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Hassan Haskins, No. 5 Michigan Upset No. 2 Ohio State; 1st Win in Rivalry Since 2011

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2021

Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

The No. 5 Michigan Wolverines clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday by upsetting the rival No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes 42-27 in the 116th edition of The Game at Michigan Stadium in snowy Ann Arbor, Michigan.

With the victory, the Wolverines ended the Buckeyes' win streak in The Game at eight, and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh won his first game against Ohio State in six tries.

Michigan leaned heavily on its running game in adverse weather conditions and finished with 297 rushing yards, while running back Hassan Haskins scored five touchdowns on the ground.

The Michigan defense also played well against Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate C.J. Stroud, who was under siege throughout the day and sacked three times by Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

Michigan improved to 11-1 with the win and is a Big Ten Championship Game victory away from clinching a spot in the College Football Playoff, while Ohio State fell to 10-2 and likely saw its CFP hopes go up in smoke.


Notable Stats

Cade McNamara, QB, MICH: 13-of-19 for 159 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT

C.J. Stroud, QB, OSU: 34-of-49 for 394 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT

Hassan Haskins, RB, MICH: 28 CAR for 169 YDS, 5 TD

TreVeyon Henderson, RB, OSU: 17 CAR for 74 YDS, 1 TD; 5 REC for 54 YDS, 1 TD

Blake Corum, RB, MICH: 6 CAR for 87 YDS

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, OSU: 11 REC for 127 YDS

Garrett Wilson, WR, OSU: 10 REC for 119 YDS, 1 TD

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, MICH: 3 SACKS


Haskins, Michigan Running Game Grind Down OSU Defense

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara made some nice throws Saturday and largely avoided big mistakes aside from one red-zone interception, but the Wolverines offense was all about the running game against Ohio State.

Multiple players made explosive plays for Michigan on the ground, but Haskins was the meat-and-potatoes guy who scored five touchdowns on the ground.

With snow falling, Michigan marched the ball right down the field on the first drive of the game and punctuated it with a 14-yard touchdown run by wide receiver A.J. Henning on an end-around:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

Cold day, hot start 🔥❄️<a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> scores the first TD of the game! <a href="https://t.co/f2Fbu2TQoU">pic.twitter.com/f2Fbu2TQoU</a>

Michigan led 7-3 after the first quarter, and as pointed out by WTKA's Sam Webb, Harbaugh had to be happy with the Wolverines possessing the ball and keeping Ohio State's explosive offense off the field:

Sam Webb @SamWebb77

1st Q Time of possession - <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Michigan?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Michigan</a> 9:05, OSU 5:55. That's EXACTLY how you draw it up. Defense with your offense. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ComplimentaryFootball?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ComplimentaryFootball</a>

Ohio State took a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Garrett Wilson in the second quarter despite Michigan's advantage in time of possession, but Harbaugh didn't stray from the game plan.

Michigan went right back to work and answered with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Haskins, putting the Wolverines back on top 14-10:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

Jumpman Jumpman Jumpman<a href="https://twitter.com/H2_3125?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@H2_3125</a> goes up and over to give <a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> the lead <a href="https://t.co/AIdFzSbq9l">pic.twitter.com/AIdFzSbq9l</a>

As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, Haskins entered elite company on that touchdown run in terms of single-season touchdown production by Michigan running backs:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Hassan Haskins has 14 Rush TD this season, including one today against Ohio State.<br><br>That is the most by a <a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> RB since Mike Hart also had 14 in 2007. <a href="https://t.co/2qlGrqebVW">pic.twitter.com/2qlGrqebVW</a>

Ohio State could have seized some momentum back before halftime with a late field goal, but it did little to deter the Michigan rushing attack.

After forcing an OSU three-and-out, Michigan orchestrated a three-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that included a 55-yard dash by Blake Corum and a 13-yard touchdown run by Haskins:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

HASKINS TOUCHDOWN! <a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> extends its lead early in the 2nd half <a href="https://t.co/J337OIBIsC">pic.twitter.com/J337OIBIsC</a>

That extended the Michigan lead to 21-13, and the Wolverines poured it on even more later in the third quarter when Haskins scored from one yard out, marking his third touchdown of the day:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

3rd TD of the day for <a href="https://twitter.com/H2_3125?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@H2_3125</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> takes the 28-13 lead in the 3rd <a href="https://t.co/5miiROybap">pic.twitter.com/5miiROybap</a>

Another opportunity for Michigan to wilt occurred after that, as Ohio State made it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes still had no answer for Michigan's running game, though, which allowed the Wolverines to march 66 yards on nine plays and restore the 15-point lead with Haskins' fourth rushing touchdown of the day:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

