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Michigan’s defense needed it’s best half of the season and got it in spades

Jim Harbaugh was more than pleased with his team’s defensive performance coming out of halftime Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Michigan at Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The difference between the Michigan Wolverines’ first-half performance Saturday against Indiana and their second half performance was shocking — what had been a 10-10 rock fight going into the break turned into a 21-0 beatdown coming out of it.

For head coach Jim Harbaugh, this wasn’t a surprise — it was exactly what he and the coaching staff preached in the locker room.

“(The message was) that we play our best half of football of the season,” Harbaugh said in his postgame media availability. “All we’re asking them to give everything you’ve got. It’s going to be needed. I thought we responded well, I mean, it was 21 to nothing in the second half.”

While Harbaugh famously believes every stat besides points is overrated, even he wouldn’t downplay the sheer starkness in the first and second half splits. After giving up just less than 200 yards to the Hoosiers’ offense to start the game, the Wolverines clamped down hard — giving up a paltry 29 yards in 28 plays, including -11 rushing yards.

“Moving into halftime, it was, ‘We’ve gotta have the best half of football of the season. It’s gotta come right now.’ You get locked in and I thought the defense did a tremendous job of that,” Harbaugh said. “The pressure really came and the tight coverage came along with it.

“I thought we made some great adjustments. Coach Clink was coaching them hard and it was a lot of coaching going on. Really felt like that coverage tightened and the pass rush started getting home.”

Making the right adjustments coming out of the locker room is an essential part of football, and Michigan has been exemplary so far this year in identifying its weak points and filling them. As the season itself goes into it’s second half, this will almost certainly become a more and more essential ability.