Michigan 27, Indiana 20 (OT)

Submitted by Ace on October 14th, 2017 at 5:18 PM


Tyree Kinnel's fourth-down interception (finally) ended the game. [Bryan Fuller]

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Indiana put a harrowing scare into Michigan, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

A game that initially looked like it'd result in a comfortable Wolverines win got increasingly distressful. Two Quinn Nordin field goals and a 12-yard Karan Higdon touchdown run got Michigan out to an early 13-0 lead. While the Hoosiers netted a field goal shortly before halftime, the game felt fully in M's control; they held a 166-112 edge in total yardage and had a huge advantage on the ground. Sure, you could complain about the 11 penalties and the underwhelming passing attack, but the Hoosiers were having trouble just moving the football downfield.

Whatever was said at halftime, however, should probably never be spoken again.

An ugly Michigan three-and-out, capped by a John O'Korn completion to Jim Harbaugh, gave IU the ball with a chance to cut it to a one-score game. They did just that on a drive in which Mike DeBord and his offense utilized tempo to lock backup defensive linemen Aubrey Solomon and Carlo Kemp on the field in place of the dominant duo of Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary. Hoosiers running back Morgan Ellison rushed for 45 yards on the drive, going virtually untouched on an eight-yard touchdown.

The game slowed to a slog. O'Korn missed a golden opportunity on the ensuing drive when Zach Gentry broke open downfield on a two-man route; O'Korn instead chose to throw at a well-covered Kekoa Crawford, and two plays later Michigan brought on the punt team. That'd become a familar sight for both squads; the next seven drives, four for IU and three for M, went three-and-out.

Higdon, who had a star-making afternoon, finally broke the drought when Michigan went to a ground-only attack. After four rushes gained a pair of first downs, the coaches broke out a slick new counter play to spring Higdon for a 59-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.


Dare I say Woodson-esque? [Fuller]

With Michigan now holding a 20-10 advantage, it looked like they'd ice the game when Lavert Hill intercepted Peyton Ramsey on a play reminiscent of the great Michigan cornerbacks of my lifetime. Indiana had already burned two of their timeouts on defense. A first down would've effectively put it away, but the offense bogged down, and the game suddenly turned sphincter-tightening when J-Shun Harris nearly housed Robbins's punt. Josh Metellus made a desperation tackle at the 16-yard line, but six plays later Ramsey hit Whop Philyor (a real name, that) for an eight-yard score.

Then things got really wild. With no timeouts left and 3:28 on the clock, Indiana went for an onsides kick, which took a high bounce that eluded Kekoa Crawford and went straight to IU's Simmie Cobbs for an apparent recovery. Cobbs, however, bobbled the ball ever so slightly as he stepped out of bounds, which the officials spotted live and upheld upon review—Michigan ball.

That allowed Higdon to run the clock down to 1:11, but he didn't convert a first down, and IU got the ball back on their 30-yard line after Michigan's school-record-setting 16th penalty added ten yards to a Robbins touchback. Two big pass plays by Ramsey, one to Luke Timian and the other to Cobbs, gave kicker Griffin Oakes a shot to send the game to overtime; his kick snuck just inside the right upright.


When Karan Higdon saw paydirt, he wouldn't be denied. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

But Indiana remains Indiana. Michigan started with the ball in overtime and the Hoosiers initially stymied the first play. Higdon, who finished with 200 yards on 25 carries, eluded a defensive lineman in the backfield and bounced to the backside, gaining the edge and bolting down the sideline for his third touchdown.

"He was phenomenal," said Harbaugh. "I don't know how many yards he got after contact but those were tough yards. It looked like there'd be a tackle for loss, a small gain or no gain and he found a way to get four of five yards out of it."

The Hoosiers quickly worked their way to first-and-goal from the three. Gary surged though the line for a tackle for loss on first down, and after Ramsey missed J-Shun Harris in the end zone, he combined with Noah Furbush to stymie a Ramsey keeper. With the game down to one play, Chase Winovich put Ramsey under immediate pressure, and a desperation heave to Cobbs ended up in the hands of Tyree Kinnel. For the second time in as many trips to Memorial Stadium, the defense won the game with a goal-line stand.

"We were going to have to dig down deep to do it," said Harbaugh. "We responded with two tackles for loss, incompletion and an interception on the quarterback option route. It was a great four plays for us."

