No. 6 Michigan runs over Northwestern, ‘Cats fall in Ann Arbor

By Eli Berk

Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum’s four shared touchdowns led to Michigan’s 33-7 beatdown on Northwestern Saturday.

Michigan (7-0, 4-0 B1G) looked incredibly impressive in all aspects of the game, defeating Northwestern (3-4, 1-4 B1G) convincingly.

Northwestern came into The Big House off a homecoming win against Rutgers, looking to pull off a massive upset on a national stage. The ‘Cats showed promise on the first play from scrimmage, where quarterback Ryan Hilinski connected with wide-out Stephon Robinson for a gain of 29. However, Michigan’s defensive front held strong, forcing a Wildcat punt shortly after. Quick, sporadic highlights sprinkled throughout the first quarter, but the booming noise of each punt left the opening frame scoreless.

The second quarter busted wide open in terms of action, as Michigan runningback Blake Corum capped off a 13 play, 79-yard drive by plunging into the end zone from a yard out. Following a Northwestern punt, Michigan worked another methodical drive to the NU two-yard line. Facing a fourth down, head coach Jim Harbaugh kept his offense on the field before counterpart Pat Fitzgerald used a timeout. 

Following the timeout, Harbaugh sent in his field goal unit to convert from 20 yards out. Northwestern looked out of it, trailing by two scores, but Evan Hull had other thoughts. Hull powered through the line on the next play from scrimmage and booked it to the end zone for a 75-yard house call. Michigan got the ball back with just over two minutes left in the first half and ran a masterful drive, getting inside Northwestern’s 10-yard line with 47 seconds on the clock.

Looking to go back up two scores going into the break, Cade McNamara fired a short pass to Mike Sainristil, who was immediately met by Coco Azema, who punched the ball out, landing in the lap of linebacker Chris Bergin. A massive tone-shifting turnover brought halftime to Ann Arbor, with the ‘Cats only trailing by three.

Michigan dominated time of possession and total yardage but could not finish on several drives throughout the first half.

The Wolverines looked hungry to start the third quarter, efficiently finding the end zone due to Northwestern penalties and missed tackles. Corum picked up his second rushing touchdown of the game, this time from five yards away. Northwestern looked to answer quickly, marching down the field with significant third-down conversions. However, there would be no points to speak for it as Charlie Kuhbander hooked a 38-yard field goal. Kuhbander is now 4-of-9 on the year.

Following two straight three-and-outs, Derek Adams fielded a low snap which was blocked by the Wolverines, giving them a short field. Haskins punched in a 13-yard touchdown run three plays later to blow the game wide open.

More failed opportunities from the Wildcat offense resulted in another three-and-out where Michigan knew precisely where to go. Although they didn’t find the end zone on this drive, Jake Moody knocked through a 44-yard attempt to keep Michigan rolling.

By the end of the third quarter, many would think Michigan would coast to the finish line, but the exact opposite occurred to begin the fourth. Hilinski fired a sideline ball to Malik Washington, who tipped it into the hands of DJ Turner, ending Hilinski’s Big Ten-leading streak of pass attempts without an interception. Haskins continued to keep the ball rolling, punching in his second score of the game.

Down 33-7, Northwestern continued to stall, failing to muster up any offense in the fourth. Carl Richardson took over in the backfield to close out the game, and Northwestern boarded the buses with a crushing loss. 

Northwestern finished the game with ten first downs, compared to Michigan’s 28. Michigan doubled Northwestern’s offensive production outgaining the ‘Cats 464 to 233.

The Wildcats return home next Saturday to face off against Minnesota at 2:30 p.m. CT while Michigan hits the road to take on No. 9 Michigan State in East Lansing at 11 a.m. CT.