Sure, Jim Harbaugh referenced Clint Eastwood when he spoke about the good, the bad and the ugly after the Michigan football team’s win against Indiana, but we’re pretty certain he was trying to admit he’s a huge fan of this weekly segment.
“It was like that Clint Eastwood movie, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ ” Harbaugh said of the game. “There was some of all of it today.”
Harbaugh opined that there was more good in Saturday’s game than bad or ugly. That was his version, but here’s our interpretation of the good, the bad and the ugly from Michigan’s defeat of Indiana:
His name is Jake Rudock. The fifth-year senior quarterback set a school record with six touchdown passes in the victory. He also threw for 440 yards, setting a new career high one week after he set his previous one.
His favorite connection was with redshirt junior wide receiver Jehu Chesson, who also had a career day. He caught 10 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns. Chesson now ranks fourth in the Big Ten with seven receiving touchdowns this season. He has 10 total scores.
Michigan, just like it did against Minnesota a few weeks back, found a way to win. The Wolverines had no business doing so at multiple times during the game. But each time, they somehow pulled the necessary plays out of the bag. At the end of regulation, it was Rudock’s 4th-down pass to Chesson. In the first overtime, it was Rudock’s touchdown to Butt. And in the second overtime, it was junior safety Delano Hill’s timely swipe at the ball to end the game.
Michigan’s defense, once seemingly impenetrable, struggled mightily at times. Indiana’s up-tempo offense, led by running back Jordan Howard, gashed the Wolverines. Howard finished with 238 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.
The Hoosiers were relentless on the ground, driving up and down the field primarily by running the football. Indiana ran for 307 yards, and passed for 220. The rushing total was more than double what Michigan had allowed any other opponent to gain on the ground. The Wolverines have some retooling to do in that area.
Michigan also experienced some special teams woes. The unit has looked rock-solid for most of the season, with the obvious exception of the Michigan State fiasco. Saturday’s contest was another dark spot. The Hoosiers returned a punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the result of a complete tackling lapse by the Wolverines.
Michigan’s field goal unit also looked out of sync at times. Senior kicker Kenny Allen missed a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter after an extremely low snap. The snap on the Wolverines’ game-tying PAT also appeared to be low, but Blake O’Neill was able to corral the ball in time for Allen to kick it through the uprights. Michigan had entered the game ranked first in the country in special teams efficiency.
After the game, Harbaugh said he doesn’t expect redshirt junior defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow back this season. The loss would be a major blow to Michigan’s defense, as exemplified by Indiana’s success running the ball up the middle Saturday. Though the Wolverines have a little bit of depth in the middle, it isn’t enough to make up for Glasgow, who had been a force at the center of the defense.
Harbaugh also noted after the game that he wasn’t thrilled with how many big hits Rudock has taken, particularly on slides. Like has happened on multiple occasions this season, Rudock slid legs first Saturday and took a hard hit to his upper body. Harbaugh spoke at length about his disappointment in defenders being able to hit quarterbacks as they slide.
He continued even after his press conference formally ended, and invoked what he said was a Judge Judy quote in expressing his disappointment.
“It’s reeediculous,” Harbaugh said.