Michigan 39, Indiana 14

Michigan 39, Indiana 14

November 24, 2019
Nico Collins (image via MLive)

IT’S A TRAP! I was expecting a relatively close battle (I predicted 28-17 Michigan), and the great and powerful Lee Corso predicted an Indiana victory. But it turns out Michigan had other ideas this year. After a slow start on defense, the Wolverines defense put the clamps on Indiana. Michigan was down 14-7 at one point and then scored 32 unanswered points the rest of the way. Indiana’s secondary was severely outmatched in this one, and Michigan took advantage to the tune of 366 passing yards and 5 touchdowns through the air.

Hit the jump.

Jeremy Gallon Jehu Chesson Nico Collins breakout time. Collins tied a career high with 6 receptions and set new career highs with 165 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. That included a 76-yard score on an RPO. Last week Michigan went right to Collins on a post route after a turnover, and this week Michigan pulled out virtually the same exact play for a 19-yard touchdown after a turnover. Michigan and Indiana have had some close games in recent years, but it’s also the team that Michigan sets records against. In 2013 it was Jeremy Gallon with 14 catches for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2015 it was Jehu Chesson with 10 catches for 207 yards and 4 touchdowns. Collins’s game wasn’t quite on the same level as those, but it was still impressive and full of personal bests.

Michigan needs to improve in the running game. The battering of Notre Dame aside, Michigan needs to get better at running the ball. Zach Charbonnet had a 22-yard run, but otherwise, the longest run was 7 yards. Maybe Michigan had the idea of keeping Patterson healthy through to the Ohio State game, and it appears they’ve achieved that feat. Everything has to be on the table next week, including Patterson runs to open up things for the running backs and receivers. For the past two weeks, Michigan has won largely by having a good quarterback and better athletes on the edge than MSU or Indiana has had in the defensive backfield. That won’t be the case next Saturday, at least not across the board.

Still not impressed with the single wing. Michigan ran two plays with running back Hassan Haskins lined up behind center. One was a short yardage play on which Haskins got about 2 yards when he needed 1. One was a short yardage play on which Haskins lost 4 yards when he needed 3. It’s boring and unimaginative. There’s no motion, no pump fake, just snap and follow the fullback. This stuff works for a high school team I know because they’re just bigger and better than everyone and they snap it to a 6’2″, 230 lb. linebacker going DI. Haskins isn’t the same kind of mismatch.

Will Hart stinks sometimes. Punters are odd beings. It’s okay if they’re consistent, and it’s great when they’re booming punts. It’s really annoying when they’re shanking them, though. Hart had a long of 39 that was downed inside the 20, but he averaged 31.3 yards overall on 3 punts. That means his other two averaged 27.5 yards. Gross.

Who’s going to be the next Josh Uche? Michigan has done a good job of developing pass rushers over the past several seasons, from Frank Clark to Taco Charlton to Chase Winovich to Josh Uche. Uche (5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) has taken a roundabout path to being the ace pass rusher (he is/was a SAM linebacker), but I don’t know that Michigan has anyone up its sleeve for 2020. Aidan Hutchinson (7 tackles, 1 sack) will return, and so should Kwity Paye (1 sack), but neither one has the speed or pass rushing instincts that Uche possesses. It will be interesting to see if Luiji Vilain or someone else can take the next step.

I like what Indiana is doing. Indiana doesn’t have many dudes on offense or defense, but I feel like they’re maximizing their potential. They have a QB who can run a little bit, so they’re getting him on draws and zone reads and letting him throw bubbles. They don’t have many guys up front, so they’re spreading teams out. Their good-sized receivers on the edge are tough covers. Defensively, they attack and try to put pressure on your QB to make decisions. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the athletes to pull off many upsets. A 7-5 or 8-4 season at Indiana is an 11-1 season at Michigan, because that means you’re beating all the teams you should.

Can Michigan be creative against Ohio State? I know some people have griped far too long that Jim Harbaugh has his hands all over this offense, even though I don’t think that’s true. But here’s a key barometer: will Michigan try tricky stuff against OSU next week? One of my biggest gripes is that Michigan runs fly sweeps, Wildcat, funky formations, weird dudes in the backfield, etc. until the Ohio State game and then does nothing in the Ohio State game. Jabrill Peppers played some offense in 2016, and then Michigan had nothing for the Buckeyes in 2017 and 2018. I don’t like Haskins taking snaps in the single wing, but if Michigan breaks tendencies (jump pass, motion, jet sweep handoff, reverse, etc.), then I can understand it. If they line up in it on 3rd-and-1 with Haskins behind center, and Ben Mason next to him, and then run lead, I’m going to punch a unicorn. I like Giles Jackson in the backfield next to Patterson, or you can put Ronnie Bell or Donovan Peoples-Jones back there, too. Just give OSU something to think about to slow them down a little bit.

What’s Michigan going to do with Chase Young? That’s the million dollar question…


  1. Comments: 359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 24, 2019 at 9:02 AM

    I read your game assessments closely. Almost always we saw the same game and I find that congratulatory for at least one of us!

    Based on the last couple of games I reckon Nico is gone as well as DPJ. I can see Black coming back unless he is just done with school.

    I don’t remember anyone recruiting and developing pass rushers as good as Brown.

    As far as the running game, I guess I am just a fan of the I or the pistol, and downhill running. It feels like the RBs are always too shallow looking for a crack in the zone running horizontally. Mix it up?

    As far as OSU can we contain them on defense? Can our OL keep it together against their pressure? And yes, some efficient creativity offensively will light up the Big House.

    • Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Nov 24, 2019 at 9:45 AM

      It will be a high scoring game by Ohio State. The only question is whether we will decide to join them. If our passing game continues to depend so heavily on deep drops and slow-developing plays, Patterson will get beat up back there. We need quicker tempo between plays and during plays to have even a small chance. And we can’t leave 2-3 TDs on the field like we have in most of our other recent games. Overthrowing multiple receivers who are wide open for TDs will kill us.

      • Comments: 400
        Joined: 12/24/2016
        Nov 24, 2019 at 8:27 PM

        If OSU brings their A game they win. Period. They’re just better in that regard.
        Michigan must bring their A game to give themselves the opportunity for a victory. OSU played terrible against PSU & still managed the W with -2 in TO’s difference. This would have cost a less talented team the game. I was impressed by that & haven’t seen it since OSU defeated Oregon for the National Championship having a -4 TO differential. Tells you how good that OSU Team was; to destroy that Oregon team and yet committing -4 to’s………

        I’ve read peeps trying to manufacture parallels of this weex game with the ’69 game – its a ridiculous comparison but to comment briefly: OSU committed 7 SEVEN turnovers in that game and that is why Michigan got the victory – OSU beat themselves and thats the only way Michigan will get a victory this week – if OSU beats themselves but Michigan will need to bring their A game in order to capitalize on any potential buckeye mistakes….

        Unfortunately for Michigan, OSU played their worse game of the season this past week against PSU and this will probably help them to focus all the more against Michigan; along with the fact that they’ve clinched the Big 10 East So ‘Championship Possibilty’ is a non issue – the Buckeyes can psychologically focus completely on just beating their arch rival Michgian, just because they’re playing Michigan.

        Can Michigan win? – absolutely but only if they play mistake free and the buckeyes must make more than a couple mistakes……..
        As I See It ………INTJohn

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Nov 28, 2019 at 7:34 AM

        Didn’t you say before the game that 17 points wouldn’t be enough to win?

        It seems like you’re not giving this defense the respect it deserves.

        I think we’ll need more than that against OSU but I’m not convinced it’s going to be a shootout. As a substantial underdog it is to their advantage to try to limit possessions, control the clock, etc.

    • Comments: 35
      Joined: 10/6/2019
      Nov 24, 2019 at 2:12 PM

      Nico looks like a 2nd rounder. Take the money, man, and get out of here. What a great player.

      DPJ I think would be better served by coming back and being the #1 guy as a senior. His production is down across the board vs. 2018 (ypc, etc). Just my opinion.

      • Comments: 183
        Joined: 9/3/2015
        suduri xusai
        Nov 24, 2019 at 3:41 PM

        I really hope DPJ comes back for another year, too

  2. Comments: 33
    Joined: 8/15/2016
    Nov 24, 2019 at 9:46 AM

    I’m hoping that they have been keeping the quarterback-keeping, option running game under wraps until they need it. There is really no reason to break it out against these last few teams. If OSU isn’t practicing it or expecting it, they won’t be emphasizing it in practice. Hopefully, they thrown enough other stuff into the mix that it gets overlooked.

  3. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Nov 24, 2019 at 10:09 AM

    We’ll need to keep going deep to Nico, glad they’re finally realizing his value

    I’m with WCB in that we’ll need tempo. Not Nascar, but definitely a VARIED tempo to keep ohio off guard

    As for the running game, I like how hard both our guys run, but we desperately need explosion back there. RBs do matter!

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Nov 28, 2019 at 7:41 AM

      OSU practices against tempo. It’s not going to surprise them.

      • Comments: 1863
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Nov 28, 2019 at 11:15 AM

        This is why I said varied. Not much better for a D than to know what is coming, and WHEN

  4. Comments: 95
    Joined: 8/22/2019
    Nov 24, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Great write up as always. I’m not much of a fan of the wildcat either but I do think that 2nd attempt where they lost yards may have been a bad read by Haskins. Mason went outside of Mayfield to block and Mayfield appeared to try to seal his man on the inside – wonder if the play was supposed to go outside in which case there was def room to run. Nice catch by Sainristil late in the game on the sidelines hopefully the drop issues he was having earlier in year are thing of the past.
    Think next week will be determined by the OL. Prob going to need to score in the 30’s or up to win and pass pro will need to be at its best.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Nov 24, 2019 at 12:53 PM

      I haven’t watched it again, but I don’t think it was a bad read. It appeared to me that Mayfield basically whiffed on his block on an outside zone scheme.

      EDIT: I’m going to look for a clip of it. I would like to do a breakdown of the play itself and why I especially don’t like that particular blocking scheme with the “wildcat.”

      • Comments: 95
        Joined: 8/22/2019
        Nov 24, 2019 at 4:19 PM

        I thought he might have whiffed also but then it seems strange that Mason is blocking outside Mayfield esp since there was no one at all to block. Would think on short yardage Mason should be clearing a hole for Haskins but I will certainly defer to your expertise. Doesn’t seem like Mason ends up blocking anyone.

  5. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Nov 28, 2019 at 7:50 AM

    This was a huge win. It has been great seeing this offense improve over the season. I can’t remember as dramatic of a turnaround within one year.

    The one concern that sticks out to me is that the running game continues to plod along without many big plays. It’s effective mostly but the numbers don’t look all that great without the long ones.

    I agree with the comment about needing to use the full arsenal including QB runs. Hopefully we’ve been saving up our big runs for Saturday.

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