Michigan Indiana Football

Michigan linebacker Jaylen Harrell (32) reacts after sacking Indiana quarterback Connor Bazelak (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. 

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana hung around against No. 4 Michigan at Memorial Stadium this afternoon, but could not muster enough offense to scare the Wolverines in the second half, falling 31-10 in front of an announced crowd of 50,805.

It was Indiana's third loss in a row after a 3-0 start and the Hoosiers are 1-2 in Big Ten play. Michigan 6-0 and 3-0 in conference games.

3 Takeaways

  • Jaylin Lucas can play: Indiana emphasized all week getting the ball in the hands of the true freshman running back would be a priority and it certainly seemed to make finding him a significant part of the gameplan. Lucas delivered a couple of highlight-reel plays, breaking free for a 39-yard run in the first half and using a nifty jump cut to get past a Michigan linebacker for a first down early in the second half. He finished with three catches for 20 yards and four rushes for 45 more yards and had five touches in the second half after notching none after halftime against Nebraska last week. Lucas is very obviously a dynamic playmaker and should be a big part of Indiana's gameplan going forward. Early in the season, the Hoosiers explained away his lack of touches with an insistence Lucas needed to get better in pass-blocking to be able to get on the field consistently, but he's such a weapon in open space, those concerns have to be out the window now. Indiana got around the problem by putting him in two-back sets so the other back (usually Josh Henderson) could handle blocking duties on pass plays. Whatever it takes to get the ball in Lucas's hands.
  • Michigan adjusted: Indiana came in with a very effective gameplan on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Hoosiers tried to get the ball to their running backs and quick receivers on the boundary as quickly as possible, neutralizing Michigan's advantage up front and making the Wolverines' iffy linebacking corps defend from sideline to sideline. That, combined with the tempo the Hoosiers ran, kept Michigan off balance for chunks of the game and probably earned Indiana some free yards with Wolverine penalties, including a key pass interference call on IU's first touchdown drive. As with every other game this season, there were times the Hoosiers seemed to move through the Wolverine defense like a hot knife through butter. On defense, the Hoosiers packed the box and did everything possible to slow down the elite Michigan running game and they were able to stifle it for the entire first half outside of one 50-yard Blake Corum run which was actually well-defended. 
    In the second half, however, the Wolverines began to open up the passing offense. The Hoosiers weren't able to get much pressure on Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy and he was able to pick them apart with his legs and his arms. On offense, Indiana somewhat inexplicably went away from the RB passing game (Michigan defensive backs slicing down from the secondary to slow it down probably factored in) and could not run the ball well enough to compensate. When the Hoosiers had to run traditional drop-back passing offense, Michigan got pressure on IU quarterback Connor Bazelak. Indiana was not able to readjust to Michigan's adjustments, looked tired in the fourth quarter and that was that.
  • Indiana is game: The Hoosiers came into this game off of back-to-back deflating losses, having given up a combined 80 points to two teams not known for explosive offenses. Memories of last season's eight-game slide to finish the season have almost certainly swirled in the IU football building over the last six days. To Indiana's credit, however, the Hoosiers stood toe to toe with the No. 4 team in the country today and refused to blink. Once at the outset of the game and again midway through the third quarter, it appeared as though Michigan might begin to open up some breathing room and on both occasions the Indiana defense stood tall and kept the Wolverines from running away with the game. The Hoosiers swarmed Corum repeatedly in the backfield, flew around on defense and played with significant heart. Whatever else can be said about the state of the program, it's obvious coach Tom Allen and his cadre of veteran leaders – linebacker Cam Jones and cornerback Jaylin Williams, who did not play today because of injuries are among that group – has this team believing in itself. It's not going to get any easier going forward, but that is a foundation on which the Hoosiers can build.

Player of the Game: Bradley Jennings Jr. 

The Indiana linebacker was everywhere, stepping up in the absence of Jones and notching a team-high 13 tackles, including one for loss. He also made one of Indiana's biggest plays of the game, dropping into coverage against speedy Michigan receiver Ronnie Bell, staying with him stride for stride into the end zone and knocking away a well-located pass. The ball bounced up in the air and Indiana's Devon Matthews came down with an interception, keeping the Hoosiers within a score in the third quarter.

Extra Points

Indiana is 10-61 all-time against Michigan. ... The Wolverines have won 26 of the last 27 meetings. The only IU win in that stretch came in 2020. ... Indiana was outgained 263-29 in the second half. The Hoosiers were also outgained 178-71 in the second half last week against Nebraska. IU was tied at halftime in both games, but lost the second halves by a combined 35-0. They gained minus-7 yards in the fourth quarters of those games, including minus-12 today. ... Bazelak was sacked seven times and hurried a half-dozen more. He gained just 4.1 yards per pass attempt. ... Corum ran 25 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. He leads the nation with 11 rushing touchdowns. ... Both teams blocked a field goal in the second quarter. ... Michigan running backs coach and run-game coordinator Mike Hart collapsed on the sideline in the first half, reportedly because of a seizure. A cart took him off the field and to the hospital. Hart coached at Indiana for four seasons from 2017 to 2020 and many Indiana coaching staff members came over to the cart to wish him well as he went off. He was reportedly alert as he left the field and told Michigan players and coaches at halftime he was feeling fine.

What's Next?

Indiana will be back in action next Saturday to take on Maryland (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) at Memorial Stadium. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The Terrapins lost to Purdue 31-29 in College Park, Maryland on Saturday, falling a 2-point conversion short of tying the game in the final minute. The Terps beat Indiana 38-35 in College Park last season.

College Sportswriter

Dylan Sinn is a College Sportswriter, covering mainly Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame, as well local colleges in northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball. He is a graduate of Indiana University and an AP Top 25 football voter.