ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN — The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines continue to play football as if they’re on top of the world, even as corners of the world are ready to pass judgement on an NCAA investigation against them that may rock their world in the coming days.
The 41-13 demolition the Wolverines laid on Purdue on Saturday night, a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Championship Game, was another display of the most dominant team in college football this season doing what it has done all season, with potential Heisman Trophy favorite J.J. McCarthy throwing for a season-high 335 yards while running back Blake Corum rushing for three scores.
But the convivial atmosphere inside the Big House masked the shroud of controversy and uncertainty the program finds itself in after news was made public of an NCAA investigation looking into sign-stealing allegations against a now-former coaching staff member, Connor Stallions, who is alleged to have bought tickets to games involving future Michigan opponents and used them to be able to steal the signals flashed on the sidelines. Stallions, who was initially put on paid leave, resigned on Friday.
In the lead-up to tonight, Purdue head coach Ryan Walters stated that his team went through the process of installing a new language because he knew “for a fact” that members of Michigan’s program were at a number of Boilermakers home games this season.
“I was just calling a spade a spade, really in terms of advantages, disadvantages,” Walters said after the game. “I was just stating what happened.”
The Wolverines, for their part, are using the news surrounding the possible violations as fuel to continue their unbeaten run.
“We were already super close as a unit, but with more stuff coming in — the noise — we just think of it as us against the world,” McCarthy said.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 17 pictures in total.