Originally the plan for my return to blogging was going to be a running diary of the Michigan/Indiana tussle this Saturday (2:30pm CT – ESPNU) to be posted next week. A high scoring game that is bound to have a bunch of lead changes is the perfect opportunity for something like that…then I thought about how much work it would be to try and re-watch the game and get every necessary detail into the diary. (At this point you are probably thinking to yourself “but Derek, isn’t a running diary supposed to be done live…like, while you are watching the game?”…and you would be right…my response to you would be, “first of all, shut the hell up, and secondably, there is no way that something like that would turn out well with the amount of beer that will be consumed during the game”). Having said all that, I will NOT be doing a running diary of the game on Saturday…but I can do you one better: What you may not know about me is that I am psychic and already have all the information that I need to give you an accurate look that game a whole 4 days prior to kick-off (that’s 96 hours!).
Game time – Coverage is set to begin at 2:30PM CT on ESPNU
Gambling info – Michigan opened as a 14 point favorite, however, due to some heavy early action in IU’s favor the line has shifted all the way to 10.5 points. The over/under opened at 65.5. (My advice would be to take Indiana and the points and parlay it with the over…and if you believe my psychic powers you may want to look into the money line and forget about those points.)
Last year’s game was played up in that whore of town called Ann Arbor. Due to a late Tate Forcier TD pass and some “questionable” calls by the officials Michigan escaped with a hard fought 36-33 win. Indiana left Ann Arbor with their first loss and down a piece of gum. Going into this week’s game the Hoosiers are once again not getting any respect from the media (check out Charissa Thompson’s reaction in this video when Eddie George predicts an IU win on Saturday) and should have a chip on their shoulder.
Indiana comes into the game against Michigan with a 3-0 record and some impressive offensive production after playing a pretty pitiful out of conference schedule. The QB Ben Chappell has thrown for just under 900 yards with 9 TDs and 0 INTs for the year. At his disposal are a stable of talented pass catchers at WR (Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher, Terrance Turner, and Duwyce Wilson) and a new target at TE (Freshman Ted Bolser) who 3 games into his IU career has already tied the single season TD record for a tight end by hauling in 4 TD passes. The IU rushing attack has a talented RB (Darius Willis) who has had trouble getting going this year behind an offensive line that can pass block with the best of them but has issues generating the push necessary to run the ball consistently. The IU defense has had its fair share of struggles already and will be satisfied if they are able to hold Michigan to any point total under 35.
Michigan will stroll into beautiful Memorial Stadium with a 4-0 record with some equally, and arguably more, impressive numbers on the offensive side of the ball. They run the ball a ton better than Indiana with the bulk of their yardage coming from “Heisman Candidate” Denard Robinson (I don’t see how you can bring up that kind of Heisman talk already…the guy has played 4 games against less than stellar opponents). Robinson has been pretty impressive in the passing game as well having thrown only 1 INT on the year. As always the Michigan offense has talent at the remaining skill positions and offensive line – but based on last couple years we know that raw talent and recruiting stars don’t guarantee success in college. The Michigan defense is in a similar position to Indiana’s…in that there really hasn’t been one. If the Michigan defense can hold Chappell to fewer than 300 yards passing they will be ecstatic.
The overall match-up is shaping up to be one of the higher scoring games in recent memory (especially when you factor in that it is two Big Ten teams that are playing). The teams come in averaging an identical 41 points per game on offense (41.33 to 41.25 so I guess IU gets the slight edge) while giving up 19 ppg (IU) and 23 ppg (UM) on defense. Each team’s defensive weakness is the opposing team’s offensive strength which will lead to some huge plays.
Keys To The Game:
- Turnovers – With all the scoring in this game any turnover will be huge, especially if there are points scored off of them.
- Kicking – Michigan has had some early struggles in the kicking game. A missed field goal or two would swing momentum IU’s way.
- Hidden yardage – One often overlooked stat is the return yardage that teams are able to pile on. Keep an eye on Tandon Doss, Duwyce Wilson, and Nick Turner for the Hoosiers – the trio have combined to average 33.25 yards per kick-off return which is good for first in the Big Ten and second in the Nation. Michigan comes into the game averaging a measly 18.14 yards per return which is good for 10th in the Big Ten (and 107th in the country).
