Fiesta, Fiesta: Michigan football caps off Big Ten play in historical fashion

Michigan will face TCU Dec. 31

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh holds the trophy as he celebrates with his team after defeating Purdue in the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, early Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Indianapolis. Michigan won, 43-22. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) (AJ Mast, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 2 ranked Michigan Wolverines capped off Big Ten play in historical fashion as they’ve won back-to-back Big Ten Championships and improved to 13-0 for the first time in program history.

With the victory, Michigan will now take on the No. 3 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoffs in Glendale, Arizona, at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl on Saturday (Dec. 31) at 4 p.m. EST.

The game will be the first time both teams will face each other, as well as the 50th bowl game in the Wolverines 143 year history.

The CFP semi-final will be the Wolverines’ second consecutive and their first trip to the Fiesta Bowl since 1986 when head coach Jim Harbaugh quarterbacked the men in maize to a 27-23 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh, left, runs to the sidelines with the ball while being pursued by Nebraska tackle Neil Smith during the third quarter of the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 2, 1986. Michigan defeated Nebraska, 27-23. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (1986 AP)

But none of that would be possible if Michigan didn’t boat race the Purdue Boilermakers 43-22 in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Donovan Edwards

The Wolverines had key contributions by many players Saturday, but none shined brighter than Donovan Edwards. He was a man amongst boys as he rushed 25 times for 185 yards and a touchdown, including a shake and back move down the sideline for a 60-yard gain to open the third quarter.

But his 27-yard juke and scamper on the next drive sealed him as the Big Ten Championship Game MVP.

Although his performance was outstanding, his post-game speech sent waves through the Wolverines faithful.

“First and foremost, I couldn’t do this without my Lord and savior,” said Edwards. “I’m blessed to be able to do this in the name of the Lord and praise his name after this big-time game that we just played. We’re back-to-back champions.”

Edwards continued:

“Shoutout to Blake Corum. He’s the best running back in college football. He deservedly needs the Heisman. If he didn’t get hurt, he would’ve won the Heisman, so shoutout to Blake Corum as this one’s for you, baby.”

J. J. McCarthy

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is starting to build confidence later into the season as he continues to make outstanding plays in the pocket and on the run.

“Everything we’ve done every single week, the constant preparation that was done in the offseason and the execution on the weekly basis, so we’re just doing us, and it worked out,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy completed 11-17 for 161 yards and three touchdowns the day.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 03: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines runs with the ball as Khordae Sydnor #96 and Jalen Graham #6 of the Purdue Boilermakers give chase during the first half of the Big Ten football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) (2022 Aaron J. Thornton)

Defense

The defense kept the close game heading into halftime thanks to players like Rod Moore who had 14 total tackles and nine solos. But it was the performance of freshman cornerback Will Johnson and his two loud interceptions that had the crowd rocking, especially as he got fitted for the Turnover Buffs.

TCU is currently ranked 64th in rushing defense in the country, as they’re allowing 149.4 yards per game, so if we’re looking ahead, the matchup between the two teams should be one for the history books.

What were your thoughts on the Big Ten Championship Game? How do you feel about the CFP rankings, and how do you feel about the matchup against the Horned Frogs?


About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.