U-M survives scare in OT at Indiana, 27-20

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Survival.

Very little about Michigan's day Saturday was pretty. But, right now, the Wolverines will take a win where they can get one.

Karan Higdon rushed for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns and No. 16 Michigan survived a mistake-filled game to notch a 27-20 overtime win at Indiana on Saturday.

With the win, Michigan (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) will now gear up for a road night game at Penn State next Saturday.

After blowing a 10-point lead in the final four minutes of regulation, Michigan got a 25-yard touchdown run from Karan Higdon on the opening touch of overtime. The defense then stuffed Indiana at the goal line, getting an interception from Tyree Kinnel on a heave on fourth down from the 4, to preserve the win.

• Michigan's passing game was completely lost, as John O'Korn was unable to muster anything through the air. His only chunk play of the game came on a wild scramble that saw him find Donovan Peoples-Jones for 17 yards.

Beyond that, it was zilch. He over-shot a wide open Peoples-Jones down the middle of the field for what should've been a score in the first half and didn't see an open Zach Gentry crossing the middle for what would've been a big play in the third quarter.

It was, by most measures, lifeless. He finished 10 of 20 for 58 yards.

• The penalties were completely out of hand for the Wolverines, as Michigan nearly matched Indiana (112 yards of offense) with penalty yards (98) before halftime. This was a 13-3 game at the break that should've been more lopsided.

Michigan, at one point, had three penalties on a single defensive snap -- holding, offsides and unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Wolverines dug hole after hole in this game.

Key play: Higdon had three touchdown runs, but none was bigger than his 25-yarder to begin the first overtime. It was all Higdon, too, as the junior from Florida bounced what appeared to be a dead play to the outside.

Honorable mention goes to Michigan's defense on what turned out to be its second overtime goal line stand at Indiana in the past three years.

Key stat: Michigan finished the game with 15 penalties for 128 yards, easily the most this season and the most of the Jim Harbaugh era.

The Wolverines had 11 penalties in the first half and suffered lapses on offense, defense and special teams.

A brutal effort mentally, as Michigan flirted with disaster all game due to its own mistakes. Combine that with a woeful offense, and it's a serious problem.

What this means: Michigan survives. And right now, that's going to have to be good enough.

You can't ask for style points from a team that's struggling to find an identity. The passing game appears to be completely broken at this point, and Harbaugh's staff has to figure out what to do there. Whether it's find something that works for O'Korn or move on to Brandon Peters or Dylan McCaffrey.

Either way, though, Michigan's run game was enough Saturday and the defense did what the defense has done all season.

Michigan has to win ugly right now. Saturday, it did exactly that.

Barely. 

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment