By Terrance Turner
Nov. 27, 2021
Today, college football fans feasted their eyes on one of the biggest games of the year. The No. 2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes battled the No. 5 University of Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a 29-degree tundra pelted with snow, the two 10-1 teams waged war for advantage. The long-running rivalry between the Wolverines and Buckeyes exploded during and after halftime, leading to fights both on and off the field. But Michigan held on for a historic win.
The scoring started early when wide receiver AJ Henning scored his first career touchdown. Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara fooled the Buckeyes defense with a reverse and handed the ball to Henning, who dashed past the goal line:
Ohio State took over. But the Michigan defense held them to a field goal. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson sacked quarterback C.J. Stroud on 3rd and goal to force a FG attempt. The score was 7-3 until the second quarter, when Stroud found receiver Garrett Wilson. Ohio State gained a 10-7 lead But Michigan answered when running back Hassan Haskins jumped over the line into the end zone:
Ohio State added a field goal shortly before halftime to narrow the score. Michigan led 14-13 at halftime. But it was during halftime when things started to get chippy. The two teams shared a single tunnel that they had to pass through in order to reach their respective locker rooms. Sports Illustrated took note of a heated exchange between both teams: “While there was no pushing and shoving from the teams as coaches and referees stood between them, there were middle fingers everywhere and words being exchanged by both sides.”
In the third quarter, it took little time for the Wolverines to build on their lead. Hassan Haskins once again rushed into the end zone to put the Wolverines ahead 21-10 with 11:50 left in the third. But less than six minutes later, all hell broke loose when two players collided in the end zone.
Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Brown got tangled up with Michigan receiver Roman Wilson. While Wilson was supine on the field, Brown rose from a kneeling position and tried to walk away. Wilson grabbed Brown’s leg, tripping him and preventing him from walking. Angered, Brown ripped off Wilson’s helmet and threw it across the field. Then, when Michigan linemen rushed over to check on their teammate, Brown placed his hands on OL Trevor Keegan’s facemask and shoved him.
Refs got involved and tried to break up the ensuing shoving match. Players swarmed around; a ref got hit in the melee. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh went into a frenzy on the sideline. The crowd went wild. Brown got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The penalty on Brown took Michigan from the two-yard line to first and goal at the one. Haskins flew in for his third rushing touchdown of the day:
Michigan ended the third quarter with a commanding 28-13 lead. But Ohio State fought back — hard. Buckeyes running back Treyveyon Henderson had a one-yard run for the touchdown with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter. But Michigan responded when Haskins added yet another rushing TD. Kicker Jake Moody added the extra kick to make it 35-20 with just 4:51 remaining.
C.J. Stroud hurled a pass to Henderson, who ran 10 yards to the house for another Ohio State score. (Kicker Noah Ruggles drilled the extra-point kick to make it 35-27.) With 4:45 left to play, Ohio State had life. But Michigan had the dagger when Haskins barreled into the end zone for his fifth (!!!) rushing touchdown of the day. (His five TDs tie a record for Michigan that was set in 1968.) The Wolverines led 42-27, with just over a minute left.
Down by 15 with just 60 seconds to spare, it was desperation time for Ohio State. Stroud got sacked by David Ojabo, making it 4th and 18. Ohio State had no choice but to go for it. But the Buckeyes turned it over on downs. Michigan won, 42-27, and will play in next week’s Big 10 Conference championship game.
This is Michigan’s first win versus Ohio State since 2011. This is their first win against a Big 5 opponent since 2006. Perhaps most importantly, this is Coach Harbaugh’s first-ever win versus Ohio State. He shouted out Hutchinson (who had three sacks) and Haskins for “carrying this team all year,” adding that the Wolverines “played their hearts out.”
“I’m so proud of this team — of what we’ve done on the field. Offense, defense — we were firing on all cylinders,” Hutchinson told a reporter after the game. “I’m just so proud of this team.” In response to a follow-up question, he added: “All glory to God for this win. I’m just so proud of everyone on this team.”
The fans were proud, too. Fans swarmed the field after the game concluded, covering the field in a raucous celebration: