Indiana Tape Breakdown and Iowa Outlook

Here's a very detailed (including chart!) breakdown of the offensive woes versus the Hoosiers -- and a look at what it will mean versus the Hawkeyes.

As was the case the week previous versus the Oregon Ducks, the Michigan defense sputtered early versus Indiana. Four turnovers in the first twenty minutes obviously derailed the initial first half drives. The first two turnovers came courtesy of miscues in the passing game and were responsible for costing the Wolverines 14 points. John Navarre was off early but seemed to get on target after those initial mistakes. That said, the drops of catchable passes seemed to be even more prevalent this week.

1st Drive

1st and 10 on Indiana 19, 13:25
After a 41 yard jaunt by Perry, Navarre has Breaston wide open going toward the west corner of the South endzone but drastically underthrows him. The pass is picked off. (Navarre is 2/3 at this point after on target passes to Gonzales and Mignery).

2nd Drive

3rd and 6 on Indiana 25, 9:45
Good protection by the offensive line. Steve Breaston is running wide open on a post corner route from the slot going toward the east corner of the south endzone. John overthrows him by 5 yards, costing the Wolverines another touchdown. This proves very costly because of the next play. (Navarre is 3/5 at this point).

4th and 6 on Indiana 25, 9:40
Navarre steps up in the pocket after being flushed. He finds Chris Perry running a shallow crossing route after releasing from the backfield. John has to throw across his body (from west to east) so he had to throw the ball a little harder than is desired for such a short route. Still, it should have been caught. The ball bouynces off of Perry's hnds and is intercepted. (Navarre 3/6).

4th Drive

3rd and 5 on Michigan 47, 13:45
Navarre hits Massaquoi with a perfect pass on a corner pattern for 16 yards. (Navarre 5/8)

2nd and 13 on Indiana 22, 12:18
Steve Breaston runs an underneath route over the middle and is wide open. Navarre throws a high rocket that sails through Breastons hands. It would have been a tough catch. (Navarre 5/9)

3rd and 18 on Indiana 27, 12:13
Jermaine Gonzales runs a post and is wide open. Good lead by Navarre. Gonzales goes up for ii but it sails right through his hands. Should have been caught. (Navarre 5/10)

6th Drive

1st and 10 on Michigan 43, 4:38
Out pattern by Braylon Edwards. Navarre delivers a good ball that's a little high, but Edwards drops it. Should have been caught. (Navarre 6/12)

2nd and 15 on Michigan 38, 4:06
Screen to Rembert. John has to throw the ball over the outstretched arm of a rushing defensive lineman. The ball is a little high (but soft) because of it. It hits Rembert in the hands but he drops it. Should have been caught. (Navarre 6/13)

3rd and 15 on Michigan 38, 3:57
John stands tall in the pocket and takes a huge hit from the Hoosier defender, but still throws a beautiful strike to Avant on a post for a 24 yard pickup. (Navarre 7/14)

3rd and 6 on Indiana 33, 2:43
Avant runs a slant. John throws it a bit behind him, but Jason still digs it out and picks up 13 yards. (9/16)

1st and 10 on Indiana 20, 2:16
Tim Massaquoi runs an out to the sideline, John delivers the ball on target but Massaquoi anticipates the hit and drops the ball as the Hoosier defender delivers the blow. (Navarre 9/17)

2nd and 10 on Indiana 20, 2:08
Steve Breaston runs a post corner to the east corner of the North endzone. John delivers a nice pass for the touchdown. (10/18)

2nd Half

7th Drive

2nd and 8 on Michigan 37, 5:42
John delivers a pass to Brian Thompson in the flat that's high and a little behind, but he snags it and runs for a short pick up of 1. (Navarre 11/19)

8th Drive

2nd and 5 on Indiana 31, 0:28
Quick out to Braylon Edwards. John delivers the ball really low, but Braylon goes down and pulls it from his shoe-tops. He runs for a pick up of 4. (Navarre 12/20).

2nd and 21 on Indiana 48, 10:57
Tyler Ecker runs a shallow crossing pattern and sits down in the soft part of the zone. John delivers a pass high and to the outside, but Tyler snags for a pick up of 6. (Navarre 13/22)

3rd and 15 on Indiana 42, 10:16
Braylon Edwards runs a post and Johns delivers a strike right on the #1. Braylon takes the hit and holds on to the ball for a pick up of 22 yards. (Navarre 14/23)

2nd and 6 on Indiana 17, 9:12
Braylon runs another post into the endzone and John delivers a stike for 6. (Navarre 15/24).

Bottom Line

Good pass but dropped
Poor throw by John that should have been caught
Poor throw that would have been a tough catch
Throw by John where the receiver bailed him out
Very poor throw or decision
1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
3rd Quarter

It’s quite obvious that the sputtering of the offense out of the gate is a concern. They must get off to a better start against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a very raucous Kinnick Stadium. How they do that is for the coaches to decide. In any case, it’s apparent that a large part of the early success (or lack thereof) falls on the players. There have been some very good plays called with receivers running open…only to have badly thrown passes and/or drops. To his credit, John Navarre has not shied away from responsibility in that matter. However, as a fifth year senior he’s simply going to have to be better earlier in the game if Michigan is to pull out these games in hostile environments. At the same time, the dropping of passes that are on target does nothing to help establish his rhythm. Unlike the situation at quarterback, there are numerous options at wide receiver. Amongst the plethora of talent at that position there have to be a few that step up and bring some consistency to the group.

This may be the week that the tight end gets an increased roll in the passing game. Michigan’s tight ends against the Hawkeye linebackers is a mismatch and will provide John with some easy throws. Expect a couple of screen plays in the early drives as well. Iowa will follow the blueprint that has been laid out the past couple of weeks and sell out to stop the run. Michigan hasn’t been very effective running on this defensive unit the past couple of years for that very reason. It will be up to Navarre and company to loosen up the Black and Gold defenders and open some running lanes for Chris Perry.

The Michigan defense has been very good thus far this season and will be very effective in hindering the Hawkeye offensive attack. They did a great job of keeping Michigan in the game early last year, despite the ineffectiveness of the offense. However, as the game went on, the amount of time the defense was on the field eventually wore on them and they succumbed to the outstanding running game that Ferentz’s bunch puts on the field. This year, Michigan's stringing together a drive or two very early will be paramount in setting the proper tempo for the day.

With the injuries the Hawkeyes have on offense, Michigan should be even more effective on defense. If the Wolverines can get on the scoreboard early they could win big. That said, the past few weeks suggest that expectations of early success should be tempered. I don’t think the Wolverines will score a great deal early, but I do think they will take care of the ball and get enough first downs early to keep the defense fresh. This will be a defensive battle with the Wolverines prevailing 24-10.


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