INDIANAPOLIS — Hassan Haskins ran for two second-half touchdowns and broke a school record while running back Donavan Edwards threw a 75-yard scoring 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 against No. 13 Iowa.
The resurgent Wolverines (12-1) have won five straight, and if they reach 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 had been selected as the first defensive MVP. “We all knew we were going to put these T-shirts on.”
It has 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 that resulted in the deaths of four students at Oxford (Michigan) High School.
The Wolverines handed the Hawkeyes (10-3) their second straight title-game loss and prevented coach Kirk Ferentz from capturing his first conference championship 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 touchdown 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 offense just couldn’t stay on the field.
Hawkins broke open the game with a 4-yard touchdown 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 of 19 in 1968.
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After ending a losing streak to rival Ohio State and a 17-year Big Ten title drought over the last eight days, the Wolverines are waiting to see to see where the CFP selection committee puts them in the four-team playoff bracket.