Michigan football: Big Ten and playoff hopes still alive following win

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

A win is a win.  It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan football narrowly beats Penn State 21-17 Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley.

The Wolverines defense led by edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo buckled up their chin straps and brought it Saturday afternoon.  Hutchinson recorded seven tackles and three sacks on the day, and Ojabo added a pair of sacks and four tackles.

Both of Michigan’s top pass-rushers are expected to play their way into first-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.  Hutchinson is already projected to be a top-ten selection, maybe even top-five.  Ojabo, who likely wasn’t on anyone’s first-round radar to begin the season, seems to be playing his way into a day one prospect.

Michigan football survives in Happy Valley.

On a cold November day, without Blake Corum, Michigan football ran Hassan Haskins over and over, in fact, a career-high 31 times for 156 yards.  Haskins is a power runner and shouldered the load as the focal point of the offense.

Quarterback Cade McNamara managed the game well, but he’s so often done all season long failed to lead this Michigan offense to a smooth victory.

McNamara did throw for three touchdowns Saturday, none more important than his 47-yard connection to tight end Erick All to give the Wolverines the lead late in the fourth quarter.  All finished the day with four grabs totaling 64 yards and a score.

The other two touchdown passes came in the red zone to Roman Wilson.  This may be one of Jim Harbaugh’s most significant victories since taking over the program.  Harbaugh’s widely documented November track record speaks for itself, but beating a ranked team on the road is still a big-time victory, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

That being said, Michigan’s less than desirable quarterback play leaves us feeling uneasy about the future.

This style of offense will not be enough to compete with Ohio State, and the Buckeyes may end up being the last thing standing in front of Michigan’s Big Ten Championship, and National Championship hopes when this is all said and done.  Michigan needs to win out, and have Michigan State lose one of their remaining games for the opportunity to play in the Big Ten Championship.

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The Wolverines need to take care of business against Maryland next week, of course, but this is shaping up to be a fun finish.