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MnB B1G Preview 2013: Michigan vs. Indiana - The Classics

Lately, the games between Michigan and Indiana have mattered more on the basketball court than on the football field. Even so, let's look back on the best games for both teams on the gridiron.

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Brady Hoke hasn't had a chance to face Indiana yet as Michigan's Head Football Coach. That'll change this October 19th. It's been two years since these schools played football together, and in that time, the basketball match-up between the two teams has taken center stage as both programs climbed back to the top of the Big Ten. And even though Michigan went to the National Championship game this year, it's still safe to say the Hoosiers have dominated the Wolverines on the courts through the years.

However, the same cannot be said for football, with Indiana only winning 9 of the 61 match-ups between the two teams since the first in 1900, with Michigan shutting out the Indiana in 8 of their first 9 meetings (with Indiana's win also being a shut out; it took ten games for both teams to end regulation with points). But the record doesn't mean the game with Indiana is a gimme; they don't roll over for us. Look at the last two games (narrow victories for Michigan: 42-35 in 2010 and 36-33 in 2009) as proof that the Hoosiers can't be taken lightly come this Fall.

The Highs: All of the Shutouts (1900, '01, '02, '03, '25, '31, '32, '35, '46, '47, '48, '55, '76, '80, '97, '00)

Out of their 42 wins, Michigan has shut out Indiana 16 times. That's over a quarter of the games played between the two teams. Pretty impressive stuff. In those 16 seasons, only once did Michigan post a non-winning record: 4-4 in 1935. Seven of the seasons saw Michigan win the National Championship and Michigan won the Big Ten title (or a share of it) in 12 of the seasons. The Wolverines never finished unranked in the seasons since the AP Poll started awarding the National Championship in 1936. If you include the Dickinson System years (the previous ranking system) which was used mainly from 1926 until the AP Poll, then the Wolverines only had one unranked season outside of 1935 in this span: 1931, when Michigan went 8-1-1 (Note: I don't know much about this system, but you'd expect a team with that record to be ranked under the AP Poll. It's also funny that, in '31, Purdue finished ranked #10 at 9-1, Michigan finished unranked, and Northwestern finished ranked #4 at 7-1-1, while all three teams were co-champions of the Big Ten. Here's an article that discusses the weaknesses of the system a little bit.)

The Highs: 2009 and 2010

The two most recent meetings between Michigan and Indiana have been memorable for both sides: heartbreaking losses for Hoosiers and too-close-for- comfort wins for Wolverines.

In 2010, the Wolverines won a shootout in Bloomington 42-35. Denard Robinson came into the game banged up but did what we saw him do time and time again, putting up 494 yards of total offense and scoring five touchdowns on the day, including the game winning TD with less than 20 seconds left. The win increased Michigan's current winning streak against Indiana to 17 games. The loss was Indiana's first on the season and led to them finishing at the bottom of the Big Ten. Here's the highlights.

While 2010 was a crushing loss for Indiana after going back and forth with Michigan all day, 2009 left a bitter taste in Hoosiers's mouths due to a controversial interception call that ended their comeback hopes. After Darius Willis tore apart the Wolverines's defense on an 85-yard run, Indiana couldn't put Michigan away. Michigan regained the lead with a little over two minutes remaining and on the ensuing Indiana drive, Donovan Warren was awarded an interception that wasn't an interception that sealed the victory for the Wolverines. Full highlights here.

I know that two close victories against Indiana don't really seem like 'Highs.' However, I'd think that if you were to ask a random sports fan "Who was the last Michigan coach to lose against Indiana?," I doubt Bo would be a popular choice and Rich Rod would likely top the list. So once again (like 2010 against Illinois), I have say that the "forget about defense, let's just outscore 'em" game plan worked Rich (idiot).

The Highs: October 27th, 1979, Michigan 27 - Indiana 21

I wasn't around for this game, but I've heard about it. I've seen the video of the fake fumble that helped setup Anthony Carter's game-winning touchdown. I've heard Bob Ufer's legendary call. It was Meechigan's homecoming game and the Wolverines were up two touchdowns in the 4th quarter. That lead would disappear with under a minute left in the game and put Indiana in position to gain a huge tie. However, the Wolverines would drive to within striking distance, aided by a fake fumble to stop the clock with 6 seconds left. And then this happened. Mr. Ufer can take it from here.

The Lows: September 22nd, 1945, Michigan 7 - Indiana 13

In 1945, the Indiana Hoosiers football team went undefeated (9-0-1) for the first and only time (so far) in fairly dominant fashion. After their first three games, which included the season opener at Michigan and a tie at Northwestern, the Hoosiers won only one game in the last seven by less than 32 points. Indiana won their first Big Ten title that year, finished ranked #4 (their highest in team history), and beat Michigan in back-to-back seasons for the first time (it would happen again in the late 50's). The loss for Michigan had to be disheartening after finishing ranked #8 the previous season while Indiana finished unranked. Michigan had to be expecting to gain redemption after being shutout 20-0 by Indiana in 1944, but it didn't happen. Here's a video chronicling the 1945 Hoosiers.

The Lows: October 21st, 1967, Michigan 20 - Indiana 27

After 22 years, the Hoosiers won the Big Ten title again in 1967, matched 1945 by finishing ranked #4, and gained their first bowl bid in team history. They would eventually finish the season 9-2 after losing to #1 USC in the Rose Bowl. Michigan entered the Indiana game in 1967 with a 1-3 record, a three-game losing streak, and a season on the ropes. Indiana scored the first 20 points, but Michigan battled back. Indiana would score in the final minutes to win the game and stay undefeated at that point in the season. After losing to Indiana, Michigan would lose two of the next five (including Ohio) and finish the season with their second losing record in the last three seasons. On the other hand, the Hoosiers's season is even more impressive when one considers their abysmal 1-8-1 record in the previous season. Moreover, Indiana regained the Old Oaken Bucket from #3 Purdue (the leading offensive and defensive team in the Big Ten). I'd say 1967 was Indiana's year. Since I can't find the Michigan game, here's some highlights from the Purdue game as well as an article that discusses the importance of Indiana's victory over Michigan for the success of the '67 season.

The Lows October 24th 1987, Michigan 10 - Indiana 14

Indiana's last victory over Michigan came in 1987, the only time Bo lost to the Hoosiers. It ended the Wolverines 15-game winning streak against the Hoosiers and gave the Wolverines their 3rd of 4 losses on the season. After winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl in 1986, the Wolverines took a step back in 1987 by losing to (arguably) their three biggest rivals - Notre Dame, MSU, and Ohio - as well as Indiana for the first time in 20 years. Only two seasons removed from a winless 0-11 campaign, Indiana was on the rise in 1987 after going to their third bowl game ever the previous season. Indiana's successful '87 season made the bowl eligible in back-to-back years for the first time in team history and propelled them to four more bowls in the next six seasons. It's also worth noting that this win gave Indiana only its second win against Michigan in Bloomington, with the other coming in 1959. Here's highlights from the game and an article on what the win meant to former Indiana players.

Finally, I would also like to point everyone to a great and similar article written a few years back by John (the former site manager) at The Crimson Quarry. He discusses many of the same games as I do, and his introduction goes into the interesting scheduling between the two teams (e.g. Indiana has only played at home 19 times while Michigan has played at home 42 times). Check it out here.