BLOOMINGTON — When Indiana ran onto the Memorial Stadium
turf through an inflatable helmet next to the north endzone, the
team entered with U2’s “Elevation” blaring over
the stadium speakers. And, following a gutsy call by Indiana coach
Gerry DiNardo on the first drive of the game, no song could have
been more appropriate.
Two rushes and a pass left the Hoosiers three yards short of a
first down. But, facing fourth-and-3 on his own 27-yard line,
DiNardo rolled the dice. The Hoosiers lined up in punt formation,
and Michigan opted to block for returner Leon Hall instead of going
after the kick. On the snap, the edges of the Michigan line
occupied the Indiana counterparts, but the middle of the line
retreated to set up a wedge for Hall. Indiana punter Tyson Beattie
took the snap, delayed for a second, then sprinted up the gut.
After clearing the line of scrimmage, Beattie cut right and up the
Michigan sideline for a 32-yard gain.
“The fake punt to start the game was a great call,”
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Indiana continued to drive, and after two runs by quarterback
Matt LoVecchio, the Hoosiers faced first-and-10 from
Michigan’s 14-yard line.
But, almost as quickly as it came, the “elevation”
disappeared from Memorial Stadium. On the ensuing play, Indiana
center Chris Jahnke rocketed a shotgun snap over LoVecchio’s
head. The 29-yard loss effectively ended the Hoosiers’ drive,
as they punted two plays later.
“When you play a team like Michigan, and you are moving
the ball and get inside the red zone, it’s a critical
situation where you have to score some points,” DiNardo said.
“You have to capitalize on those opportunities.”
Indiana didn’t have many other chances to capitalize, as
the Wolverines scored 35 of the next 42 points in the game and
improved their Big Ten record to 2-0 (4-1 overall) with a 35-14
The Wolverines began their scoring on their first drive, moving
the ball 83 yards in eight plays. Michigan rode true freshman
running back Mike Hart — who finished with 79 yards and a
touchdown on 20 carries — giving him the ball five straight
times to start the drive. Then, after a 14-yard third-down catch by
junior Jason Avant, true freshman Chad Henne threw the first of
three touchdown strikes in what was his finest performance in a
maize and blue uniform (17-for-21 for 316 yards). The Wolverines
used play action and Henne released a bomb as he was hit. Senior
Jermaine Gonzales, who stutter-stepped 15 yards down the field to
gain some separation, caught the pass just as he was crossing the
goalline for a 40-yard touchdown.
“We’ve been working on that play all week in
practice,” Gonzales said. “It’s a play where
everyone had a job to do and did it. The offensive line did the job
and gave Henne time to make the read and throw and the receivers
time to run a good route. The throw was perfect.”
As Michigan’s defense continued to stuff the Hoosiers with
relative ease, the Wolverine offense wasted a plethora of
opportunities. In Michigan’s final two drives of the half,
Garrett Rivas missed a 44-yard field goal and Henne ended a
nine-play, 81-yard drive by fumbling a snap from David Baas and
giving Indiana the ball on its own six-yard line.
“I don’t like a lot of things that we did in the
first half,” Carr said. “If we don’t take care of
the football, we’re not going to be the kind of football team
we would like to be.”
With just under five minutes left in the half, Indiana’s
Beattie punted to Hall. Hall was filling in for Steve Breaston (who
injured his finger against Iowa, but is expected to play against
Minnesota) and he made sure there was no drop-off, returning the
Beattie kick 76 yards for a touchdown.
“I first wanted to get the ball secured, and then I saw a
little crease in the middle, but I got kinda lost in there for a
minute,” Hall said. “So I just saw a hole to the right
and I just broke and I saw there was one guy left, and I just tried
to outrun him.”
Indiana got on the board at the end of the first half. Henne
dropped back to pass on third-and-four, but the Hoosiers brought a
huge blitz and Victor Adeyanju nailed Henne. The ball shot
backwards 10 yards and Indiana linebacker Kyle Killion recovered it
on Michigan’s 11-yard line. Four plays later, running back
BenJarvis Green-Ellis scored from two yards out with just six
seconds left in the half.
Although the Wolverines held just a 14-7 lead at the half, they
quickly put the game away, scoring touchdowns on all three of their
Junior Grant Mason started the second half by returning Bryan
Robertson’s kick 97 yards down to Indiana’s three-yard
line. Mason took the kick at the goalline, squirted up the Michigan
sideline, cut back across the field — splitting Damien Jones
and Ryan Skelton in the process — and was finally tripped up
on the three.
“My guys did a great job blocking for me,” Mason
said. “I tried to head for that pylon and I just
couldn’t make it.”
Mike Hart scored on fourth-and-one, expanding Michigan’s
lead to 21-7.
In Michigan’s next two drives, Braylon Edwards took over.
The senior, who finished with eight catches for 165 yards, burned
true freshman cornerback Tracy Porter twice on the go route,
scoring touchdowns of 69 and 38 yards.
“Man-to-man, nobody is going to stop Braylon deep,”
Henne said. “Their corners are good players, but they just
don’t have the speed Braylon does.”
Indiana’s Courtney Roby caught a six-yard touchdown pass
early in the fourth quarter to bring the game to its final score,
Although the Michigan defense held the Hoosiers to just 214
yards of offense, many Wolverines were upset to finish the game
without causing a turnover for the first time this year.
“That’s one issue that we really force and stress a
lot, but it wasn’t like we weren’t playing physical to
get the turnovers,” sophomore free safety Ryan Mundy said.
“They just played hard and they protected the