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Wolverines Repeat in the Big Ten

Wolverines Repeat Big Ten

Wolverines repeat in the Big Ten with a physical performance on the ground in Indianapolis. Michigan’s second Big Ten Championship in a row keeps their season perfect as they improve to 13-0 heading into selection Sunday. Behind a 185-yard performance on the ground from Donovan Edwards and a great defensive performance, the Big Ten East champions took care of Purdue by a final score of 43-22. 

Efficient in the Air

On 11 of 17, Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy threw for only 161 yards. However, the 11 completions resulted in three touchdowns. Each scoring connection was to a different receiver. In McCarthy’s last two games, he completed 23 passes for six touchdowns and one interception. Michigan’s signal-caller has been efficient through the air late in the season and it has put the Wolverines in a position to compete for a national title. 

Rushing for the Title

In the same way that the Wolverines were able to find success against the Buckeyes in rivalry week, they did so in the Big Ten Title. Edwards had 25 carries for 185 yards, and 121 of them came on four plays. His other 21 touches averaged 3.0 yards per attempt. Again this week, Michigan was able to take advantage of its explosive run capabilities. 

Linebacker Kalel Mullings was the other Wolverine to record a rush touchdown on the day. He had eight carries on the day. They included a one-yard score early in the third and a late-game rushing touchdown in garbage time. The team’s success on the ground was a big player in the Wolverines’ repeat title in the Big Ten. 

Wolverine Pass Defense

Purdue’s leading receiver Charlie Jones was not able to find the end zone on Saturday. He finished with 13 catches for 162 yards. Purdue was also forced to settle for five field goals in this contest. They had seven trips inside the Michigan 30, but only once did they find the end zone. Five of them ended in field goals, and one was an interception. Michigan’s defense did a tremendous job of not breaking inside their own territory. 

Quarterback Aidan O’Connell entered the Big Ten title game as the conference’s leading passer in yards per game and second in total yards on the season. Michigan’s task defensively was going to be similar to that of their game against Ohio State on rivalry week, and they delivered. Despite O’Connell’s 366 yards on the day, he had two interceptions. Both of which led to Wolverine points. 

The second of the two interceptions came with just over nine minutes remaining in the contest. Michigan was up by nine at the time, and they took possession at the Purdue 16-yard line. Three plays later, McCarthy found Ronnie Bell for six. The two-point conversion made it a 17-point game, essentially sealing the victory.

Wolverines Repeat in the Big Ten

Michigan’s win against Purdue makes it nine victories in a row for the East Division in the conference title game. In two conference title game appearances, the Wolverines now have two rings. Their efficiency with the ball on offense combined with their stout defense against one of the nation’s top passers in O’Connell puts this team in a prime position on selection Sunday. Jim Harbaugh‘s team will likely be a number two seed for the second year in a row. This year, the Wolverines are looking to avoid another early CFP exit. These last two weeks have shown this team has the pieces to make a legitimate national title run.

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