The Michigan Wolverines faced off against the Northwestern Wildcats in Ann Arbor on Saturday. The Wolverines were ranked 6th overall and had a hard rivalry game coming up against 9th ranked Michigan State in East Lansing. Michigan came into the game 6-0, still in the hunt for the College Football Playoff, while Northwestern came in at 3-3, coming off a 21-7 win against Rutgers. The Cats had been bouncing around at the quarterback position, splitting time between Senior Andrew Marty, Senior and Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson and Senior and South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski. Hilinski has done well as the starter, but the Cats have relied a lot on their run game with sophomore Evan Hull having 562 yards and 4 TDs in 2021.
Northwestern received the kickoff and punted on their opening drive after 4 plays. Both defenses held the tie at 0-0 through the 1st quarter. Both teams swapped possessions with punts until the 2nd quarter when Michigan got the ball down to the NU (Northwestern) 1 and scored on a 1 yard TD run from star Sophomore RB Blake Corum. Corum has 610 yards on 97 carries and 8 touchdowns. Northwestern was then forced to a 3 and out by the Michigan offense who rushed down the field and had the ball on the NU 8 for a 1st and Goal. The Wildcat defense did really well, though, and made a stand, holding Michigan to a 20 yard field goal. Northwestern had the ball on the 25 to start their drive with 2 minutes to go in the 1st half. They handed it off to Evan Hull, and Hull went off. He ran it 75 yards, through a massive hole opened up by the offensive line, and to the house for a Wildcat TD. Michigan ran it down the field, but on the NU 3, Mike Sainristil fumbled and Northwestern recovered. Northwestern took it to half down 3 with a QB sneak that ran the clock out.
Michigan received the 2nd Half kickoff and ran down the field easily, aided by a ton of Northwestern penalties. Blake Corum ran the ball 5 yards into the end zone for a Michigan TD after a Northwestern pass interference. Northwestern ran down the field, but were stopped on the Michigan 21 and sent their field goal team on with kicker Charlie Kuhbander who was 100% on extra points and 50% on field goals with a long of 47 yards. He was 4 for 8 on the year and the electric crowd in Ann Arbor seemed to make him uneasy. He swung the 39 yard kick left and kept the deficit at 10. The defense held up for Northwestern and held Michigan to a 3 and out. Michigan's defense did the same, and stopped Northwestern. Northwestern's punt was blocked, though and Michigan recovered it at the NU 24 yard line. Hassan Haskins ran the ball for a 13 yard TD to make the Wolverine lead 24-7. Michigan forced Northwestern to a 3 and out, and set up a 44 yard field goal that was made by kicker Jake Moody to expand the Wolverine lead to 20. Hilinski then threw a pass on 2nd Down that was picked off by DJ Turner. Hilinski had lost his top receiver, Stephen Robinson Jr., who has had 424 yards, in the 1st Quarter and struggled to find his new WR1. Hassan Haskins took the ball all the way to the end zone for a Michigan TD on a 4 yard run to make the lead 33-7. The Wolverines missed the two point conversion, but held the Wildcats to a 3 and out. Michigan then turned it over to Northwestern on a fumble, but Northwestern did the same 4 plays later. Michigan turned it into a 47 yard field goal that Moody missed. Northwestern got the ball, but the clock ran out and the game ended. Michigan got the win, 33-7.
Northwestern had 10 first downs and 233 total yards while Michigan had 28 first downs and 457 total yards. The Cats dropped to 3-4 and the Wolverines climbed to 7-0. Ryan Hilinski was 14 for 29 for 114 yards and 1 interception while Michigan QB Cade McNamara went 20 for 27 for 129 yards. Evan Hull had 6 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown while Blake Corum had 119 yards on 19 carries and 2 TDs. Malik Washington lead Northwestern in receiving yards with 6 catches for 63 yards while Erick All lead Michigan with 5 catches for 34 yards. This was a big win for Michigan because they got to show they can keep their game strong in the 2nd Half, which will be crucial leading into the hard cross-state game against Michigan State. This showed Northwestern they are good, but need a little help hanging onto close games. This challenged them and should have got them ready for hard games coming up against Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue. This also showed they need help on offense, with the passing game, and on defense, with stopping the run and limiting penalties. Hassan Haskins, who had 110 yards on 23 carries and 2 TDs, and Blake Corum showed Michigan State that they need to stop the run to beat Michigan. Both teams have played well this year and have some good games coming up in the Big Ten.