Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
In one of the more exciting Big Ten games of 2013 the Hoosiers and Wolverines matched up in what would become a shoot out in Ann Arbor.
Opponent: Michigan Wolverines
Location: Saturday October 19th /3:30pm/ Michigan Stadium/ (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and the Wolverines faced off for the first time since 2010 and for the 62nd time all-time. Michigan leads the series 52-9 coming into today’s game.
What The Game Meant:
Indiana had a chance to end a 16 game losing streak against the Wolverines and to climb back over .500 both overall and in Big Ten play.
Top Offensive Performers:
Tre Roberson, QB, Indiana- The redshirt sophomore rallied the Hoosiers offense after a sluggish start with Nate Sudfeld. Roberson was 16 of 23 through the air for 288 yards and three scores. He also added 50 yards and another touchdown on the ground. He hurt his thumb late in the game, but if he is 100% for the Minnesota game Novmeber 2nd he should be starting.
Kofi Hughes, WR, Indiana- Hughes made the play of the game for the Hoosiers ripping the ball out of the hands of the defense and taking it 67 yards for the score. Overall, Hughes finished with six catches for 138 yards.
Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan- I think he’s still catching passes again right now. The Michigan receiver lived up to the expectations that come with wearing Desmond Howard’s 21 as he absolutely torched Tim Bennett and the IU secondary for a Big Ten record 369 yards. Yes, THREE HUNDRED SIXTY NINE YARDS and two touchdowns.
Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan- In another record setting performance for a Wolverine QB against the Hoosiers, Gardner threw for 503 yards and 2 touchdowns on an efficient 21 of 29 throwing. Gardner, who wears Tom Harmon’s number 98, also accounted for 81 rushing yards and three more scores on the ground.
Top Defensive Performers
T.J. Simmons, LB, Indiana- It is really tough saying there was a defensive player of the game for a team that allowed 63 points and 751 total yards, but T.J. Simmons stood out with eight total tackles and recording the first sack of his young career.
Thomas Gordon, S, Michigan- On a night where there was very little defense, the senior safety came up with two interceptions, the first of which ended Indiana’s bid for the upset after IU got the ball on a Michigan fumble.
Special Team Performance:
The Hoosier special teams were solid in the loss, blocking a field goal and limiting return man Dennis Norfleet to a 20-yard average on six returns. Mitch Ewald had a good day converting both field goals, including a career long 50 yarder before half time and all five extra points. Erich Toth had another mediocre day averaging just 36.5 yard per kick on four punts. Stephen Houston, who a week ago looked lost on special teams, provided a spark averaging 27 yards a return.
Michigan averaged 17.3 yards per pass attempt against the Hoosiers. The big pass play killed the Hoosiers all day as Tim Bennett and Michael Hunter fell victim to double moves and were burned several times by Jeremy Gallon.
Indiana had just gotten the ball back on a fumble recovery at their own 2-yard line and were moving the ball effectively when Tre Roberson had to come out of the game due to a hand injury. Nate Sudfeld, who started the game, came in and threw an interception that all but ended Indiana’s bid at leaving Ann Arbor with a victory.
I Knew it Was Over When…
Devin Gardner avoided a Flo Hardin tackle and ran into the end zone to turn an Indiana interception into six points and give Michigan a nine point lead with 6:02 remaining.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Tre Roberson, Quarterback- Tre Roberson has made his case to regain the starting spot from Nate Sudfeld with a terrific performance in which he went blow to blow with Devin Gardner until a late thumb injury. Roberson had the IU offense humming after it had stalled out under Sudfeld.
Michigan- Jeremy Gallon, Wide Receiver- By now IU fans are sick of hearing his name, but Jeremy Gallon had a game for the ages as he was wide open all game and accounted for a Big Ten record 369 yards receiving.
What I took away from the game
Something has to change defensively after the season. The Hoosier defense was absolutely atrocious letting up big play after big play to a team that has had trouble putting together a great offensive performance. Tim Bennett fell for the double move twice and Greg Heban whiffed on two attempts to make a big play. Add in the continued trouble with tackling and this defensive staff has to be officially placed on the hot seat. Yes, Indiana does not have great depth or great talent on that side of the ball and the guys do play hard, but enough is enough something has to change to break this cycle. As bad as the defense looked the offense looked just as good. Tre Roberson had his best game of his career and, in my opinion, has leap-frogged Nate Sudfeld as the starting quarterback for the Hoosiers. Roberson brings a dynamic that Sudfeld just can’t do with his feet. While the loss is a tough pill to swallow and Indiana is passed taking moral victories, the Hoosiers must wash the bad taste of this game out of their mouth and focus on the two big home games coming up in Minnesota and Illinois because they can still go bowling if they take care of business at home.
With that being said, don’t look for a coaching change during the bye week. Frankly, I do not think that Fred Glass has the stones to fire Doug Mallory even if it is warranted. Another factor that goes into hiring a good defensive coach is that it will cost IU some money. The bottom line is that Kevin Wilson will not survive in Bloomington if his terrific offense is going to get torpedoed week in and week out by a horrific defense.