HASKINS, AGAIN 🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/H2_3125?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@H2_3125</a> gets his 4th TD of the day for <a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> <a href="https://t.co/B4vSSWM1jc">pic.twitter.com/B4vSSWM1jc</a>

Another Ohio State touchdown made it an eight-point game again, but Haskins made it a five-pack of touchdowns and essentially iced the game for Michigan:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

FIVE FOR NO. 25 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/H2_3125?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@H2_3125</a> get another TD <a href="https://t.co/ie4aQ4savL">pic.twitter.com/ie4aQ4savL</a>

Winning against Ohio State is always massively important for Michigan, but Saturday's victory was even bigger for many reasons.

Not only did it clinch a Big Ten Championship Game berth and get Harbaugh in the win column, but the Wolverines won it by beating the Buckeyes with pure physicality.


Hutchinson Slows Down Stroud, High-Powered OSU Offense

Stroud ended Saturday's game with solid numbers and may have kept his Heisman Trophy hopes alive, but it was clear he was uncomfortable at certain points throughout the game because of the pursuit of Hutchinson.

Saturday's edition of The Game had a decidedly different feel than recent versions from the very start, as Michigan scored a touchdown on the first drive and then quickly forced an Ohio State three-and-out.

ESPN's Matt Miller made note of how energized the Wolverines defense seemed to be out of the gates:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Michigan’s defense is FIRED up. Two weird misses from Stroud on the first drive.

Stroud managed to hang in there and actually gave Ohio State a lead in the second quarter when he connected with Wilson for a 25-yard touchdown:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

WHAT A CATCH, WHAT A TOUCHDOWN!<a href="https://twitter.com/OhioStateFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OhioStateFB</a> takes the lead thanks to this beautiful <a href="https://twitter.com/GarrettWilson_V?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@garrettwilson_V</a> catch <a href="https://t.co/Xo5z2jtAMR">pic.twitter.com/Xo5z2jtAMR</a>

Michigan took the lead back, however, and the Buckeyes were facing a one-point deficit at halftime.

There was undoubtedly some concern among Wolverines fans with such a tenuous lead, as Michigan has had a history of blowing halftime leads against the Buckeyes over the past decade:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Michigan leads Ohio State 14-13 at the half. <br><br>The Wolverines have held a halftime lead over the Buckeyes twice since 2004 (2012, 2016), losing both games. <br><br>This is also the 1st time Ohio State trails at halftime since that Oregon game. <a href="https://t.co/iVOTYKS2bM">pic.twitter.com/iVOTYKS2bM</a>

It was clear that the Wolverines were very much engaged, however, based on a halftime confrontation between the two teams in the Big House tunnel:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

👀<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/LateKickJosh?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LateKickJosh</a>)<a href="https://t.co/7nD7cbrvWp">pic.twitter.com/7nD7cbrvWp</a>

The Ohio State offense was out of sync coming out of halftime, which allowed Michigan to extend the lead from one to 15 in the third quarter.

The primary reason for the Buckeyes' offensive struggles in the third was the play of Hutchinson, who was all over Stroud:

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

ANOTHER SACK FOR <a href="https://twitter.com/aidanhutch97?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@aidanhutch97</a> 💥 <a href="https://t.co/4mKtqrqttf">pic.twitter.com/4mKtqrqttf</a>

With his third sack of the game, Hutchinson set an all-time Michigan single-season record with 13 sacks.

Stroud enjoyed his best game of the season last week in a 56-7 demolition of Michigan State, but Stewart Mandel of The Athletic pointed out that the protection from his offensive line was like night and day between the MSU and Michigan games:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

Stroud was not touched last week.<br><br>This week: Meet Aidan Hutchinson.

ESPN's Booger McFarland and WXYZ's Brad Galli were among those who marveled at Hutchinson's performance Saturday:

Booger @ESPNBooger

Aidan Hutchinson is a grown maaaaaaan

Brad Galli @BradGalli

Aidan Hutchinson is an absolute machine. Not a human. That's a machine.

Also, Miller wondered if Hutchinson may have done enough to put himself above Stroud in the Heisman race:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

So maybe this game is Aidan Hutchinson's Heisman moment instead.

Stroud did manage to move the ball in the fourth quarter and got the Buckeyes within one score on a couple of occasions, but with the OSU defense unable to stop Michigan's running game, it wasn't enough.

Now, with Michigan running wild offensively and Hutchinson being the most dominant defensive player in college football, a national title may not be out of reach.


What's Next?

Michigan moves on to face either Iowa or Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game next Saturday, while Ohio State will wait and see which bowl game it is placed in.

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