As week 12 of the college football season began, there were four undefeated teams, two of which resided in the Big Ten.
Big Ten powers Ohio State and Michigan have been running through their respective game schedules so far this season, and the two teams have looked pretty unstoppable in the first 10 games of the year.
And then the 11th game hit.
Michigan began Saturday with a lunchtime encounter with Illinois, a team that had lost their last two games and given up their position as the Big Ten West’s top team.
The Wolverines received the ball first, marched right down the field and scored a touchdown. Blake Corum had his 19th touchdown of the season and Michigan took an early 7-0 lead.
Illinois struggled to move the ball on offense, but luckily for him, Michigan’s offensive rhythm also faded. It was one of the lowest-scoring games in college football at halftime, with the Wolverines leading 7-3.
The struggling Illini, well, kept fighting. Heisman Trophy contender Chase Brown scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, and Illinois went into the fourth quarter with a 17-10 lead over Michigan in the big house.
It was the first time Michigan had fallen behind in the fourth quarter of the entire season and the tension could be felt in the air at Michigan Stadium.
Similar to his game against Michigan State, Michigan kicked his opponent to death with a field goal kick, and a 35-yard field goal by Jake Moody gave Michigan a 19-17 lead with nine seconds left.
Illinois failed to create late-game magic, and Michigan improved to 11-0.
Shortly after Michigan’s game was over, archrival Ohio State took on the Terrapins in College Park, Maryland. The Buckeyes were a big favorite, but the game didn’t quite go as planned for Ryan Day’s team.
TreVeyon Henderson caught a 31-yard touchdown from CJ Stroud, and Ohio State went 7-0 early after just over a minute and a half of play.
However, Maryland continued to lag and the Terrapins led 13-10 at halftime.
Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles sealed the deal with a 45-yard field goal by 42 seconds, and a late fumble recovery gave Ohio State an extra touchdown.
Neither Michigan nor Ohio State were happy with their performances on Saturday, but each team was able to achieve the ultimate goal — victory.
Now the two teams will go head-to-head in an undefeated showdown on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. It is the first time since 2006 that the two sides have met 11-0 in the game of the century. The Buckeyes won that game 42-39.
The winner of Saturday’s game almost certainly advances to the College Football Playoff, while the losing team may have to fall back on the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Either way, this will be the most anticipated college football regular season game this season, and it should be one for the history books.