, when Michigan was ranked No. 5 to Ohio State’s No. 4, despite most in the media saying that the Wolverines had next to no shot to take down the Buckeyes — noting that the weapons OSU has at its disposal are too numerous — as Hutchinson said on Tuesday, this team was not scared of No. 2 Ohio State. And it showed every time that the Buckeyes tightened the score.

Tailback Hassan Haskins shined once again, tallying 169 yards and five touchdowns — a tie for the single-game touchdown record — on the day. When OSU was in dire need of a stop, down eight, it was Haskins that continued to thrash and gash, the Buckeyes with no answer. Ohio State called a timeout on a first down, and Haskins got one of his signature hurdles to get to first-and-goal. He scored on the very next play to put the game out of reach. The Wolverines tallied 297 yards rushing.

For the first time since 2011, Michigan beat Ohio State, 42-27. For the first time since its inception, the Wolverines will play in the Big Ten Championship game. It will play either Wisconsin (a team it’s already beaten once) or Iowa.


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