Now it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for: A glimpse into the future…through the eyes of an actual (read – not actual) psychic…it’s time for...
"The 4 day early future running diary of the Indiana Hoosiers/Michigan Wolverines clash of 2010!" (All times in CT…you east and west coaster’s can shove it).
2:25pm – I wish I was in Bloomington for this game…early fall is B-town at its finest. The weather is warm, the beer is flowing, and there has not been nearly enough time for the freshman 15 to take hold. Earlier in the week the forecast called for 65 degrees and rainy but just as it always does Bloomington came through and we are looking at a balmy 72 degrees and sunny for kick-off.
2:32pm – The Wolverines have won the toss and elected to receive. With two high powered offenses this is clearly an attempt to grab the momentum early and dash Indiana’s hopes for an upset as soon as possible.
2:35pm – The teams are out on the field and things are ready to begin. The Hoosier’s Nick Freeland launches a kick-off that is fielded by Darryl Stonum at the 1 yard line. Stonum immediately fakes a hand-off to Martavious Odoms but the Hoosiers are not fooled and stop Stonum at the 23 yard line.
2:39pm – After two unsuccessful running plays the Michigan offense is looking at a 3rd and 6 from their own 27. This is not the start to the game they envisioned – a 3 and out to start the game would put momentum squarely in Indiana’s corner. Lined up with trips left and a RB next to him Denard Robinson gets the snap and takes a quick step back to sell the pass…he immediately darts right, behind his blocking TE and the QB draw works to perfection as “shoelace” picks up 19 yards and leaves a few IU defenders grasping at air.
2:46pm – Michigan’s fast paced offense makes it down to the IU 16 yard line before facing a long 4th and 8. They line up for the 33 yard field goal…and the kicker misses it! He pushed it right!! Rich-Rod reaches for his gun but thinks better of himself. IU takes over at their own 23 yard line for their first drive with 11:16 left in the quarter.
2:51pm – Willis gained 4 yards on first down and Chappell followed that up with three consecutive completions to Tandon Doss for 8, 11, and 17 yards. On first down from the Michigan 37 Willis bounces a run outside and gets 22 yards on his way to the 15 yard line.
2:53pm – After a 1 yard run by Willis to the 14 yard line Chappell finds Belcher on a fade route to get the Hoosiers on the board. 7-0 Indiana with 6:37 left in the quarter.
3:04pm – The Michigan offense responds quickly with a 6 play drive for a TD. A screen pass Stonum accounts for 33 of the yards and a 12 yard pass to Roy Roundtree finds the end zone. 7-7 with 4:01 left in the 1st.
3:06pm – Tandon Doss finds a seam and takes the kick-off back to the Michigan 48 yard line. He is a player.
3:09pm – Back to back 6 yard runs by Willis give the Hoosiers first down at the 36 yard line. Nick Turner gives Willis a blow and takes a short screen pass to the right side 23 yards to get the ball down to the Michigan 13.
3:11pm – After facing a 3rd and 7 at the Michigan 10 Chappell finds Terrance Turner at the 2 yard line setting up 1st and goal. Willis pounds the ball into the end zone on his 2nd attempt as the first quarter comes to an end with IU holding a 14-7 lead.
End of 1: 14-7 Indiana
The 2nd and 3rd quarters are going to be in fast forward…this is getting long. Time to jump into the Delorean and fire it up to 88 for a couple quarters.
2nd Quarter highlights:
Michigan opens the scoring with a 6 yard scoring run by Robinson – he got the drive going with a 44 yard run earlier. 14-14 after the first drive of the second quarter.
Indiana responds to the Michigan score with a field goal of their own on a methodical drive that was highlighted by a 24 yard pass from Chappell to Bolser. 17-14 Indiana.
Michigan moves down the field quickly once again on the next drive but an IU blitz causes a Robinson interception in the red zone. Indiana takes the ball from there and on the 3rd play from scrimmage Duwyce Wilson breaks loose in the secondary for a 76 yard score. 24-14 Indiana.
A Michigan field goal wraps up the scoring for the first half.
