FIRST QUARTER, MICHIGAN 14, INDIANA 7.
As advertised. And that is very bad news for Indiana’s defense.
Denard Robinson’s first carry was a 72-yard TD run, on Michigan’s base zone option play, and he was untouched. The Wolverine offense basically did whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, throughout the quarter. After IU opened the game with a fine TD drive, it was worst-nightmare time for IU fans.
But Robinson is human. He lost a fumble at the IU 1, recovered by Tyler Replogle, with 1:50 left in the first quarter. So far, that sort of development seems the only way conceivable the Hoosier defense can stop a UM drive.
It only took 3 carries for Robinson to got over the 100-yard mark rushing.
HALFTIME: TIE, INDIANA 21, MICHIGAN 21.
As advertised, still, but now in a better sense for Indiana. The teams produced a combined 632 yards of offense in the first half, the last two coming when Demarlo Belcher laid out for a diving 2-yard TD catch as time expired.
Indiana’s first TD of the second quarter came on a 99-yard drive comprising 13 plays, also an important development as IU ball-control was one way to keep Michigan’s explosive offense in neutral for a while.
The weather is now glorious. And we have a ballgame.
Robinson averaged 17 yards per carry in nine rushes during the first half, totaling 153 yards and a TD, but the Hoosiers are also showing a respectable running game. Darius Willis has 53 yards n 12 carries for IU, which as expected is moving primarily through the air.
Ben Chappell is 23-of-33 for 233 yards passing. But he did pick a bad time for his first interception of the year, as Cameron Gordon picked a pass intended for Doss but thrown into triple coverage at the goalline, costing IU a chance to take the lead with 6:39 left in the half and the score at 14-14, Gordon returned the ball to the Michigan 19, and the Wolverines scored 9 plays later for their final points of the half.
Indiana’s defense, which looked entirely hapless during the first quarter, actually recorded a legit 3-and-out in the second period. If IU can get at least a couple of those, and/or another turnover or two, the Hoosiers could be in this till the end.
When was the last time we saw two teams both have over 300 yards of offense by halftime of a game? (UM 323 and IU 310)
THIRD QUARTER, MICHIGAN 35, INDIANA 28
Just as with their first possession of the game, the Wolverines took just two plays to score in their opening possession after intermission, this time on a 70-yard TD pas to Junior Hemingway. IU cornerback Matt Ernest was beaten on a slant, and apparently had no safety help on the play.
But Indiana again rallied, with Chappell consistently finding Doss and Belcher.
Comment overheard in press box: The game has become a contest between Robinson and Chappell for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.
FINAL: MICHIGAN 42, INDIANA 35
Even though there were six consecutive scoreless possessions during a span that carried from the third quarter into the fourth, both offenses scored when it counted as time wound down, but the decisive score went to Michigan, with Robinson diving in from four yards out. He also set up the score with a 42-yard bomb to Junior Hemingway, who beat Richard Council on the play.
Robinson certainly did nothing but enhance his Heisman credentials today.