NCAA Football

No. 2 Michigan beats No. 18 Iowa 26-0 for Big Ten title, likely to claim top playoff seed

Harbaugh also made his return to the sideline for the first time in four weeks


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 02: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after a winning the Big Ten Championship over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Blake Corum scored twice, tying the school record for touchdown runs with 55, and No. 2 Michigan beat No. 18 Iowa 26-0 on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game to likely take the top seed in the College Football Playoff.

With coach Jim Harbaugh back on the sideline for the first time in four weeks, the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) routed Iowa (10-3, No. 16 CFP) to win three straight outright conference crowns for the first time in school history.

And with No. 1 Georgia falling to No. 8 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game, Harbaugh and the Wolverines are poised — finally — to claim the top playoff seed and reach No. 1. Harbaugh became the first coach in conference history to win three straight outright titles and he celebrated by running evasively to avoid getting doused in a Gatorade bath.

Michigan also extended its school record of consecutive wins over Big Ten foes to 25. Corum tied Anthony Thomas' school career rushing TD mark. Corum, the league's running back of the year, finished with 16 carries for 52 yards. J.J. McCarthy, who was selected the conference's best quarterback this week, was 22 of 30 for 147 yards.

For the Hawkeyes, it was more of the same.

While the defense held stout — allowing the TDs on drives of 5 and 6 yards and four field goals — the offense produced just 155 yards and became only the second team in Big Ten title game history to be shut out in the final season of the East-West division format. Ohio State opened that era with a 59-0 rout over Wisconsin 59-0 in 2014.

Deacon Hill went 18 of 32 with 120 yards and the Hawkeyes rushed for 35 yards on 24 carries. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak and was the second in three years for Iowa in the title game against Michigan.

The difference: The Wolverines capitalized on Iowa's errors; the Hawkeyes could not do the same.

Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead after making a 35-yard field goal on its first possession and Corum powered in from 3 yards out two plays after Semaj Morgan broke free for an 87-yard punt return to set a Big Ten title game record.

Corum is the only FBS offensive or defensive player who has scored in every game this season.

He scored again early in the second half when a replay review overturned an incompletion and ruled it was a fumble. Michigan recovered and outgoing Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz compounded the problem by drawing a penalty for the unsportsmanlike penalty, moving the ball to the 6. following. That made it 17-0.

Michigan closed it out with three field goals, the final one being a 50-yarder from James Turner to set a title-game record.

Iowa's best scoring chance came after a 25-yard punt put it at the Michigan 38. Three plays later, though Jaziun Patterson lost a fumble at the Michigan 30.


Iowa: Two streaks continued. The Big Ten West closes out the league's division era going 0-10 in title games and the Hawkeyes still have not won a conference crown since 2004. Few gave Iowa and its low-scoring offense any chance Saturday night. Neither did the Wolverines.

Michigan: Harbaugh missed six games this season because of suspension and yet Michigan heads into the postseason undefeated for the second straight year. Getting the No. 1 seed could lead to a matchup with SEC champ Alabama, Big 12 champ Texas, two-time defending national champ Georgia or perhaps even archrival Ohio State.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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