INDIANAPOLIS — Hassan Haskins ran for two second-half touchdowns and broke a school record while running back Donavan Edwards threw a 75-yard TD pass to help No. 2 Michigan capture its first Big Ten title in 17 years and a probable playoff berth with a 42-3 rout Saturday over No. 15 Iowa.
Resurgent Michigan (12-1, No. 2 CFP) has won five straight and if it reaches the playoff, as expected, would need one more win to return to Indianapolis to play for its first national championship since 1997.
“Nobody else believed in us,” star end Aidan Hutchinson said before learning he’d been selected as the first defensive MVP. “We all knew, we all knew we were going to put these T-shirts on.”
It’s been an improbable run since coach Jim Harbaugh took a pay cut following a dismal 2020. The Wolverines started this season unranked and picked to finish in the middle of the Big Ten East, whose champion has won the last nine conference crowns. And it came on an emotional night when Michigan paid tribute to the victims from Tuesday’s school shooting, which resulted in the deaths of four students at Oxford (Michigan) High School.
They handed the Hawkeyes (10-3, No. 13) their second straight title game loss and prevented coach Kirk Ferentz from capturing his first conference crown since 2004. Iowa lost to Michigan State in the 2015 title game and this one came on a night both quarterbacks, Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla, struggled against the Wolverines.
“We knew we would have to play our best and have things go our way,” Ferentz said. “Obviously, that didn’t materialize.”
Blake Corum made two cuts to the right and sprinted 67 yards to make it 7-0. On Michigan’s next offensive play, Cade McNamara lateraled to Edwards and the freshman threw a perfect 75-yard TD pass to a wide open Roman Wilson for a 75-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
Iowa finally answered with a 22-yard field goal but the Hawkeyes just couldn’t stay on the field.
Hawkins broke open the game with a 4-yard TD run midway through the third quarter then sealed the victory by becoming the first Michigan running back to score 20 TDs in a single season on a 1-yard run early in the fourth. Ron Johnson set the previous mark, 19, in 1968.
Michigan: After ending a losing streak to rival Ohio State and a 17-year title drought over the past eight days, the Wolverines are waiting to see where the CFP selection committee puts it in the four-team playoff bracket.
Iowa: It was a bitter end for a team that reached No. 2 in October. Yes, Iowa won four straight and got the help it needed from Minnesota to make it to Indy. But the offense struggled mightily and the defense finally wore down.
Michigan honored the Oxford victims with a patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys.
The patch featured the initials of Tate Myre, a football player and wrestler, and his jersey No. 42 along with four hearts – one for each of the students who died in the shooting – inside the school’s block `O’. Myre’s family also joined Michigan’s captains for the pregame toss and wore T-shirts that read Oxford Strong.
The high school is about one hour north of Michigan’s campus.
Michigan: Corum’s 67-yard run matched the longest of his career and Edwards’ TD pass came on the first throw of his career. … The Wolverines improved to 3-0 all-time in Indy after beating DePauw in 1892 and Wabash in 1907. … Hutchinson added another sack to his single-season school record, giving him 14.
Iowa: Ended the first half with its second interception of the game and No. 24 this season, breaking a school record set in 1986 and matched in 1987 and 2008. … The Hawkeyes beat three ranked teams this season but a streak of six straight wins over Top 25 foes ended. It was the second-longest active streak in the FBS (Alabama, 11). …
Michigan: Will find out Sunday where the CFP selection committee has it seeded.
Iowa: Waits to see who and where will play in its bowl game.