Live updates: UM stellar again, routs N'western, 38-0
Wolverines post third straight shutout
Michigan is making history, already, under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh.
With today's 38-0 win over Northwestern, Michigan has posted three consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1980 -- and it's coming at a great time, with rival and nation No. 4 Michigan State coming to Ann Arbor next Saturday.
Today, the Wolverines also scored TDs on offense, defense and a kickoff return for the first time since 1991.
With the win, No. 18 Michigan improved to 5-1, and could very well creep into the top 10 in the AP rankings that come out Sunday.
No. 13 Northwestern fell to 5-1, and could fall out of the top 20 after such a convincing beating.
The Wildcats gained more yards than Michigan's last two opponents, but that's not saying much. Northwestern was held to 168 total yards, after BYU two weeks ago and Maryland last week each gained only 105.
On 11 Northwestern possessions, it punted eight times, missed one field goal, ran out the clock in the first half and turned it over on downs late in the game.
Michigan's defense so darn impressive
Michigan State better get its act together on offense, and soon.
Michigan's about eight minutes away from extending its shutout streak to three games -- which would be the first time the Wolverines have done that since shutting out Indiana, Wisconsin and Purdue in consecutive weeks in 1980.
Michigan shut out BYU two weeks ago, Maryland last week and is threatening to do it to Northwestern at the Big House today.
The Wolverines haven't allowed points since UNLV scored seven three weeks ago.
Here's a fun stat: Michigan's defense has forced 51 punts this season, including eight today. They forced 65 all last season.
Michigan leads, 38-0, after another Wolverines scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Derrick Green finished it off with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Michigan's Ross ejected
In the first half, a targeting call on Northwestern was overturned, keeping a Wildcats player from being ejected.
No such luck for Michigan here in the second half.
Michigan linebacker James Ross was ejected after a hit on Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson, drawing massive boos from the sellout crowd here at the Big House.
As he headed out, Ross got a pat from coach Jim Harbaugh.
Then when Ross passed the Northwestern bench on his way up the tunnel, he got a handshake from Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Clearly, no hard feelings.
The Wolverines lead, 31-0, as the Wildcats just punted for the sixth time today.
Michigan makes it 31-0
The Wolverines just keep on rolling.
On its first dive of the second half, Michigan had another nice drive -- though this one didn't end with a touchdown.
Kenny Allen kicked a 48-yard field goal to make it Michigan 31, Northwestern 0.
There were a couple key plays on the drive, with De'Veon Smith, no surprise, turning in the best one. On the first play of the drive, he went up the middle for 19 yards, carrying a Northwestern tackler with him for at least 5 yards.
Jake Rudock had a nice pass to Jehu Chesson for 12 yards, as well.
A flag was thrown on the play, as it seemed like a Northwestern late hit.
But the flag was picked up, for some reason.
Michigan leads at half, 28-0
Michigan is playing some unbelievable football right now, and no longer can you blame the lack of competition.
Northwestern came into today's game undefeated and ranked No. 13 in the country.
And the Wildcats are getting flat-out embarrassed.
Northwestern punted on four possession, missed a field goal on another and ran out the clock just before the half. Michigan is on pace to post its third consecutive shutout. It hasn't allowed points since allowing seven three weeks ago against UNLV.
Michigan outgained Northwestern, 213-96, including 94-25 in the rushing game.
Michigan scored points on special teams (opening kickoff), offense and defense (pick-six).
The Wolverines probably will move close to the top 10 after today's victory and should be favored next week, even against No. 4 Michigan State.
Michigan makes it 28-0
Michigan's defense let Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson off the hook on one play.
Not so much on the next play.
Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis picked off Thorson around the 35 of Michigan, and returned it for a touchdown late in the second quarter. The Wolverines now lead, 28-0, just before the half.
Keith Washington almost picked off Thorson the play before.
Northwestern's field position was set up by a nice Blake O'Neill punt, who pinned the Wildcats inside the 10.
Michigan's defense, meanwhile, still hasn't allowed any points since the win over UNLV three weeks ago.
The Wolverines have scored 87 unanswered points.
Michigan makes it 21-0
Michigan fans are loving Jake Rudock right now.
It just took them a while to come around, I guess.
He looks as confident and poised as he has all year, and he has Michigan up, 21-0, on Northwestern -- with more than two minutes left in the first quarter!
Rudock took Michigan 75 yards on six plays, the last being a nifty one in which he ran it in from the 2 -- after Northwestern bit on his fake handoff.
Rudock had another big pass play on the drive, a 27-yard strike to Jehu Chesson, who's having a day, too.
Joe Kerridge also had a 24-yard run on the drive.
Northwestern's heads are spinning right now.
Northwestern misses field goal
Pat Fitzgerald could've gone for it on fourth-and-1, especially with Michigan already leading, 14-0.
Instead, he sent out kicker Jake Mitchell for the field goal -- and Mitchell missed wide left from 42 yards, keeping the Wildcats off the board.
Northwestern moved the ball well on that drive, after going three-and-out on its opening drive, but still, Fitzgerald decided to play it safe.
Michigan held its last two opponents to 105 yards of total offense, and Northwestern was at negative-4 after its first five offensive plays today.
Then quarterback Clayton Thorson found Austin Carr for a 19-yard gain on third-and-14, and the Wildcats started getting some momentum. Solomon Vault had a 15-yard gain, and Thorson found Zack Oliver for a 10-yard gain.
Northwestern had two negative-yardage plays on the drive, though, which perhaps is why Fitzgerald decided to play it safe.
Things going great for UM
Just like that, it's 14-0 Michigan.
Jehu Chesson took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown to make it 7-0.
After Michigan's defense forced a Northwestern three-and-out, the Wolverines got an offensive possession -- and went right to work.
Jake Rudock had all sorts of time to throw on the drive and made two big threes, a 7-yarder to De'Veon Smith and a 32-yarder to Jake Butt that put the Wolverines on the goal line. Smith also had a big, 18-yard run on the drive.
Northwestern stopped Michigan twice on the goal line before Drake Johnson powered his way into the end zone from about the 6-inch line.
Kenny Allen made the extra point, his second of the game, and this big crowd is loving life right now.
Chesson brings crowd to life
Well, that was fast.
Northwestern deferred to the second half, and Michigan said, "Thank you very much."
Michigan's Jehu Chesson took Jack Mitchell's kick near the end zone, raced to his left, and quickly found a seam -- and returned the opening kick for a touchdown, and just like that, the Wolverines lead the Wildcats, 7-0.
The large crowd at the Big House, which is just getting settled in, is going bonkers.
Chesson outran Northwestern's entire defense, and once he got around the 50, he was gone. Nobody even threatened to bring him down.
Officially, it's a 96-yard return. What a start.
That was the first kickoff return for a TD by Michigan since Darryl Stonum in 2009.
Big game today, too
This is a big one.
Before Michigan can turn its attention to chief rival Michigan State, it must first contend with Northwestern, a surprise team in the Big Ten which enters today's game at the Big House ranked No. 13 in the country.
This is expected to be a big battle of defenses, as Michigan comes in having shut out its last two opponents.
The running game is big for Michigan, and Northwestern knows how to defend the run -- and the pass, for that matter.
If the Wolverines win, and in convincing fashion, this afternoon, there's a good chance the Big Game could feature two top-10 teams next week.
But that's next week. Michigan still has business to attend to today.
Stay tuned to detroitnews.com for updates throughout the game.