It took a half to get things rolling but once they did, the Michigan Wolverines weren’t slowing down. Michigan defeated Indiana 31-10 Saturday afternoon continuing their undefeated season.
The Wolverines (6-0, 3-0) looked sluggish in the first half, but after the defense picked up the pace in the third quarter, the offense followed suit.
Late in the first quarter, Indiana (3-3, 1-2) tied the game up at seven. After the touchdown Michigan running backs coach Mike Hart collapsed on the sideline (INSERT LINK TO OUR ARTICLE ON THIS). The game was stopped for a brief period while medical attention was given to Hart and he was stretchered off the field.
The sideline was understandably emotional for Michigan. It’s hard not to imagine this effected their play for the remainder of the half.
Heading into halftime the game was tied at 10. It wasn’t the score that was so concerning but how it got there. Michigan’s bread and butter, the run game, wasn’t as effective as it has been most of the season. Running back Blake Corum had a 50-yard rush on the first drive, but outside of that was struggling to get far passed the line of scrimmage.
In the second half, both the offense and defense picked up the pace. Michigan’s first drive of the third quarter went 98 yards for a touchdown. Wide receiver Cornelius Johnson capped the drive off with a 29-yard touchdown reception. This came after he dropped an open pass earlier in the drive. Johnson would add another touchdown to his day later in the fourth quarter.
Usual Suspects Lead Offense
Tight end Luke Schoonmaker continued his strong performance with another positive outing. He caught nine passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Ronnie Bell led all receivers with 11 catches and 121 yards.
On the ground Corum was the workhorse again rushing 25 times for 124 yards a touchdown. His fellow running back Donovan Edwards received more carries this week with seven but was less than effective with just 15 yards.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy looked sharp again going 28-for-36 with 304 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore threw his first interception of the season on a pass that was tipped in the end zone and caught by a Hoosier defender.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh praised his young quarterback following the contest.
“It was good to see the young quarterback come of age today,” Harbaugh noted. “Tough game, tight game, couldn’t lean on the ground game today and he did it.”
The offense stumbled their way into halftime having a field goal blocked and failing to convert a fourth-and-two in the last two drives of the half.
But in the last two quarters they put their foot down firmly on the pedal and scored three touchdowns in five drives.
Defense Brought the Noise
The Indiana offense gained 26 yards on the opening drive of the second half. That’s the most they would gain on any of their final six drives. Those drives consisted of four punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs.
The Wolverines defensive front got after Indiana quarterback Connor Bazelak early and often. But the timing of the second half sacks were what really hammered the nails down in the Hoosiers coffin.
With Michigan up 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, Eyabi Okie sacked Bazelak on third down forcing a punt.
The next Indiana possession, freshman lineman Derrick Moore got to Bazelak on third down causing another punt. This coming after a Michigan touchdown which put them up two possessions.
The Wolverines defense totaled seven sacks on the afternoon, all of which came from different players. Safety Rod Moore added to the cause with an interception in the second quarter.
QB J.J. McCarthy – Got to give it to the youngster today, as his coach said the rushing attack wasn’t as dominant today but McCarthy made that irrelevant. McCarthy may have had his first blemish of the season with the interception, but even that wasn’t a bad one. His numbers across the board were all good and made the right plays when he needed to.
Up Next for the Michigan Wolverines
Michigan welcomes the 10th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions to the Big House next week. The game will be a ‘Maize Out’ for the fans attending. Penn State was idle this past weekend. They are 5-0 on the season including a 41-12 win at Auburn earlier in the season.
Photograph © Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports