When Michigan needed a play the most against a unusually stout Indiana defense, De'Veon Smith was the one to answer the call as the Wolverines (10-1, 7-1) avoided disaster to defeat the Hoosiers (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) 20-10 on Saturday.
Down by four in the third quarter, a broken play by Wolverines quarterback John O'Korn that led to a 30 yard gain set U-M with excellent field position. The very next play, Smith stood tall and burst through for a 34 yard touchdown and an athletic finish to hit the pylon. The score would give the Wolverines offense a boost it desperately needed along with a 13-10 lead.
The third quarter continued to belong to Smith, who carried the team on his back with another long score. This time he burst through the Hoosier defense for a 39 yard touchdown to stretch the lead to 20-10.
Smith finished the day with a career high 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Judging by the way the third quarter unfolded, the first half was an entirely different story for the Wolverines.
With O'Korn getting the start over injured starter Wilton Speight, it was clear that O'Korn didn't have the success Speight has been having so far this season. Pressured and hurried for most of the half, O'Korn often found himself with happy feet and the inability to complete passes. O'Korn was sacked twice in the first half and his designed runs had little to no gain.
With blustery winds and equally blustery snowfall, the elements could've forced the Wolverines to shelve the passing game for most of the contest. However, when U-M did decide to pass the ball, it didn't get much accomplished. O'Korn finished the game with 59 yards passing and 19 yards rushing, 13 of those passing yards came in the second half.
The Wolverines went into the half losing 7-3. U-M opened the scoring in the second quarter with a field goal by kicker Kenny Allen. The Hoosiers would respond with a two-yard touchdown by Camion Patrick
After that, the defense stood tall and only allowed a field goal the rest of the contest.
With the Wolverines' win, it sets up quite a showdown next week as U-M travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State on November 26 at noon. The winner of the contest only punches its ticket for the Big Ten Championship Game.