Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2 OT) Comment Count

Ace November 14th, 2015 at 8:41 PM

[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Chaos reigned. Michigan survived.

Indiana did as Indiana does, combining terrible defense with terrifying offense to push the Wolverines to the brink. Jordan Howard ran over, around, and through a shorthanded Michigan defense, gaining 238 yards on 35 carries. With the game in the balance and the ball at the two, however, Kevin Wilson called for a quick pass to Mitchell Paige; Delano Hill swatted the ball away to seal the win.

With Ryan Glasgow's absence disturbingly noticable, the offense and defense switched roles. Michigan couldn't rely on their front seven to slow Howard, while Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld played an efficient, turnover-free game; that was enough to produce 527 yards on 5.7 yards per play.

For the first time this season, however, Michigan could rely on their deep passing game. Jake Rudock and Jehu Chesson were brilliant. Rudock set a school record with six passing touchdowns—the previous record was four—and surpassed the career high he set last week with 440 yards on 46 attempts. He also led the way on the ground with 64 yards on seven carries, picking up timely first downs by breaking free of the pocket. Chesson tied the program record by hauling in four of Rudock's touchdowns, including a leaping grab in traffic to knot the score with two seconds left in regulation, and he set personal bests with ten catches for 207 yards.

It appared Michigan might coast to a comfortable, if not particularly convincing, victory as the Hoosiers traded field goals for Wolverine touchdowns in the first half. Rudock hit Chesson over the top for a 34-yard score on a free play to open the scoring; Michigan would hold leads of 14-6 and 21-9 after Chesson's subsequent first-half TDs before Howard finally broke through for a seven-yard touchdown in the final minute of the half. Even then, Michigan responded, marching 71 yards to the Indiana four before settling for a Kenny Allen field goal as time expired.


Perhaps there was some comfort in a 24-16 lead, but any such feelings were gone almost as soon as the second half began; after knocking Michigan back 15 yards, Indiana closed to within a point on a 51-yard punt return touchdown by Paige, who strung his return out to the right before knifing through a tackle and finding the sideline. After Scott Sypniewski's snap hit the turf, causing a Kenny Allen field goal attempt to fall well short, IU closed the quarter with a Griffin Oakes field goal and an interception of Rudock on one of his few wayward throws.

The tables fully turned in the fourth quarter, when Michigan could muster only a field goal after a 15-play drive and the Hoosiers hit back with a 24-yard Howard TD and subsequent two-point conversion. With 2:52 left, Michigan had to drive 66 yards to avoid an upset that would all but eliminate them from division title contention.

Rudock didn't shy away from the moment, moving the offense down the field in a hurry with two completions to Jake Butt and a 41-yard bomb that Chesson came back for and caught at the two. After some harrowing moments as the Wolverines moved backwards, Chesson high-pointed Rudock's toss to bring Michigan within a point, and Blake O'Neill handled another sketchy snap just well enough for Allen to slip the tying extra point inside the left upright.

Howard continued his dominance in the first overtime, gaining 18 of Indiana's 25 yards and punching in the go-ahead touchdown. It took Michigan all of three plays to not only tie the game, but take the lead; first Rudock hit Butt on a post on the second play of M's first overtime possession, then found Amara Darboh uncovered on the first snap of the second overtime for an easy touchdown.

Three Howard runs quickly set IU up with a third-and-goal from the five, and it seemed certain they would bash ahead once or twice more and extend the game. Instead, Hill stopped Sudfeld short on a zone read keeper, and after Indiana showed pass prior to the next snap, Harbaugh called timeout to set up the final play. Paige motioned across the formation and Sudfeld hit him in rhythm, but Hill's blanket coverage won out.

Michigan survived the chaos and remains alive in the Big Ten race; they can control their own destiny if they beat Penn State and Ohio State takes cares of Michigan State next weekend. After an up-and-down first half of the year, the offense is hitting its stride, albeit with help from the generous Rutgers and Indiana defenses they've faced the last two weeks.

Glasgow's injury looms large, however. Jim Harbaugh announced after the game that the pectoral injury suffered last week will keep Michigan's D-line linchpin out for the season. Michigan faces a pair of top-notch running backs the next to close the regular season in Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, to say nothing of the other weapons on Ohio State's offense. The line, the unquestioned strength of the team until this week, now has to stiffen up if the Wolverines want a shot at that ever-elusive Big Ten title.



November 14th, 2015 at 8:43 PM ^

Delano Hill was picked on the last few weeks. If you rewatch the last series - he gets the stick on 2nd and goal, tackles Sudfeld on 3rd and goal, and the PBU on the 4th down. Give that man a sticker!