It sure wasn't pretty, and for large swaths it sure wasn't fun, but Michigan found a way to hold on and move to 5-1 on the season. Next weekend's trip to Happy Valley looms large, however, and could ugly fast if the Wolverines can't get a whole lot more out of John O'Korn, who managed only 58 yards passing on 20 attempts and had a horrible interception negated by an iffy pass interference call. Harbaugh probably has to stick with O'Korn at this point lest he want to throw a redshirt freshman QB behind a porous offensive line on the road against a top-five team. One way or the other, winning at Penn State is a tall order. For the time being, though, Michigan can at least enjoy the ride home.

"We move on to a big road game next week," said Harbaugh. "But this was a big game for our team. Mistakes were made, but it's something we can really grow from."

Comments

blue90

October 14th, 2017 at 6:19 PM ^

O'Korn is complete trash, no excuses, there is no response to that statement but you're right.  I said put Peters in 3-4 games ago and now at this point Harbaugh looks like a HUGE fool continuously going with a shitty transfer with 6 games of eligibility remaining.  Higdon came up big and saved our asses.  We will get our stuff handed to us in Happy Valley if we throw for 58 yards again.

pistolwolf

October 14th, 2017 at 7:32 PM ^

sorry they didn`t play well enough so you could go brag about how well "we" played today. you are a loser, sorry but the team doesn`t exist so you can feel good about yourself. go do something else that you are good at, if there is such a thing. this is entertainment, you dumb ass. you have nothing invested ,except the time you spend sitting on your fat ass watching the game.

war-dawg69

October 14th, 2017 at 8:00 PM ^

Have zero idea why people are negging you for stating a direct fact. You are 100% accurate in your assesment. Okorn is beyond inept and is trash as a QB. Anyone disputing that noes zero and I mean zero about what is going on that football field. He is singlehandidly grinding the offense into the ground. Negging people for being honest and maybe blunt is asinine. Blue90 I guess you have to go back to sensitivity class. The Qb play is holding this team back and did the same thing at the end of last year. There is zero disputing that. For the eighteen who negged you enjoy what you witness next week. A game Michigan could have won if they had a QB that was even mediocre. Enjoy less than 100 yards passing and at least three picks....................................game over and psu moves on with there shit team. Franklin please enjoy the gift Michigan is giving you in JOK. EN FUCKING JOY......so sick of watching subpar QB's buttfuck there own team.

You Only Live Twice

October 14th, 2017 at 9:11 PM ^

No you wouldn't and neither would Blue90.  Look I admire your spirit and passion, and it evidently comes packaged with some knowledge too.  

If all you want to do is vent without ever taking a moment to read what you type before posting it... maybe you should back away from the keyboard... and watch USC struggle against Utah right now.  Shit happens and good teams can struggle against unranked teams.  

It wasn't that long ago when "unranked" had altogether different meaning.  Maybe the top 40 teams now are often not that far apart with the more level playing field that CFB is today.

war-dawg69

October 15th, 2017 at 3:29 AM ^

I see a lot of negative takes on JOK's play that are receiving upvotes. I am not calling the kid anything and so there is no attack upon him. I actually really like the guy. I guess there are many ways to describe his play. That's all it is, describing his play. Of course I could change my tone and description. After some thought and calming down I take back agreeing that JOK's play is "trash". As a matter of fact I will never say anything bad about his play at QB. Allthough I agree with a lot of people's assesment of his play, I for one will not join the bandwagon. I understand that maybe I might be a little bit more passionate about Michigan football than others and therefore should take a step back before commenting.

I for one hope that the positive white knights remain true to their convictions, never wavering even in the face of extreme frustration as this would conclude hypocrisy. For the ones who have rallied to the aid of the Michigan QB I applaud you and truley hope you can remain stedfast, else you be found out a hypocrite. What say ye after the penn state game. I for one will remain silent.

bcnihao

October 15th, 2017 at 12:28 PM ^

"Okorn is beyond inept and is trash as a QB."

But you're not attacking the guy?

"Anyone disputing that noes [sic] zero and I mean zero about what is going on that football field."

I noes you should step back from the keyboard.

"He is singlehandidly [sic] grinding the offense into the ground."

The O-line has nothing to do with it?  Yesterday, on the play in which O'Korn somehow evaded three rushers and then hit a pass to DPJ, did you think to yourself, "[email protected]#$%^&*, if O'Korn would just stop single-handedly grinding the offense into the ground!?"

Mister B

October 14th, 2017 at 10:51 PM ^

Are we RCMB now? Have we really sunk so low?

The offense is struggling, nobody would dispute that. QB play has been... not good, Bob. O-line needs work. These are all true things. But you... I mean... really?!

This is a 1 loss team we're talking about. You know who else has 1 loss? OSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Wazu, shall I go on?

