Michigan earned its first trip to the Big Ten title game in the sweetest way possible. The No. 6 Wolverines ended an eight-game losing streak to No. 3 Ohio State with an emphatic 42–27 victory.
The difference was that Michigan had dominance in both lines of dominance. The Wolverines overcame Ohio State 297-64 and also dismissed CJ Stroud four times, Haskins rushing for 169 yards and a career-high five touchdowns.
Michigan’s win takes them one game ahead of securing a college football playoff berth when they play against Wisconsin or Iowa in Indianapolis next week.
The tide of the game also turned after the first 30 minutes in the second half, which saw Michigan lead 14-13 with touchdown runs by AJ Henning and Haskins.
The Buckeyes scored three runs in their opening possession in the third quarter. The Wolverines then needed only three plays to complete the 81-yard drive—all on the ground. Haskins had a last carry from 13 yards that took the lead to eight.
Michigan got another stop and needed just five plays to score again as Haskins completed the drive with his third touchdown. He would add his fourth with 9:14 in the game as Wolverine extended his lead to 15.
Stroud, who finished with 394 yards and two touchdowns, didn’t let Ohio State go. He converted two quarter-downs in the next possession, the second resulting in a 10-yard touchdown pass to Travian Henderson who pulled the Buckeyes to within 35-27.
However, Stroud won’t get another chance to lift things up. Michigan delivered the ball to Haskins five times in a row on the ensuing 63-yard drive, which ended with a 2:17 for his fifth touchdown that won the win and sent the Big House into an early celebration.
It was Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s first win since losing in his first five tries against his team’s biggest rival. The losing streak put pressure on the former Wolverine quarterback to finally break through, especially after a combined 52 points after two previous losses.
Wisconsin will rival Michigan in the Big Ten title game if the Badgers beat Minnesota on Saturday. Michigan and Wisconsin met earlier this season, with the Wolverines winning 38–17 on the road.
Follow college reporter Eric Smith on Twitter @ErikSmith