Michigan 42 Iowa 3 – 2021 Big Ten Championship Game Recap


Final Score: 42-3, Michigan by 39 over Iowa
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 11.1 (+27.9)
CD Projection: Michigan by 18 (+21)


GAME 13 RECAP vs. Iowa (Big Ten Championship)

Football is an emotional sport. It’s very difficult to play the game well without wearing all your passion on your sleeve. However, you have to harness that emotional power. Players have to use their emotion as fuel.

Coaching football is a very interesting high wire act. You have to inspire your players to bring the maximum emotional energy, but you yourself have to try to stay balanced. You have to be a model of how to wield that control over your emotions. Coaches love to preach about not getting too high, or too low. Peaks and valleys ideally have very little space between them, in a coach’s eyes.

Being a fan is almost the inverse of all that. It is pure unbridled emotion all the time. It’s constant emotional escalation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The valleys get excavated to greater depths. The mountains are stacked upon to push the peaks higher into the stratosphere.

I try to be much closer to objective than most fans. It helps me modulate my own emotion to dive into the numbers immediately. In the press box, I don’t know how well I could contain myself if I wasn’t plunking away on my keyboard recording the play data. That is why this recap is coming out the day AFTER the Big Ten Championship game. Last night, I couldn’t focus on the numbers. I was up in the clouds with the rest of the Wolverines. Sorry, not sorry.

Offensively, Michigan was near perfectly balanced. With garbage time removed, the play calls were 50/50 run to pass. Michigan amassed 461 total yards: 250 yards passing (54%) and 211 yards rushing (46%).

Hassan Haskins carried most of the workload with 17 carries, but it was the Zoom half of the #BoomAndZoom combo that set the pace. Blake Corum kicked off the scoring with a 67 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Donovan Edwards followed that up on the next offensive snap on the ensuing drive. Edwards caught a swing pass on the edge, and then uncorked a beautiful 46 yard spiral to Roman Wilson for a 75-yard touchdown.

Iowa showed a lot of guts by staying in the fight and battling through the entire 2nd quarter, and most of the 3rd. But eventually the dam broke and 21 points came like a tidal wave in the 4th quarter.

On defense, Michigan made the key plays when they had to. Aidan Hutchinson was relentless for the entire game, and earned Big Ten Championship Game MVP honors for his efforts: 1 sack and 7 QB pressures.

Josh Ross led the Wolverines with 9 tackles while Michigan absolutely strangled the Iowa rushing attack. The Hawkeyes could only muster an 18% Success Rate on run plays, with garbage time removed. They ended with 32 carries for 114 sack-adjusted yards, 3.5 yards per carry,

The special teams units put the cherry on top of the championship sundae. Brad Robbins flipped the field as Iowa was grasping for their last breath in the 3rd quarter. His 64-yard punt moved the ball from Michigan’s 13 yard line to the Iowa 23 yard line. The Hawkeyes never moved back into Michigan territory.

After that next Iowa possession, Jay Harbaugh unleashed another punt block. Cornelius Johnson, the Wolverines’ leading receiver of the season, blocked his 2nd punt of the year. A couple JJ McCarthy runs, a Cade McNamara dime, and a Haskins plunge finished off the sequence to provide a perfect microcosm of Michigan’s brand of complementary football.

Kudos to the Michigan Football program. The players have been a joy to watch. The coaches had to envision this path before it could be reality. Aidian Hutchinson spoke in the post game about the connection between Michigan’s 42 points and Oxford HS junior Tate Myre’s #42 jersey. “God works in mysterious ways,” said Hutchinson. I pray we can all pull together like this program has. They have been a true inspiration.

Hail! To the Victors: the 2021 Michigan Wolverines, the greatest Michigan football team of this generation.

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer on Twitter U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18