If you blinked yesterday while watching Michigan play Indiana, you probably missed a big play. The Wolverines increased their record to 6-1 yesterday in a shootout win, 63-47 over the Indiana Hoosiers. The loss marks the fourth of the year for Indiana, giving them a current losing record of 3-4. Wolverine fans will not only remember the high scoring win for their beloved team, but also the record setting performances that accompanied it. With 369 yards receiving, senior receiver Jeremy Gallon set the school, and Big Ten records for receiving yards in a game. Quarterback Devin Gardner also broke the school records for passing yards in a game (503) and total yards in a game (584). The 751 yards of total offense the team put up yesterday is also a new school record.
The first two drives of the game would have indicated a defensive struggle, as both teams exchanged punts. It was the second drive for Indiana that would get the track meet started. Nate Sudfeld found Cody Latimer on a 59 yard bomb over burnt corner Raymon Taylor, putting the Hoosiers up 7-0. Michigan responded on the ensuing possession when Devin Gardner ran the ball into the endzone from 13 yards out.
Indiana was forced to punt on their next three possessions, and Michigan’s offense capitalized. A pair of Fitzgerald Toussaint
touchdowns put the Wolverines up 21-7 in the 2nd quarter. Indiana responded with a 33 yard pass to Shane Wynn who made an acrobatic catch at the goal line to close the gap. Gardner found Gallon on a 21 yard pass with 40 seconds left in the half to put the Wolverines up 28-14 with 40 seconds left in the half, but Indiana managed to get a field goal as time expired.
If you thought there was a lot of action in the first half, that was nothing compared to the second half. The Wolverines got off to a bad start in the last 30 minutes of the game when Fitzgerald Toussaint fumbled a pitch from Devin Gardner, giving Indiana the ball at the Michigan five yard line. Indiana quickly took advantage by feeding the rock to Tevin Coleman who rumbled into the endzone fron two yards out.
The third quarter was a flurry of touchdowns, which included a 50 yard bomb to Jeremy Gallon, another Fitzgerald Toussaint run for Michigan. A field goal, a Shane Wynn touchdown and a 67 yard pass to Kofi Hughes who was able to out muscle Channing Stribling (that guy has had a rough couple of weeks) kept Indiana in the game. At the end of the third, Michigan clung to a 42-40 lead.
The quarterback for both teams got the scoring going early on in the fourth with Devin Gardner and Tre Roberson each running the ball effectively and reaching the endzone.
Perhaps the biggest swing of the game occurred in the fourth quarter when Devin Gardner fumbled the deep in Indiana territory. Indiana recovered and had a chance to take the lead, but Nate Sudfeld threw an interception to safety Thomas Gordon. Devin Gardner took over from there when he ran the ball into the endzone giving the Wolverines a two score lead, 56-47.
With six minutes left in the game, and Indiana down by 9, the Hoosiers needed to get something going, and quick. However, virtually all hope for the Hoosiers faded when Thomas Gordon picked off a Tre Roberson pass. From there the Wolverines would seal the deal when Fitzgeral Toussaint scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the day.
Say what you want about Indiana’s defense, but to me the offense took a big step forward in this game. It would appear as though Michigan has found an offensive line with freshmen Kyle Bosch and Erik Magnuson playing the majority of the game at guard. Behind this line Michigan rushed for 248 yards, the highest since the Central Michigan game. Devin Gardner looked very sharp, and made play after play with both his arms and feet, not to mention no turnovers!
While there were great individual performances by the players in this game, to me the most encouraging thing was play calling. The offense was far from conservative yesterday. Gardner took several shots downfield, and there was plenty of passing on first down. The game plan couldn’t have been more different this week than last week.
As good as the offense was, the defense left a lot to be desired (putting it mildly). The fast paced offense the Hoosiers employed seemed to really rattle the defense, although any fan of Michigan football knows that spread offenses traditionally gives any Michigan defense fits. I’m not as down about this performance as some are however, I think Indiana deserves a lot of credit. They have some very athletic skill position players. The biggest concern I had was the amount of blown coverages. That is inexcusable to me.
Overall I think there are a lot more positives than negatives to take away from this game. The offense looked extremely crisp, and the coaches played to win. With a bye week coming up, the Wolverines will have time to rest and heal before traveling to East Lansing for the first game of a brutal November stretch.
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