Michigan: Five things we learned vs. Indiana
Five takeaways from Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News following Michigan's 31-20 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
Red-zone offense lull
The Wolverines had 507 yards of offense, but had issues in the red zone in the 31-20 victory over Indiana, considering 18 points came off field goals.
Michigan had seven scores in eight trips to the red zone against the Hoosiers and only one touchdown, a two-yard run from Karan Higdon. Nick Eubanks gave Michigan its only other touchdown on a 41-yard pass from Shea Patterson,
The good news for Michigan is that freshman kicker Jake Moody came through in his debut, hitting all six field-goal attempts. For the season, Michigan has made 50 red-zone trips and scored 43 times, including 29 touchdowns. In the previous two games, against Penn State and Rutgers, Michigan capitalized in the red zone with four touchdowns in four trips against Penn State and four touchdowns in five trips at Rutgers. Higdon said the offensive execution was off a bit with dropped balls and a few mistakes.
Patterson said the Hoosiers’ defense had something to do with red-zone issues. “You’re not going to roll every team every week,” Patterson said. “Not everything is going to go your way. They had a pretty good scheme, a pretty good defense and we ended up just taking what they gave us and the defense put is good position and this guy (Moody) was a sniper. He did a hell of a job.”
Getting his kicks
Kicker Quinn Nordin was ill and the freshman Moody, who has handled kickoffs this season, got the call. In fact, he got call after call after call after call after call after call on field goals — for those of you mathematically challenged (hand raised), that’s six field-goal attempts. And he made all of them in his debut to set a Michigan record. Moody, who hadn’t attempted a field goal in a game since playing for Northville High last year, made kicks of: 32, 30, 31, 33, 23 and 29 yards.
Patterson referred to Moody as “the sniper” after the game. “It was an incredible experience,” Moody said. “The guys out there made it really easy for me, the snaps and the holds by Camaron Cheeseman and Will Hart. They made it really easy for me to just go out there and do my job.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was not definitive on who would be the kicker next week at Ohio State. It has been a struggle, particularly late in the season for Nordin. He is 11-of-16 and has missed four of his last seven attempts.
Tight end Zach Gentry had two catches for 83 yards, including a 41-yard reception on third-and-9. He is second on the team with 475 yards on 30 receptions — Donovan Peoples-Jones has 477 yards — and 20 of his catches have gone for first downs. Before he registered catches of 41 and 42 yards against Indiana, Gentry’s previous best was a 36-yard reception. He has 15 straight games with a catch. He did miss on a sure touchdown against the Hoosiers, however.
Junior linebacker Devin Bush Jr. is the tone-setter on Michigan’s defense. He led the team with 12 tackles against Indiana, his best output of the season, topping his season-best of nine tackles in the Western Michigan and Nebraska games. Bush leads the team with 72 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. There is always so much focus on the Wolverines’ defensive line, but so much of the energy of this defense comes from Bush and his all-out play.
As Higdon goes …
Senior running back Karan Higdon probably still isn’t getting the recognition he deserves, but he continues to deliver. Higdon, through 10 games, has 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is 13th nationally averaging 110.6 yards a game, and against Indiana ran hard again for 101 of the Wolverines’ 257 on the ground. He also had a two-yard touchdown. That’s his eighth 100-yard game this season and 13th of his career, tying him for eighth on Michigan’s all-time list. Three other backs ran the ball against the Hoosiers, including Chris Evans gaining 44 on 10 carries, and Tru Wilson’s 42 on six carries. Quarterback Shea Patterson ran nine times for 68 yards. The Wolverines have rushed for 2,411 yards this season. But with those 1,106 yards, Higdon has taken control of the run game.