I'm worried about next week, for sure. I'm worried about Wisconsin. I'm terrified about those hooting jackals down south. What I am not going to do, what I will never do, is go on a public forum and call the kids who are playing for my university's team, "trash". You need to seriously take a deep breath and chill the fuck out. Or, you know, stop drinking and go to bed.

Also, I know people on this board tend to overplay the whole grammar and spelling police thing, but sweet holy shit, man, if you want to vent spleen in an absurd rant at least try and proofread that shit.

mgoblue98

October 14th, 2017 at 11:43 PM ^

be out of points by days end tomorrow.  If you were really paying attention and knew anything about football, you would know that the OL is the greatest issue for this team.  Instead, you make drunk comments supporting someone who is clearly in the wrong.  Blue90 is getting negged because he is acting like an ass, as are you. 

You can criticize without being a jerkoff, as many on this board including me do, especially about O'Korn.  Calling him trash shows a total lack of football acumen. 

Whole Milk

October 16th, 2017 at 8:55 AM ^

I think the main difference between the two situations is the possibility of improvement. I was never a part of the group calling for Speight to be benched because I agreed with your sentiment that if we had something better, they would be playing. In addition, I always thought that we COULD be worse than what Speight was giving us.

Seeing as how O'Korn is 33-71 for only 315 yards (An Abysmal 4.4 Yds/Attempt) in three opportunities against anyone besides Purdue (who gets torched by anyone with a pulse), I think he should be viewed as a "He is what he is" candidate. I just don't see how there is any way that if we throw Peters in there, he is significantly worse, and there is a chance that he provides a much needed spark. 

The question to me isn't if we should make a change, it is when, and I imagine Harbaugh is considering the same thing. I could see how people would say you wait until after the hectic atmosphere of next weekend, but honestly, why should we? Does anyone really expect JOK to be that necessary calming presence in a tough environment that could be useful instead of the spring chicken freshman? Personally, I fully expect JOK to look at his first read, and when it isn't there, tuck it away only to take a 10 yard sack or throw a desperate heave into double coverage. I appreciate what O'Korn has done for the program and love his commitment to the team, but if we want to have a chance at winning any of the three big games left, it can't be with him behind center.

ijohnb

October 15th, 2017 at 10:31 AM ^

find it more likely that there is something else going on. I will not speculate as to what, but Peters was a 4/5 star top 150 player, and we saw enough in the Spring Game to know that he has talent. At one time he was the clear number 2. He very literally cannot be worse than O’Korn and the o-line was reasonably competent yesterday - the “Harbaugh is protecting him from injury” thing can die now. It is the elephant in the room now. There is no obvious answer to the “why isn’t he playing” question anymore. I would bet at this point it is something other than lack of talent/ability.

Squash34

October 15th, 2017 at 3:41 AM ^

Maybe just maybe it is you that is a fool to thinking you know that a red shirt frosh with no real game reps is the answer and one of the best football coaches on the planet just can't see it despite seeing him daily in practice.
No, I'm sure it's harbaugh that's a fool

Thundergun

October 15th, 2017 at 8:21 AM ^

when people were calling for JOK over Speight.  Now that O'Korn isn't getting it done it's time to call for Peters.  If Peters fails behind a struggling but improving O-line and with receivers that can't get any separation is he trash too?  Your assessment puts all of the blame on the QB, but when he can't get time to throw and his receivers don't give him hany help what is he supposed to do?

schreibee

October 15th, 2017 at 12:18 PM ^

Ok, here's where you jumped the shark, or whatever it is McIlwaine does - there were plentiful open receivers yesterday, JO'K just failed to find them, or to connect when he did see them.
I will concede I wanted Peters to start over Sp8t, firmly believing we saw his ceiling last year (and his play before injury seemed to confirm this). I have zero idea why Peters fell out of favor, but we ALL saw in the Spring game he can find open receivers AND hit them.
The only point in giving JO'K any further game action is if we incorporate some designed runs.
That is all...

Thundergun

October 15th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

Receivers did get open yesterday and you're right that JOK did miss some of them.  Also everyone wants to lean on the spring game as all the evidence necessary to annoint Peters as the savior, but really he was 9 for 17 with a pick six.  That's not that impressive to me.  It's a decent day in an actual game, but in a scrimmage it's not that special.  I will concede that if we see the same this week at PSU then it's time to look to the future and get Peters a confidence builder against Rutgers.

war-dawg69

October 14th, 2017 at 8:04 PM ^

O FUCKING KORN IS THE PROBLEM. HE IS NOT ANY GOOD AT QB. NICE GUY BUT NO GOOD AT QB AND SHOULD NOT BE STARTING FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.