No. 4 Michigan improved to 6-0 on the season after defeating Indiana 31-10 in Bloomington. The Wolverines faced adversity in this one in a variety of ways but pushed forward. Here are takeaways from the game.
Mike Hart’s health scare definitely impacted the team
According to the Fox broadcast, Michigan running backs coach Mike Hart suffered a seizure in the first quarter of the game. Hart was carted off the field and taken to the hospital. Players and coaches were visibly shaken by what happened, hugging one another and trying to get through the unexpected situation.
Michigan got off to a slow start in all three phases of the game and the score was 10-10 at halftime. It’s hard to quantify how much of an impact Hart’s circumstance had on the performance of the team, but it sure seemed to have impacted them. However, Michigan buckled down and outscored the Hoosiers 21-0 in the second half to win 31-10. Jim Harbaugh told the team to win for coach Hart, and they delivered.
Michigan’s pass-rush looks dominant
The Michigan defense had four sacks last week against Iowa and put up a whooping 7 against Indiana. What’s even more impressive about this is the fact that seven different players tallied a sack — Mike Morris, Eyabi Okie, Junior Colson, Mike Barrett, Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, and Derrick Moore. IU quarterback Connor Bazelak is going to be sore after this one and the pass-rush is a major reason why he completed just 51% of his throws for 203 yards on 49 attempts.
McCarthy is playing smart football
McCarthy doesn’t look like a 19-year-old QB out there and is developing good poise in the pocket. McCarthy was 28-of-36 on the day for 304 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The interception was a pretty good throw into a tight window that happened to hang up in there air too long after Ronnie Bell’s hand was on it. Bad throw, no? Risky throw? Yes. Bad luck? Yes. McCarthy continues to use his legs to buy extra time to throw and he’s doing a good job of keeping his eyes down the field while he scrambles. McCarthy takes checkdowns when they’re warranted and really isn’t forcing many throws. It was another encouraging day from J.J.
Michigan adjusted in the second half, felt like a different ballgame
Michigan’s defense gave up 193 yards in the first half, but just 29 yards in the second half. They gave up four first downs in the first half, just one in the second half. Offensively, it was not pretty for Michigan in the first half, there were plenty of missed opportunities and they didn’t fare well on third down. Michigan’s offense was 2-of-7 in the first half on third down, and 5-of-7 in the second half. If Michigan wasn’t able to make adjustments and change course the first half woes would be all the more concerning, but in most ways the second half felt like a different game. Michigan wasn’t in control in the first half, they were very much in control after halftime. Once the Wolverines returned to the field, they showed why they’re the No. 4 team in the nation. Not a perfect game by any means, but there’s no denying Michigan has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.
The number of penalties were unacceptable
Michigan had 10 penalties on the day. While the officiating was suspect and spotty, there were some clear pass interference calls and false starts. Penalties have not been an issue for Michigan this year, but this cannot become a trend. 10 penalties against a good team can cost you the game.
Let’s talk about Michigan’s weapons at wideout
I was on SiriusXM this week and Jake Butt asked me who the No. 1 receiving option for Michigan is, because most of the time you like to see one player really separate himself from the pack — that was a hard one for me to answer and I gave him multiple names. After today that wasn’t the worst approach for me to take. Ronnie Bell had 11 receptions for 121 yards, Luke Schoonmaker continues to impress with nine receptions for 67 yards and a score, and Cornelius Johnson had four receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Then there’s Andrel Anthony, who had just two receptions for 32 yards with an incredible one-handed catch. My point is on a given week, based on the matchups, any of Michigan’s receivers have the ability to go off, Roman Wilson as well (who didn’t play today). J.J. McCarthy does a good job of spreading the ball around and finding the open guy, Michigan’s offense could become very fun in the passing game. McCarthy and the Michigan passing offense are growing on a weekly basis.