The Michigan Wolverines lost their starting quarterback against Iowa, and had to turn to John O’Korn for the start against Indiana.
It’s never easy for a backup to come in and have immediate success, this was the case today, as O’Korn had a rough go of it, albeit not all his fault.
*The temperature for the game was 32 degrees, heavy and circling winds infiltrated Michigan Stadium, and snow flurries were off and on throughout the day. The elements were not ideal for a QB to make his first start of the season.
*The gameplan was run-heavy today, which lead to O’Korn mostly passing in what were obvious passing situations.
*For the second week in a row the offensive line had issues in pass protection, a lot of the time O’Korn had little time to throw.
*On the day O’Korn’s statistics look ugly, but they weren’t as bad as they may seem. There were a few dropped balls mixed in, one pass interference non-call, and a missed bomb to Darboh that was a fingernail away from being a completion with goal to go. On the day O’Korn finished 7-16 for 59 yards.
*The biggest play O’Korn made was not with his arm, but with his feet. This was his defining moment today, and the turning point in the game. Late in the third quarter, with Michigan trailing 10-6, on 3rd & 8, O’Korn changed the game. On the play all receivers are covered, and the pocket breaks down immediately... O’Korn is able to escape and scramble to his left. O’Korn doesn’t just pick up the first, he keeps going and displays his excellent speed and picks up thirty yards. After taking a big hit, O’Korn rises and is fired up, he yells and signals first down. The team is now pumped up. The momentum shift is evident the next play, De’Veon Smith takes his carry to the house and gives Michigan a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
This wasn’t a good day for O’Korn statistically, but it was a good day for him personally. He was able to lead Michigan to victory, able to get the job done.
FULL BREAKDOWN OF PERFORMANCE
First Drive- O'Korn's first pass of the day is a screen pass to Ty Issac for 21 yards. With defenders in his face and bearing down on him, he stays calm and delivers a strike to Issac, while also getting hit hard on the play.
Second Drive - It's third down and he delivers a quick read pass on target to Jehu Chesson. Plants his feet well on this play and fires. First down Michigan.
- 1st & 10.... doesn't sense the pressure immediately, hesitates then tries to escape the pocket, but it's too late and is sacked. - 3rd and long... takes sack after rolling to his right, there are targets open but he doesn't see them. This takes Michigan out of field goal range and Michigan has to punt.
Third Drive- It's third down and a roll out pass is designed. No one is open, Indiana nearly sacks O'Korn but he is able to get rid of it for an incompletion. There's nothing O'Korn could do here. Michigan has to punt again.
Fourth Drive - O'Korn completes back to back on the money short passes; first to Khalid Hill, then to Grant Perry. This sets up a big De'Veon Smith run which puts Michigan in the red-zone. *Michigan runs three plays in a row and settles for a Kenny Allen field goal. Michigan up 3-0.
Fifth Drive- It's a three and out. O'Korn runs the ball on first, throws a short pass to Perry on second down, and on third he makes an errant throw across the middle of the field (intended for Darboh) that is almost picked off. Michigan punts.
Sixth Drive- Twenty seconds and 80 yards to go before the half, O'Korn tries a deep ball and it falls incomplete. Michigan goes into halftime trailing 7-3.
Seventh Drive - 2nd & 15 at the 20... O'Korn rolls to his right and is pressured, he spins to avoid defenders and Jehu Chesson is wide open on the right side of the field... the pass falls flat and Chesson is not able to scoop it off the ground. * Michigan runs on 3rd down and settles for another Kenny Allen field goal. Michigan is losing 7-6.
Eighth Drive- *Michigan is now trailing 10-6 with 5:21 left in the 3rd quarter.
- O'Korn throws a 12 yard pass to Jake Butt, it falls incomplete after Butt slips and it goes off his hands. - It's 3rd and 8, no one is open, and O'Korn runs to the left side and shows his natural athleticism, scrambling and leaving defenders in the dust for a while... O'Korn gains thirty yards on the scamper. Michigan is nearing the red-zone at the 34 yard line.
* The following play, De'Veon Smith rips off a 34 yard for a touchdown. Michigan is up 13-10.
Ninth Drive- O’Korn throws incomplete to Asiasi on first down, the next two plays are runs and Michigan has to punt.
Tenth Drive- O’Korn throws deep to Darboh, it is just out of reach for Darboh, if he is able to complete this, the Wolverines would have been at the eight yard line. It was a good throw.
* The next play De’Veon Smith has his second huge run of the game, going 39 yards for a score. Michigan is now up 20-10.
Eleventh Drive- Two runs start the drive, and O’Korn throws short to Chesson before the first down marker.. Michigan has to punt.
Twelfth Drive- Michigan runs on first down. On second, O’Korn runs to the right side and gets hit late out of bounds. Penalty flags fly and Indiana is hit with a fifteen yard penalty. The clock keeps winding down.
-Michigan is faced with a third and 8, once again the pocket breaks down immediately, O’Korn keeps his cool, back-pedals, and finds an open Darboh for the first down.
That is the last throw of the game... Michigan runs the clock out and wins 20-10.