After weeks of anticipation, the game is finally here. On Saturday, the No. 2-ranked Michigan football team cleared its final hurdle before the epic showdown with the Buckeyes of Ohio State with a dominating 34-4 win over the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Indiana. If there was a worry that the Wolverines would sleep-walk past the Hoosiers as they did just one week ago against Ball State, it was put to bed quickly as the Wolverines jumped on top of the home-team Hoosiers quickly. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Wolverines marched down the field behind 41 yards rushing from junior Mike Hart (92 yards on 19 carries for the game). Quarterback Chad Henne (for the game, 11-19 for 159 yds. and 2 TD's) also completed three passes on the drive, including his first of two scoring passes on the day, a one yard fade to Adrian Arrington in the back right corner of the end zone.
Indiana's offense stalled on the ensuing possession, and the Wolverines quickly capitalized, making the score 14-0 on their very next drive thanks to a four-yard touchdown run by Hart. After watching his squad struggle to put away Ball State the week before, Michigan head man Lloyd Carr was pleased with Saturday's quick start.
"Last week some of the mistakes we made in the Ball State game proved to be very helpful to us because they really focused us," said Carr. "We came into this game with great intensity and the first two drives were really well done. I thought defensively we played outstanding because I was concerned about [Indiana's] kicking game, particularly their punting and returns. We let one punt get out a little bit, but I thought our coverage on the kicking game was good. We got better today, and that's what you want to be able to do in November."
The Michigan defense maintained its stoutness for the rest of the opening stanza, holding Indiana to 13 total yards (five through the air and eight on the ground) on 10 offensive plays. The Hoosiers finally got off of the snide in the second quarter, trimming the lead to 14-3 with a 39-yard field goal from Austin Starr. Those, however, proved to be the only points of the contest for the home team. Meanwhile, Michigan was just getting warmed up.
The Maize & Blue answered quickly with Steve Breaston's first touchdown of the season, a 62-yard bomb that seemed to bury the Hoosiers. Michigan threatened one more time in the half, but a Chad Henne pass was intercepted in the Indiana end zone by Hoosier defensive back Leslie Majors. With possession of the ball, the Indiana threatened for the final time of the half before Morgan Trent intercepted a Kellen Lewis pass in the end zone with under a minute left on the clock.
At the intermission, the Wolverines held a five minute edge in time of possession over the Hoosiers, and it didn't get much better in the second half for Terry Hoeppner's squad. After their opening drive of the third quarter stalled quickly, Steve Breaston scored his second touchdown of the contest with a career-long 83-yard punt return. Prior to Saturday's contest Carr had a feeling his senior playmaker would have a breakout game.
"He had an outstanding game," Carr said after the game regarding Breaston. "I told him beforehand that I thought this would be his best game of the year. He made a big play in the passing game and had a big return. A pretty good day of work when you only touch the ball three or four times. He's had a great year and he has done a lot of great things."
Jerome Jackson salted the game away with a one-yard touchdown run to conclude the scoring in the third quarter. Indiana netted just 26 yards rushing and 105 yards passing in the Wolverines 34-3 victory.
Next up for the Wolverines is the game the nation has been anxiously anticipating for weeks ... the clash of the titans ... an epic battle between storied ... #1 Ohio State versus #2 Michigan.
"It's going to be another great Ohio State-Michigan game," Carr said. "A few things are a little bit different and I don't think there is any question that it can't be any more special than Ohio State and Michigan. This one has everything that a fan could want as well as for the teams involved. The player and coaches have everything that they want. It's great for the Big Ten conference and it's great for every college football fan. It will be an exciting week."For more on the game, click the following links: Boxscore, Notes