Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Opponent: Michigan Wolverines
Location: Saturday November 14th /3:37pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, IN)
Why They Played: Michigan and Indiana meet annually in an East Division matchup. This was the first time the Wolverines had been in Bloomington since 2010.
What The Game Meant:
Saturday was Senior Day for the Hoosiers, which is always a big day. The Hoosiers were looking for their first Big Ten win, while the Wolverines were attempting to keep pace with Ohio State and Michigan State in the Big Ten East race.
Top Offensive Performers:
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana- Howard put up a heroic performance on Saturday afternoon running for 238 yards and two scores against a defense that was allowing just 80 yards per game on the ground. He added a third score on a screen pass from quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
Offensive Line, Indiana- For most of the past 20 years, when Indiana would play a team like Michigan you could see the difference on the lines. On Saturday the Indiana offensive line dominated one of the better run defenses in the country. Led by senior Jason Spriggs the Hoosiers ran for a grand total of 307 and 5.6 yards per attempt.
Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan- The graduate transfer from Iowa had a career day throwing the ball. He completed 33 of 46 passes for 440 yards and six touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 64 yards on seven carries. He should expect a lot of offensive awards this coming week.
Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan- Rudock’s favorite target all day hauled in 10 passes for 207 yards and four scores, including the game-tying touchdown with two seconds left in regulation.
Top Defensive Performers:
Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana- Scales led the team in tackles with eight including a huge tackle for loss on the final drive of regulation. It looks as if he is getting back to his old self after an injury mid-season.
Royce Jenkins-Stone, Buck, Michigan- The hybrid linebacker finished third on the team in tackles with nine. He also tallied two tackles for loss including a sack and a forced fumble.
Special Team Performance:
Griffin Oakes has my vote for the Big Ten’s best kicker. He was a perfect four-for-four on field goals with a long of 52 yards, which would have been good from 62. He also limited the Michigan return game by putting five kickoffs out for touchbacks.
The Hoosiers got back into the game with an explosive play in the punt return game as Mitchell Paige took a punt back 51 yards for a score. IU needs more explosive plays in the return game going forward to take pressure off of the offense.
This is the number of yards per pass attempt Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock had against a beleaguered Indiana secondary. That means on every attempted pass the Wolverines had averaged almost a first down. That needs to change for the Hoosiers over the final two weeks of the season.
This game was so back and forth and filled with turning points. I believe the tenure of the game changed coming out of the locker room when the IU defense forced a punt and then had a return for the touchdown to get back into the game.
I Knew it Was Over When…
Nate Sudfeld’s pass was knocked out of Mitchell Paige’s hands on fourth and goal in double overtime.
Players of the Game
Jordan Howard, Indiana- Howard was monstrous. He dominated a defense only yielding 80 yards per game on the ground.
Jake Rudock, Michigan- The senior picked about the struggling Hoosier secondary and made big throws whenever he needed to. Six touchdowns and 440 passing yards will get you the player of the game 99 times out of 100.
What I took away from the game
This was an all-time classic that will be played all off-season on BTN. Heck, it may even crack the top-25 games on ESPN when they do their countdown over the summer. It was the first overtime game for the Hoosiers since defeating Purdue 34-31 in the 2010 Bucket Game.
This team just keeps coming and is getting awfully close to putting it all together. On Saturday, the Hoosiers played well in almost all phases of the game. They held down the Michigan run game, they ran the ball otherworldly, and they dominated on special teams. However, they were so bad with their secondary play that it totally nullified a great team effort.
Jordan Howard is an NFL back, whether he foregoes his senior season though is up in the air. The Indiana offensive line looks to be hitting their stride and should be able to pave the road for Howard, Redding, and Majette.
The Hoosiers escaped the game relatively healthy and should have their key components for their stretch run. It was good to see IU use freshman receivers Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale more. Hale lined up mainly in the slot and could be used as a back up to Paige.
There is just not much else to add that we haven’t been saying all season. The Hoosiers went toe-to-toe with the big boys and now it is time to take that frustration out on two programs who are riding the struggle bus. We talk about finishing games. Well, now it is time for the Hoosiers to finish this season. That starts with Maryland next week in College Park.