BOZICH | No breakthrough (or breaks) for Indiana as Michigan wins in OT
Beating Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan remains a king-sized problem for the Indiana football team as the Hoosiers found out again against Michigan Saturday.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – Syracuse toppled Clemson, the defending national champion. California ripped Washington State, unbeaten and ranked ninth. File it as more evidence that Nobody beats Somebody in college football every weekend. It happened twice Friday night -- and I won't get into the trip Boston College made to Louisville.
It remains an elusive concept for Indiana football.
No #Breakthrough -- and no #Breaks.
In a season when the Hoosiers have been talking, talking and talking about delivering a breakthrough moment for their football program with growing ambitions, #BreakThrough remains stuck as an IU hashtag.
The Hoosiers needed a favorable ruling -- or two -- from the replay official. None was forthcoming. They needed one big stop on defense. No, sir. Or one monstrous play from their offense. Ditto. Something to help the Hoosiers overcome the gap in their football DNA.
Michigan 27, Indiana 20 in one crushing overtime.
"We battled for 60 minutes and beyond," IU coach Tom Allen. "Ten-point fourth quarter deficit ... they left it out there. We played a good football team and came up short. I take responsibility for what happened."
The Wolverines scored on a 25-yard run by Karan Higdon on their first overtime play after IU won the toss.. Indiana pushed to the Michigan 1 yard line but went backwards on the next two plays, facing a fourth-and-four.
The game ended with Michigan intercepting a Peyton Ramsey pass in the end zone. Strange play that one, asking a right-handed quarterback to roll to his left and throw across his body into the end zone. None of the IU receivers in the area created the necessary separation.
"My heart breaks for these guys because they have worked so hard and believe so much," Allen said.
"We played our hearts out," said IU receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. "We just have to make more plays."
The Hoosiers broke down just enough times there was no breakthrough. Some bungled special teams plays in the first half. A stronger than expected Michigan running game, which generated 271 of the Wolverines' 329 yards. No forced turnovers. Two turnovers committed, counting the interception Ramsey threw on the game's final play. A wasted time out.
The usual formula, including several replay reviews that tilted toward Michigan. There was the on-side kick that Cobbs appeared to recover at midfield with 3:25 to play. Not so fast. The officials ruled that Cobbs did not complete the catch inbounds -- and the replay official agreed. After the game Cobbs did not dispute or confirm the call. He simply said he needed to do a better job keeping both feet in bounds.
"I don't expect any calls," said IU safety Chase Dutra, who led the Hoosiers with 13 tackles.
"We have to earn the right to get those (closely officiated) plays," Allen said.
I asked Allen to explain his answer.
"You have to be a football team that is competing week in and week out for a Big Ten championship," Allen said.
The Memorial Stadium crowd, announced officially as a sellout of 52,929 for Homecoming, was robust. They were deeply annoyed by a string of officiating decisions, especially in the first half. But in the end, they were served another slice of Hoosier futility against the Big Three in the Big Ten East.
At the halfway point of the season, the Hoosiers sit 3-3, with losses to Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan by a combined margin of 121-59.
The Hoosiers took too much time solving the Wolverines’ formidable defense, the one that came to Bloomington allowing less than 14 points per game.
Without a dependable running game or dynamic quarterback, Indiana was unable to sustain drives or push the ball into the Michigan end zone until one magical 64-yard, six-play drive in the third quarter. They followed that scoring drive with five consecutive three-and-outs.
By game's end they had fixed that, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to force the tie. IU's 20 points were the most any team has scored on the Wolverines this season and the Hoosiers put 278 yards on a defense that ranked first in the country with an average of 213 allowed per game. Nice stuff. But not a #Breakthrough.
By The Numbers Look at why the Hoosiers failed to defeat the Wolverines again.
0 -- Minutes that Indiana led. The Hoosiers fell behind, 3-0, less than eight minutes into the game and played from behind the rest of the afternoon, tying the game on 46-yard field goal by Griffen Oakes on the final play of the fourth quarter.
2 – colossal special teams blunders by IU in the first half.
Devonte Williams misjudged the sideline and fielded a kickoff while stepping out of bounds after Michigan’s first touchdown. Instead of starting accepting the gift of starting a drive on their 35-yard line, the Hoosiers faced first-and-10 from their 13.
This is not an Indiana that can overcome giving away 22 yards on a knucklehead decision.
But Indiana did drive to the Michigan 33 before the offense stalled. Allen waved Oakes on to the turf to attempt an unlikely 51-yard field goal into the wind.
You know the rest of the story. Michigan blocked the kick, returned the football to the IU 27 and kicked a 38-yard field goal four plays later.
"Just too much pressure up the middle," Oakes said.
7 – days until Hoosier Hysteria. Archie Miller’s first season-opening event as the IU basketball coach is booked for 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall.
8 – Consecutive games Indiana has lost to ranked opponents. The Hoosiers lost five straight games to Top 25 opponents last season after beating No. 17 Michigan State and they have been defeated by Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan this season.
IU visits No. 21 Michigan State next Saturday and plays host to Wisconsin, ranked seventh, Nov. 4.
If the Hoosiers' trend of losing to ranked opponents continues, their path to qualifying for another bowl game will depend upon winning three of these four games -- Maryland, Illinois and Purdue on the road and Rutgers at home.
22 – Michigan has defeated IU 22 straight and 37 of 38.
58 -- Michigan's final passing yards total as quarterback John O'Korn completed only half of his 20 throws.
62 – The Hoosiers were in position to cut into Michigan’s 13-0 lead in the second quarter when Peyton Ramsey and receiver Simmie Cobbs teamed for a 62 yard reception. But the play was ruled an incompletion because Cobbs was pushed out of bounds on the IU sideline and failed to re-establish position before catching the pass. Another borderline replay that went against Cobbs and IU.
84 – yard touchdown drive by Michigan early in the fourth quarter. The five-play outburst pushed the Hoosiers behind, 20-10.
141 -- penalty yards by Michigan, which was flagged 16 times, an extreme number for a team with a coaching staff earning close to $10 million in salaries.
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