NCAA FB

No. 2 Michigan rolls to Big Ten title over Purdue to continue undefeated season

Dec 3, 2022, 10:22 PM | Updated: 11:16 pm
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the Big Ten cha...

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Donovan Edwards’ quick-hitting sprints changed everything for No. 2 Michigan. Again.

Now they’re hoping it propels them toward another championship.

Edwards ran for 185 yards and a touchdown, J.J. McCarthy threw for three scores and Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game for its second straight conference title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997 — even without Heisman Trophy candidate Blake Corum because of a season-ending left knee injury.

“He’s the best running back in college football and he deserves the Heisman. If he hadn’t gotten hurt, he would have easily won the Heisman so this is for Blake Corum,” Edwards said after being named the game MVP. “I think it’s kind of self-explanatory what our goals are. I believe we’ve talked about them all year I don’t think much more needs to be said.”

Those goals appeared to be in jeopardy just last week when Corum managed to play just one series against rival Ohio State.

But Edwards stole the show, shredding the Buckeyes for 216 yards and two scores and was every bit as good in his encore — just hours after Corum posted on Twitter he had undergone knee surgery.

Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13 and Purdue (8-5) never recovered from the seven-play onslaught after trailing 14-13 at halftime.

“They didn’t panic when the game was close in the third quarter,” Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm said. “They came out, ran the ball and imposed their will.”

While Edwards was the ringleader, he had plenty of help.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards. Kalel Mullings scored twice on short runs and Ronnie Bell caught five passes for 67 yards and one TD.

But even they knew the difference Saturday was Edwards.

“You put anyone back there, they’re going to get yards,” McCarthy said. “But Donovan is a special back, a special guy and I’m glad he’s on our side.”

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

“We were going to have to play a near-perfect game to win,” O’Connell said. “We turned the ball over and didn’t score (enough) touchdowns.”

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan retook the lead on McCarthy’s 7-yard TD pass to Luke Schoonmaker and Edwards helped them put it away while holding the Boilermakers to just three second-half field goals.

THE TAKEAWAY

– Purdue’s magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

– Yes, Michigan may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains — ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now-defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play-calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

EMOTIONAL TIME

O’Connell said this week and last were difficult for himself and his family and though he played almost flawlessly in the Boilermakers victory over rival Indiana last week, he acknowledged football was hardly his primary thought.

“It’s been very difficult, as you would imagine. You know, when you first hear of news like that, it’s shock and denial and just a lot of emotions,” O’Connell said. “I felt a lot better this week than last week, but it’s been a little crazy. It’s going to be good to get some time to relax and spend some more time with my family, hopefully.”

The sixth-year quarterback, a former walk-on turned two-time all-conference selection, said he’s hoping to get some rest and spend time with his family before the bowl game.

UP NEXT

– Purdue will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

– Michigan awaits to see where it’s headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell throws during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches from the sidelines during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) is congratulated by Trevor Keegan (77) after throwing a touchdown pass during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to throw during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football gameagainst Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson attempts to catch a pass during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell, left, is sacked by Michigan linebacker Jaylen Harrell (32) during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell drops back to pass during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell is stopped by Michigan defensive back R.J. Moten (6) during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue wide receiver Tyrone Tracy (3) runs with the ball as Michigan defensive back DJ Turner (5) and linebacker Junior Colson (25) defend during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones (15) runs with the ball past Michigan defensive back R.J. Moten during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell throws during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) scrambles as Purdue linebacker Kieren Douglas defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy drops back to pass during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Purdue wide receiver TJ Sheffield (8) runs with the ball as Michigan defensive back Rod Moore defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Purdue place kicker Mitchell Fineran, center, is congratulated by teammates after making a 45-yard field goal during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Purdue wide receiver Mershawn Rice, right, runs with the ball as Michigan defensive back Gemon Green (22) defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Purdue running back Dylan Downing runs with the ball past Michigan defensive back Makari Paige (7) during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) runs with the ball as Michigan linebacker Eyabi Okie (18) defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell throws during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue wide receiver TJ Sheffield runs with the ball as Michigan defensive back Gemon Green (22) defends during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Michigan running back Donovan Edwards runs for a 60-yard gain during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan's Kalel Mullings (20) scores on a 1-yard run during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches from the sidelines during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker runs with the ball as Purdue linebacker O.C. Brothers gives chase during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan running back Donovan Edwards (7) runs with the ball as Purdue safety Sanoussi Kane (21) defends during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan defensive back Will Johnson (2) intercepts a pass intended for Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones (15) as Michigan defensive back Makari Paige (7) watches during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones (15) catches a pass for a 32-yard gain as Michigan defensive back DJ Turner (5) defends during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell is sacked by Michigan linebacker Eyabi Okie (18) during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Purdue running back Devin Mockobee runs with the ball as Michigan defensive back Gemon Green (22), defensive back Rod Moore (19) and linebacker Junior Colson (25) defend during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Michigan defensive back Will Johnson (2) intercepts a pass intended for Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones (15) during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Purdue Andrew Sowinski catches a 24-yard pass pass as Michigan defensive back Mike Sainristil defends during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) throws as Michigan linebacker Eyabi Okie (18) defends during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is congratulated by teammates Kechaun Bennett (52), Ryan Hayes, left, and Zak Zinter (65) after throwing a touchdown pass during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws for a 2-point conversion over Purdue defensive end Jack Sullivan (99) during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker (86) catches a 2-point conversion as Purdue linebacker O.C. Brothers (20) watches during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) 
              Purdue wide receiver Tyrone Tracy (3) celebrates after running for a 20-yard gain during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
            
              Purdue wide receiver Charlie Jones is stopped by Michigan defensive back Makari Paige (7) during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

NCAA FB

Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs raises the College Football Playoff National Championsh...
Associated Press

Georgia annihilates TCU to win 2nd consecutive CFP National Championship game

Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more in the first half as No. 1 Georgia demolished No. 3 TCU 65-7 on Monday night.
29 days ago
Stetson Bennett #13 and Christopher Smith #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrate after defeating the...
Associated Press

No. 1 Georgia rallies to beat No. 4 Ohio State in College Football Playoff semifinal

Georgia remains undefeated because the Bulldogs never gave up while rallying for a thrilling College Football Playoff semifinal victory.
1 month ago
TCU players celebrate after the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football semifinal playoff game against Mi...
Alex Weiner

No. 3 TCU out-duels No. 2 Michigan in highest-scoring Fiesta Bowl in history

Scoring didn't let up Saturday, as TCU earned a trip to the National Championship in the final football game at State Farm Stadium in 2022.
1 month ago
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) runs in a two-point conversion against TCU during the second...
Tom Kuebel

Fiesta Bowl fireworks: TCU and Michigan light up 3rd quarter scoreboard

After a relatively quiet first half, TCU and Michigan came out guns blazing in the third quarter of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium.
1 month ago
Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans reacts after he threw a touchdown pass against the Stanford C...
Associated Press

USC quarterback Caleb Williams named 2022 Heisman Trophy winner

USC quarterback Caleb Williams was named the recipient of the 2022 Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in New York.
2 months ago
Daijun Edwards #30 of the Georgia Bulldogs stiff arm Greg Brooks Jr. #3 of the LSU Tigers during th...
Associated Press

No. 1 Georgia remains undefeated with SEC championship game win over LSU

Georgia left no doubt about the top team heading into the College Football Playoff, dismantling LSU 50-30 in the SEC title game on Saturday.
2 months ago
No. 2 Michigan rolls to Big Ten title over Purdue to continue undefeated season