Michigan escapes Indiana in double-overtime thriller
Final: No. 15 Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2OT)
Key play: Kevin Wilson not giving the ball to Jordan Howard on final play
With Jordan Howard gashing the Michigan defense all second half and all overtime, Wilson — for some crazy reason — did not give the ball to his tailback. Instead, he put the game in the hands of Nate Sudfeld, who couldn’t complete the do-or-die fourth-down pass on the 2-yard line to Mitchell Paige. He might not have gotten into the end zone anyway. Wilson is likely going to receive his fair share of criticism for getting too cute with the game on the line. If Wilson gets fired at season’s end, you can look back at that play and think about what could’ve been.
Telling stat: Teams combined for 1,108 yards
If you like offense, Bloomington was the place to be on Saturday. All the yards and all the overtimes turned Saturday into a fan’s dream. A neutral fan, that is. IU and Michigan fans probably took years off their lives. Neither team had an answer defensively and both units appeared gashed all day. For Indiana, that wasn’t out of the ordinary. For Michigan, it certainly was. The Wolverines allowed the most yards in a game all season and still found a way to win. Somehow, Michigan survived despite its worst defensive game of the year.
-Jordan Howard is special
So here’s something. Michigan hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. What did Howard do? He racked up a career-high 238 yards on 35 carries. On the last drive of regulation, Indiana didn’t even attempt a pass. Into overtime, the Hoosiers ran the ball a whopping 17 straight times. It was all Howard because Michigan had no answer for the IU tailback, who took over the game late. For Howard to be at his absolute best against one of the top run defenses against the country says a lot about how impressive he was. There was no question who the best player on the field was on Saturday.
-Jehu Chesson-Jake Rudock connection was incredible
And if there was an argument for any other player being the best player on the field, it was Chesson and Rudock. It seemed like every time Rudock dropped back, it was a deep ball to Chesson. His career-high four touchdown catches and 200-plus yards were the product of being perfectly in sync with Jake Rudock. By the way, Rudock became the first Michigan quarterback to throw for 300 yards in back-to-back games in 11 years. With Michigan in a do-or-die scenario in the final play of regulation, Rudock just threw it up to Chesson in double coverage and it didn’t matter. Overtime inflated Rudock’s numbers, but his six touchdown passes were still a Michigan record. Weak secondary or not, that’s quite the feat.
What it means: No team is better than scaring the B1G elite than Indiana
We knew that Indiana was going to give Michigan a solid game. After all, the Hoosiers were within a touchdown of ending undefeated starts for Iowa and Ohio State. But few expected IU to push Michigan to the brink like that. The Hoosiers haven’t won a B1G game, yet they’ve repeatedly shown that they can play with anybody. But they just can’t make the key play to get over the hump. Michigan, on the other hand, once again got a goal-line stop to escape with a road win. After the Wolverines made it a habit out of blowing teams out, they’ve become quite accustom to playing in nail-biters. Somehow, someway, the Wolverines’ B1G East hopes are still alive.