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Handing out game balls for Michigan’s 31-10 victory over Indiana

It was an emotional day in Bloomington, but the Wolverines were able to decisively pull away in the second half.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Following a closer than expected 31-10 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, the Michigan Wolverines are a perfect 6-0 at the halfway mark of the 2022 football season. Michigan looked sharped early, but after Wolverines running backs coach Mike Hart was carted off due to a medical emergency, the team looked distraught on the sidelines and distracted on the field.

The Wolverines and Hoosiers would trade blocked field goals, confusing penalties and sloppy execution the rest of the first half, and enter recess tied 10-10.

In the second half, Michigan slowly imposed its will thanks to a relentless pass rush and a downfield passing approach. The Wolverines surrendered zero second-half points and the offensive methodically picked apart the Hoosiers. It was an emotional roller coaster of an afternoon, but the Wolverines claimed what was most important: victory.

This one was for coach Hart. Let’s hand out some game balls.

Pass Rush

One of the biggest areas of improvement identified following last week’s victory at Iowa was consistency in Michigan’s pass rush. At first it was visible, but by the second half it was blinding.

The Wolverines finished with seven sacks by seven different players, 10 tackles for loss and more than 20 quarterback pressures. It was a combination effort with edges, tackles and linebackers all chipping in on the chaos.

While a few boxes remained to be checked for Michigan this season, you can cross off pass rush from that list.

Luke Schoonmaker

The senior tight end finished with nine catches for 67 yards and one touchdown. Schoony was been consistently one of quarterback J.J. McCarthy’s favorite targets and the ultimate safety blanket in the passing game.

Without Erick All the last few weeks, Schoonmaker has risen to the challenge as a smothering blocker and invaluable receiving option.

Jesse Minter

The first half was ugly for the Michigan defense. Despite stifling the rushing attack of the Hoosiers, Indiana was able to steadily move the ball through the air on the strength of quarterback Connor Bazelak and questionable officiating. In the second half on the strength of defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s adjustments, the Wolverines imposed their will.

Indiana’s second half possessions:

-Seven plays, punt

-Three plays, punt

-Six plays, punt

-Three plays, punt

-Three plays, punt

-Six plays, turnover on downs

You — the reader — had more yards of offense in the fourth quarter than the Hoosiers, whom finished with -12. Michigan’s defense was smothering and blacked out any light Indiana thought it had to win.

Furthermore, no garbage time touchdowns were allowed for the first time in three games.

This Michigan defense is getting better every week and adjusting on the fly with Minter slowly but surely proving his merit as an elite defensive mind.

Honorable Mention:

QB - J.J. McCarthy (first career 300-yard game)

RB - Blake Corum (124 rushing yards and nation-leading rushing touchdown No. 11)

WR - Ronnie Bell (11 catches for 121 yards)

S - Rod Moore (Six tackles, one interception)