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Michigan Fan L…

November 15th, 2015 at 10:52 AM ^

I listened to the game on the Michigan IMG network and watched on TV.  I turned off the sound at around the 6-minute mark of the 4th quarter with Indiana driving and me hoping they would score with enough time for us to drive it down the field.

In my mind it was a foregone conclusion that they would score a touchdown, and it looked like they tried to slow the pace.  Either way, I knew we couldn't stop them. 

Not that I wasn't already shaking in my boots after the 3-and-out and the punt-return TD to begin the third quarter.  I stayed fully engaged and kept my big-boy pants on as I watched and listened.  But in the fourth quarter I figured it would hurt a little less if I didn't hear the play-by-play of Indiana taking our lunch money. 

Goooooooooo Blue!!!!

P.S. Last year I had the audio muted for the entire season.  Thank you, Mr. Hoke.


November 14th, 2015 at 8:55 PM ^

They clearly were rooting for Indiana, which I guess isn't surprising. And yeah, incredibly annoying.

But...things like on that 3rd and goal at the end of regulation, when M tried a toss play to the left that, well, did not work. And the PBP said somethign like "if Michigan loses, they're going to be talking about and questioning THAT play call for a looooooong time". I rolled my eyes. Hyperbole, much?


November 14th, 2015 at 9:10 PM ^

Okay, thanks! I agree about their not so latent Indiana favoritism. It just felt like the Chinese water torture method of announcing. I had to go listen to a Keith Jackson compilation for 10 minutes just to calm down! For me, he's as good as the Muppets!

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Michigan Fan L…

November 15th, 2015 at 10:56 AM ^

LOL.  Just like we get to see the Chris Webber timeout every time March Madness begins, that doggone Michigan State play will live on and on and....

My stomach still hurts when they show that timeout.  It feels just like it happened yesterday.  And I just turn my head when the networks show that doggone Michigan State play.

Go Blue!!!!


November 15th, 2015 at 12:19 PM ^

Two weeks ago, I found a feature on my amp that deminishes the dialoge by 12dB.  It's still there, but you mostly hear crowd noise.  With the 7.2 system, it sounds like you're in the stadium with an couple annoying dudes talking three rows away.  Don't know if all Denon's have it, but it's totally worth looking for.


November 15th, 2015 at 10:14 AM ^

What a game....watched it on tape delay...luckily I started while it was still going so I could extend the recording...this game tests what type of person you are...half full watching Tom Brady ...I mean Rudock having the game of his life...or half empty watching our defense look helpless and our special teams give up another td....just win baby...


November 14th, 2015 at 8:54 PM ^

...win a game this year thanks to Rudock having 500 total yards. This was a surprisingly Rodriquez-like game, but I'll take it.

As for nose tackle, having to play the third guy behind Glasgow and Mone is obviously not good. But already having eight wins makes me feel pretty good regardless.


November 14th, 2015 at 8:51 PM ^

Thank you Wilson for channeling Pete Carroll in OT and going away from what worked for oh...and hour in a row.

Those last few drives are going to burn in Harbaugh's soul this summer.  He got Stanford'd by a spread offense.  Going to drive him crazy.  He did that to Oregon once I believe - something like 14 runs in a row on 1 drive.  But this was multiple drives over the course of an hour.

I also want to note we have taken a sizable step back on special teams the past few weeks.  Back to back weeks with kick / punt TDs vs marginal special teams opponent and we were fortunate with lewis today on his fumble.  Peppers very quiet on ST.  But mostly the return teams have started to weaken quite a bit.  No idea if we stop Indiana (since we barely did) on the drive to open the 2nd that they scored the punt return TD but assuming we did, thats the diff in the game.  A concern and I am a big Baxter fan.  Maybe injuries beginning to cause backups to go in more on ST and causing these issues.  Or teams are scouting us with mor info now.

Anyhow win and advance.  Need to find a difference maker at rb like Howard - he is a modern Tim B.  Our run game remains mediocre both at the OL and rb level. 

Jake and Chesson and Butt - good job.


November 15th, 2015 at 12:07 AM ^

took a step back in several areas.  They had what might normally have been crippling penalties on offense.  I bet they had at least 6 false starts.  Against a defense that is not horrible, those types of penalties make it very hard for the offense to stay on the field.

The tackling was terrible.  On the punt return TD for IU, I think Stribbling missed a tackle.  The tackling by the defense was bad. 

Michigan is stlll having a tough time running the ball.  I get that since every defense is now putting at least 7.5 in the box.  I really don't see that improving this year, unfortunately.

Hopefully Rudock keeps throwing it like he has the last two and a half weeks.  He has been really good.