Michigan football moved to 10-1 on the season on Saturday with a 20-10 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers on Senior Day at the Big House. It was not always pretty, but a win is a win and they now control their own destiny going into Columbus next week.
It was often times sloppy and extremely snowy towards the end of the game, but it is what it is and they got the job done. It is never easy when they face the Hoosiers.
Here are a few takeaways from the contest:
Players of the Game
De’Veon Smith and Taco Charlton were everything to the Wolverines today and made big plays when the team needed them the most. Smith finished the afternoon with 158 yards and two touchdowns and Charlton had four tackles (2.5 for loss), a sack and a pass breakup in the contest.
John O’Korn got the start for the injured Wilton Speight and did not do a whole lot to spell concerns of him coming into the contest. He was 7-for-16 for 59 yards in the game and the only play he made was a 30-yard run in the third quarter, but that was one of the bigger plays of the game so hats off to him.
There is a clear dropoff between what he brings to the table as opposed to Speight and if he does indeed get the nod against Ohio State, he has to take a massive step forward in a week.
Speight was warming up and in pads before today’s game, so perhaps it is not as big of a worry as we initially thought, but regardless the Wolverines have to bring a balanced and effective offensive attack next week.
Special Teams were Special
Michigan got their hands on a pair of kicks today and Kenny Allen was effective as a kicker and punter in this game and it made a huge difference. That aspect of the game is so underrated and the Wolverines continue to excel in that area. Today is proof that special teams can do wonders for your chances to win a football game.
The Road Ahead
We all know what is on the line next week. Is this team ready? Who the heck knows.
Michigan is going to need a great week of practice to go down there and have a chance. It is a rivalry game with major stakes and Jim Harbaugh treats every week as a Championship week, but this is the single-biggest hurdle this program has faced since he has been in Ann Arbor.
To some, OSU will feel like a death march, and that’s fair, but this team has the ability to control the line of scrimmage against a Buckeye team that has been pushed around at times this season.
The College Football Playoff is here and it begins now for Michigan. Legacies and championships and perceptions are all on the line on Saturday. We will see how they come out and respond.
The week of The Game is upon us.