Live blog: Smith, defense power Michigan past Indiana
It wasn't pretty, but De'Veon Smith and the Michigan run game powered the offense, while the defense had a stout performance to power Michigan to a 20-10 victory over Indiana in the last game of the year at The Big House.
John O'Korn didn't wow anybody, but a 30-yard scramble in the third quarter with his team down 10-6 seemed to energize everybody. De'Veon Smith was the workhorse back, carrying the ball 22 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He had scores of 34 and 39 yards.
Indiana had a chance to go up 14-6 with a first down from the Michigan 6 in the third quarter, but the defense held and the momentum of the game flipped from there as the snow came down at Michigan Stadium.
The showdown for next week against Ohio State is set for the Wolverines. If they win, they will play in the program's first ever Big Ten Championship game.
Big first downs have Wolverines in control
Michigan started inside its own 10 and appeared to be trending towards another punt from deep in its own territory. Indiana shot itself in the foot, however, as a defender drilled John O'Korn as he stepped out of bounds to get the Wolverines out of the shadow of their own end zone. On third down, O'Korn picked up a first down with his arm as he found Amara Darboh on third down to move the ball out to the 40. The Wolverines used an offsides penalty to help pick up another first down at midfield. Facing a fourth a short, De'Veon Smith powered forward for 5 yards and it's all academic now. With 3:30 left to play, Michigan leads, 20-10.
Michigan can't capitalize on blocked punt
The Wolverines blocked their second punt of the day but the offense couldn't put the nail in the coffin after taking over at the Hoosier 42. A Kenny Allen punt went into the end zone and IU will start at its own 20 with 12:20 left to play.
Smith takes it to the house
De'Veon Smith broke off another big touchdown run, going 39 yards this time around to give Michigan a 20-10 lead with 29 seconds left to play in the third quarter.
Indiana punted twice and Michigan punted once as both went three and out after Smith's last touchdown, but the Wolverines still kept control of the field position battle, starting this possession at the Indiana 39.
Smith has 13 carries for 143 yards and two scores. He's been the workhorse for the Michigan offense today.
Big plays put Michigan on top
John O'Korn showed off his wheels at a crucial time for the Wolverines, going 30 yards on third and 8 quarterback scramble. On the very next play, De'Veon Smith burst through the line and took it to the house for a 34-yard touchdown that gives Michigan a 13-10 lead with 4:02 to play in the third quarter.
After his big run, O'Korn got up and pumped his fists, looking like a guy who had just awoke from a long slumber. If the Wolverines go on to win this game, that play could be the one Michigan looks back at and points to as the spark.
Indiana adds to lead
Richard Lago hit a 37-yard pass to Nick Westbrook to get the Hoosiers down to the Michigan 35. Two first down completions later, and Indiana found itself inside the 10, where its drive stalled as the Wolverine defense stiffened. The Hoosiers settled for a 24-yard Griffin Oakes field goal that puts Indiana up, 10-6, with 5:21 to play in the third quarter.
Michigan adds another field goal
After looking like it was ready to march in and take the lead, the Wolverines settled for a 33-yard Kenny Allen field goal that cuts the Indiana lead to 7-6 with 9:40 to play in the third quarter.
Michigan forced Indiana's offense into its first three and out of the game to start the second half. Jabrill Peppers returned the punt across midfield to set the Wolverines up, once again, with good field position.
After the rush attack got the Wolverines down to the 15, the offense stalled after a loss on first down and a John O'Korn incompletion on second down. On that play, O'Korn panicked in the pocket and missed a wide open receiver with his throw. On third and 15, Michigan ran the ball with Chris Evans, perhaps showing how little confidence to coaching staff has in O'Korn right now.
Wolverines trail Hoosiers at the half
It's been a slow, sloppy first half from an offensive perspective. The Michigan offense is clearly not itself with Wilton Speight on the sidelines as it trails, 7-3, at halftime.
After saying he wouldn't change the offense for John O'Korn, Jim Harbaugh has clearly tried to run his quarterback and keep things safe with the short passing game. O'Korn is just 5-for-10 through the air for 46 yards.
If the Michigan offense doesn't find something that works in the second half, today's game is going to be a nail-biter.
First half stats
Total yards: Indiana 141, Michigan 110
Rush yards: Michigan 64, Indiana 51
Pass yards: Indiana 90, Michigan 46
First downs: Indiana 8, Michigan 6
Penalties: Indiana (1 for 5 yards), Michigan (4 for 35 yards)
Hoosiers on top
A few chunk plays and a big pass play got Indiana down inside the Michigan 5 where it took the lead on a 2-yard Camion Patrick touchdown run.
With 4:19 to play before halftime, the Hoosiers lead, 7-3.
After a 14-yard Devine Redding run got the Hoosiers across midfield, Delano Hill fell down in the Michigan secondary and allowed a 31-yard completion from Richard Lagow to Luke Timian that set up the score.
Allen field goal puts Wolverines on top
Jabrill Peppers took the pitch on third down and decided to run out of bounds instead of throwing to Jake Butt in the end zone, meaning Michigan had to settle for a 28-yard Kenny Allen field goal and a 3-0 lead with 8:48 to play until halftime.
The Wolverines forced a third punt from the Hoosiers and were able to get a piece of this one to set itself up at IU's 44. The offense continued to show very little punch in the passing game, but on fourth and 2, De'Veon Smith lowered the boom and picked up 25 yards down to the Hoosier 11.
Defenses in control early on
Indiana was forced to punt again, keeping Michigan in control of field position, but the Wolverines were unable to do anything with that for the third time today.
John O'Korn hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line, but he hasn't exactly shown much patience in the pocket, either. O'Korn still needs to get his feet under him and settle into this game.
They're now into the second quarter at Michigan Stadium, and it's still scoreless, with 14:47 to play until halftime.
Michigan punts from inside IU territory...again
The Wolverines rolled the dice on fourth and short, giving the ball to De'Veon Smith who picked up the first down with ease at the Indiana 30. Things started to unravel afterwards, however, as John O'Korn took a sack on third down and for the second time today, Michigan was forced to punt inside Indiana territory.
Indiana takes over at its own 4 after the Kenny Allen punt.
The Hooisers had picked up a first down on their first drive before a Chase Winovich sack forced them to punt.
Misfire leads to Michigan punt
John O'Korn completed his first pass attempt, a 21-yard gain to Ty Isaac on a screen, but the Wolverines were forced to punt the ball away after he missed an open Amara Darboh on third down.
Michigan picked up some nice chunks on the ground, including eight yards from De'Veon Smith and 10 yards from Chris Evans to start the drive.
O'Korn gets the start at QB
Jim Harbaugh has announced that John O'Korn will, in fact, start today at quarterback for the Wolverines.
Speight, O'Korn both on the field for warmups
Michigan is looking to rebound coming off its first loss of the year last week at Iowa.
With quarterback Wilton Speight dealing with an injured shoulder, many presumed that John O'Korn would be making the start today for the Wolverines. Per multiple reports from Michigan Stadium, O'Korn was the only quarterback on the field taking throws for a while, but Speight did finally emerge, fully dressed from the tunnel and started taking throws.
I'd still bet on O'Korn getting the start, but we won't know for sure until kickoff.
HOW TO WATCH: MICHIGAN VS. INDIANA
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
TV / radio: ESPN / WWJ-AM 950, WTKA-AM 1050
Records: Michigan 9-1 (6-1 Big Ten), Indiana 5-5 (3-4 )
Line: Michigan by 23