Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after the win at Indiana he likes this team. The Detroit News
Bloomington, Ind. — In the final minutes at Memorial Stadium, with the game out of reach, the “Beat Ohio” chant among Michigan fans took over.
Quarterback Shea Patterson threw five touchdowns and receiver Nico Collins caught three of them as Michigan pounded Indiana, 39-14, on Saturday. The 12th-ranked Wolverines, under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, have averaged 41.5 points over the last four games.
Michigan (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) has now won 24 straight against Indiana (7-4, 4-4).
And just like that, attention turned to Ohio State.
“We were all in the locker room, (and) no one was even talking about this game,” defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who had seven tackle, including a sack, said. “We’re all ready for next week.”
Michigan has won four straight and will carry that momentum into the regular-season finale next Saturday against unbeaten rival Ohio State at Michigan Stadium. The Buckeyes have already clinched the Big Ten East Division and will play for the Big Ten championship. The Wolverines had high hopes at the start of the season for a division title but a loss at Penn State on Oct. 19 effectively knocked them out of the race.
Now, they’re trying to sweep their three rivals. They have already beaten Notre Dame and Michigan State this season, but Ohio State is a different beast. The Buckeyes have won seven straight and 14 of the last 15 in the rivalry.
Patterson followed his four-touchdown performance in the 44-10 win over Michigan State with a five-touchdown showing. He was 20-for-32 passing for 366 yards, threw to nine different receivers and his only flaw was an interception thrown under pressure with just more than eight minutes left. It was his fifth interception of the season and the first since the first half of the Penn State.
In the last two games, Patterson has completed 44 of 65 passes for 750 yards and nine touchdowns. Patterson's five touchdowns were the most by a Michigan quarterback in regulation and second most in a game behind Jake Rudock's six in a double-overtime win at Indiana in 2015.
“He's just really talented,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.of Patterson. “We're riding him. His play has just been outstanding. He's really seeing the field well.”
Collins had six catches for a career-best 165 yards and the three scores, including a 76-yard touchdown. Collins ran about 60 yards after the catch on that play.
“That last one he went up and got it just like he did last week,” Patterson said. “He’s a playmaker. He finds the open space. It was cool to see him take off and show his speed.”
Michigan finished with 453 total yards, the sixth time in the last eight games it has racked up 400 or more yards. Indiana had 321 yards.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson said the defense always fights back. The Detroit News
The Hoosiers held the lead twice — the last time, 14-7, early in the second quarter — before they were shut out in the second half. Indiana scored on its first possession just as Michigan State did a week earlier.
“Obviously, we started off a little slow, but we’re the defense that if we get punched in the face, we will keep striking and keep coming at them,” said defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who has seven tackles including a sack.
“I wouldn’t be too worried when people get a touchdown on us, because we’re always going to keep coming and coming and coming.”
Michigan scored 32 unanswered points. Patterson connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones on an 11-yard reception, while Collins got his first touchdown on a 24-yard pass, scored on the 76-yard touchdown and had a 19-yard score with 1:39 left in the third quarter after Josh Uche had sacked Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey and stripped him of the ball. Quinn Nordin also had a 27-yard field goal.
Left tackle Jon Runyan said the Wolverines took exception to Indiana coach Tom Allen referring to his team as one of the toughest in the Big Ten.
“We kinda took that as disrespect,” Runyan said. “We came up here and we showed them how we play football.”