Michigan vs. Purdue score takeaway: Wolverines clinches top-two CFP spot, wins second straight Big Ten title

Michigan vs. Purdue score takeaway: Wolverines clinches top-two CFP spot, wins second straight Big Ten title

No. 2 Michigan clinched its second straight Big Ten championship and a top-two berth in the college football playoffs with a 43-22 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten championship game. The Boilermakers and their dynamic offense ran nearly twice as many plays as the Wolverines, but Michigan made critical saves to come away with their second conference title under coach Jim Harbaugh.

Quarterback JJ McCarthy couldn’t match his productivity in the team’s regular season finale against Ohio State, but he threw three touchdowns on just 17 pass attempts as the Wolverines beat Purdue 29 -9 in the second half to continue their impressive closing streak. efforts. Running back Donovan Edwards added 185 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell played a solid game, but two grueling interceptions cost the Boilermakers in a key second-half run. The first came in the third quarter when O’Connell killed a drive in the red zone with an interception for Michigan’s Will Johnson. Three practices later, with Purdue down just nine points, O’Connell threw another pick into his own 20-yard line to set up an easy McCarthy touchdown throw to receiver Ronnie Bell to push the lead for the Michigan at three scores.

Michigan is one of the last two undefeated programs with Georgia. The Bulldogs and Wolverines should easily finish at No. 1 and 2, respectively, after becoming the only top-five teams to win conference championships. Now all eyes are on the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine as the college football playoff committee decides Michigan’s final destination.

Wasted opportunities

That Big Ten championship game wasn’t a crowning glory like Iowa’s 42-3 baptism against the Wolverines in 2021. Instead, Purdue played nearly the perfect football game to beat Michigan, but felt great chances in key locations.

Purdue put up six drives of at least eight games, an impressive achievement against Michigan’s physical defense. However, only a Boilermaker drives ended in a touchdown: the game’s second drive. Purdue settled for five field goals, three of which were 35 yards or less. Michigan responded by scoring on all four trips to the red zone. The gap effectively decided the game.

Donovan Edwards continues to emerge

Michigan running back Donovan Edwards missed part of the season with injuries and played second fiddle to Blake Corum. But in two games with Corum out of the roster, Edwards has definitely proven he can be a workhorse for one of the best teams in the country.

Over the past two games against Ohio State and Purdue, Edwards has rushed for 401 yards and three touchdowns on just 47 carries while breaking up 85- and 60-yard runs to swing plays and land knockout blows. Edwards became a legitimate weapon for Michigan’s offense and assured the Wolverines that losing Corum was not a devastating blow.

McCarthy stays strong

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy put in an incredible performance against Ohio State. While his numbers weren’t quite as high in the Big Ten title win, McCarthy’s performance was key in keeping Purdue on their toes during a competitive first half.

McCarthy completed 11 of 17 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He found Ronnie Bell five times for 67 yards and again extended plays with his feet. Michigan has run the ball at a high level for two years, but McCarthy’s playing ability is the wild card the Wolverines have been waiting for as they look forward to a possible national championship showdown against Georgia.

Charlie Jones should be recognized as an elite

Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones was an underused player in Iowa, but the Big Ten title game is set to be a repeat for NFL scouts. Jones was incredible, catching 13 passes for 165 yards and tripling his closest teammate in receiving. Whenever Purdue needed a big play, Jones was able to perform acrobatic catches around Michigan’s aggressive defensive backs. Jones would finish with nearly 1,400 yards in a sensational senior season. Few receivers nationally can boast of receiving 100-yard games against Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State.

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