Halftime score: 24-17 Indiana
3rd quarter highlights:
Nick Turner fields the 3rd quarter kick-off at his own 4 yard line...and taking the ball up the right side he sees a cut-back lane and uses his 4.3 speed and darts 96 yards for the TD. Michigan looks like they are running in quick sand! 31-17 Indiana.
The ensuing drive for Michigan is an 11 play drive that is heavy on the running game. Robinson and Michael Shaw account for 68 rushing yards and Shaw caps the drive with a 4 yard scoring plunge. 31-24 Indiana.
Indiana moves the ball 30 yards before a short pass to Terrance Turner results in a fumble and Indiana’s first turnover of the game. Michigan takes over on their 46 yard line and immediately gets 20 yards on a screen pass to Shaw. The Wolverines end up settling for a 29 yard field goal that splits the uprights. 31-27 Indiana.
The final Indiana possession in the 3rd is a 71 yard scoring drive that takes 9 plays and 5:35 off the clock. A TD pass from Chappell to Tandon Doss covering 27 yards caps of the drive. Chappell finishes off the drive with 287 yards and 3 TDs for the game (if you’re counting at home that is 15 quarters on the year without an interception for Chappell). 38-27 Indiana.
Michigan takes possession of the ball with 2:08 left in the third. After 8 plays they are sitting at the Indiana 8 yard line and poised to score.
End of 3: 38-27 Indiana
Ok, let’s slow things down and get “Back to the Future (Diary)” –
4:54pm – From the Indiana 8 yard line Robinson runs a QB read option and hangs onto the ball for himself. He runs left and makes his way down to the IU 2 yard-line. He’s now got 182 yards for the game – he’s backing up reputation as a runner but with only 112 yards passing and the interception so far he still has a long way to go in that department.
4:55pm – Robinson takes the snap and gives Shaw the ball once again on a quick pitch who puts his head down and hits the end zone for the score. Michigan has gotten within 4 points and now trails Indiana 38-34.
4:59pm – After a commercial break, a stuffed run, a short pass, and an incompletion Indiana does the worst thing possible and has to punt the ball away (nothing like the 4th quarter for the first punt of the game). Chris Hagerup hits a booming 54 yard punt that Jeremy Gallon fields at his own 13 and returns to the 28.
5:20pm – The teams trade field goals after moving the ball pretty easily between the 20s but are both stifled in the red zone. 41-37 Indiana with 4:42 to go in the game.
5:26pm – Michigan gets into IU territory and down to the IU 47. After a short run by Shaw, Robinson takes the ball and roll-out to the right…after Chad Scherer tracks him down Robinson makes an ill-advised pass back across the field that Mitchell Evans sees coming from a mile away – Interception!! IU takes over at their own 38 poised to run out the clock with Michigan having two time-outs left and 2:03 left in the game.
5:31pm – Back to back 3 yard runs by Willis followed by Michigan time-outs give IU 3rd and 4 at their own 44 and 1:51 on the clock. Trey Burgess takes a hand-off 2 yards to the IU 46 which brings up 4th down (Terrible play call! 1:15 is too much time to give Michigan). Hagerup boots the ball to the Michigan 19 where Gallon calls for a fair catch. Indiana is up 41-37 and has to stop the Michigan offense from moving 81 yards in 1:09.
5:32pm – Blitz! Fumble! Just as quickly as the drive started Darius Johnson and Damon Sims converge on Denard Robinson as he tries to run another draw up the middle of the Hoosier defense. Larry Black Jr falls on the ball and IU has sealed it.
5:34pm – Queue the fight song and the celebration. After two kneel downs the crowd is storming the field!
Final Score: 41-37 Indiana
What an exciting game. Indiana is sitting at 4-0 and heading to Columbus to take on Ohio State. Too early to make any predictions there…it’s safe to say that after his game today (379 yards/3 TDs) that Ben Chappell is having a stellar season. The 104 rushing yards that Willis amassed were enough to give the threat of a run game and opened things up for Chappell early. Duwyce Wilson and Tandon Doss both had huge receiving days with 288 yards combined.
The keys to the game turned out to be spot-on. Michigan couldn’t escape Bloomington with a win after turning the ball over 3 times and missing a short field goal. The two big kick returns for IU caused huge shifts in momentum at the time.
Too early to predict Rose Bowl for IU…but 4-0 is a solid start.