Hassan Haskins and Aidan Hutchinson established themselves as Michigan football legends in win over Ohio State
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Hassan Haskins and Aidan Hutchinson wore the michigan football team all season, and with their performance in victory over Ohio State, they have established themselves as legends of the program.
Athletes, especially college athletes, aren’t necessarily known for their great stats or awards. These are moments, especially in rivalry games and on the bigger stages. Trey Burke won Michigan’s National Player of the Year award but is remembered for shooting against Kansas in the Sweet 16. Magglio Ordonez hit .312 and made two all-star teams over seven seasons. with the Detroit Tigers, but in this city, his name goes with that ALCS home run in 2006.
The scene doesn’t get any bigger than the one Michigan hosted this weekend. The two biggest rivals in the sport – Michigan and Ohio State – were playing for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and to stay alive in the College Football Playoff race. College GameDay was there. Big Noon Kickoff was there. All eyes in the college football world were on the Big House.
The team to break the losing streak against Ohio State would always fall into Michigan football lore. But do it while going 11-1 en route to a potential conference title? It is the icing on the cake.
Jim Harbaugh’s side must have done a lot to beat Ohio State, but there are no two factors more important than making Heisman Trophy contender CJ Stroud uncomfortable in the pocket and controlling the game in attack. This is where Hutchinson and Haskins came in.
Hutchinson sacked Stroud three times on Saturday. Two of them finished third and forced Ohio State to kick. According to Pro Football Focus, Hutchinson recorded 15 quarterback presses – the most in a single college football game since PFF started tracking that statistic in 2014.
Put simply, Hutchinson had one of the best defensive performances for a college football player of all time, and he did so in Michigan’s biggest win since at least 1997.
Hutchinson could have joined the NFL after a difficult 2020 season. Instead, he returned to Michigan, dominated the greatest moments, and completed his mission to beat Ohio State. A Big Ten Championship, playoff appearances and maybe some Heisman chatter are always in the game. Heck, he could be the first pick in the NFL Draft.
On the other side of the ball, what more can we say about Haskins? He’s already run over 100 yards five times this season and has also scored multiple touchdowns in five different games. But there is no doubt that it was his best performance.
Michigan needed to control the pace of the game with their offense. Haskins rushed 28 times and averaged six yards per carry. Michigan needed touchdowns, not field goals. Haskins has found the end zone five times. Michigan needed more short-distance downhill training. Haskins moved the chains.
Whenever it looked like the Buckeyes were going to make a late push, Haskins demoralized them by keeping Michigan ahead of schedule, executing tackles and falling forward an extra two or three yards.
He had 11 first tries – eleven! This means that more than half of his 28 staves have moved the chains or put points on the board. Michigan won the game because its four second-half practices ended in touchdowns, and Haskins took charge, intimidating the Buckeyes even when they knew he was coming.
This program has a long history of legendary running backs, from Tshimanga Biakabutuka to Anthony Thomas to Mike Hart. Now Haskins belongs to this list.
The Wolverines had no shortage of heroes on Saturday, from Cade McNamara to Rod Moore to the entire offensive line. But the team’s top two players shone the most and have etched their names in Michigan football history forever.
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