-- The Michigan football team ended a two-game losing streak with a thrilling 34-31 victory over Indiana Saturday (Oct. 30) at Memorial Stadium. Sophomore placekicker Hayden Epstein (Cardiff, Calif./Torrey Pines HS)
booted a 20-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining to give Michigan the win. The Wolverines (No. 15 Associated Press, No. 14 USA Today
/ESPN) raised their record to 6-2 on the season and improved to 3-2 in Big Ten Conference play.
Michigan raised its record to 45-9 all-time against the Hoosiers and won its 10th straight against Indiana. Lloyd Carr improved to 5-0 against the Hoosiers and with the victory claimed his 45th career win as Michigan's head coach (45-13).
Junior tailback Anthony Thomas (Winnfield, La./Winnfield HS) led the offense with a career-high 197 rushing yards and tied a school record with 42 carries. He scored three rushing touchdowns in the game and added three receptions for 24 yards. Senior quarterback Tom Brady (San Mateo, Calif./Serra HS) completed 17-of-29 passing attempts for 226 yards and one touchdown.
Michigan took the opening kickoff and grabbed a 7-0 lead as Thomas scored on one-yard touchdown run. Thomas carried eight times for 36 yards on the 11-play scoring drive, while Brady completed 2-of-3 passes for 46 yards on the drive. Brady threw a 36-yard pass to senior wide receiver Marcus Knight (Sylacauga, Ala./Comer HS) on third-and-12 that kept the drive alive, and then hit Knight for 10 yards.
The Wolverines' defense provided the offense with excellent field position as junior James Whitley (Norfolk, Va./Norview HS) stripped Indiana tight end Craig Osika and recovered the fumble at the Hoosier's 35-yard line. Michigan gained a 10-0 lead as Epstein connected on a 22-yard field goal. Brady completed all three passing attempts for 25 yards on the drive, and Thomas added 15 rushing yards on five carries.
Michigan pushed its lead to 17-0 as Thomas scored on 15-yard run with 7:44 remaining in the second quarter. The one-play scoring drive was set up on a blocked punt by redshirt freshman free safety Cato June (Washington, D.C./Anacostia HS). On the scoring play, Thomas moved over 100 yards on the day (21 attempts for 104 yards and two touchdowns).
Indiana scored on its final two possessions of the first half to cut Michigan's lead to 17-10. The Hoosiers drove 80 and 90 yards on the two series, gaining a touchdown on a seven-yard pass from quarterback Antwaan Randle El to tight end Kris Dielman, and connecting on a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Andy Payne on the final play of the half.
The Michigan defense kept Indiana in check on its first two possessions of the second half. The Wolverines took over at their seven-yard line on the second series of the third quarter and proceeded to move into Hoosier territory. Michigan gained four first downs before the drive ended at the IU 41-yard line. Epstein punted to Indiana, which took over at the 25-yard line.
The Hoosiers pulled the game even with one-yard pass from Randle El to tailback Jeremi Johnson on fourth-and-goal with 13:30 remaining in the fourth quarter after the Wolverines had stopped three IU tries from the one-yard line). Indiana's 15-play drive covered 75 yards and took 6:26 off the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, Thomas had the ball stripped by John Anderson and recovered by Ron Bethel at the Michigan 10-yard line. Indiana gained its first lead of the day with 12:06 remaining as Randle El threw a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jerry Dorsey on third down. After a false start penalty to open the series, Randle El gained nine yards on first down and one yard on second down to set up the third-down play.
Michigan took possession at the 35-yard line after the Indiana kickoff went out of bounds. The Wolverines moved quickly down the field in four plays (65 yards and 1:12) for the tying points. Brady threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Bennie Joppru (Wayzata, Minn./Minnetonka HS). Brady completed all three passes on the drive, including a 43-yard pass play to sophomore wide receiver David Terrell (Richmond, Va./Huguenot HS) and a 16-yarder to Thomas.
The Michigan defense held on Indiana's next series and provided the offense possession at the U-M 34-yard line after the Hoosiers' punt. Thomas led the Wolverines down the field for the go-ahead touchdown and scored on a four-yard run with 6:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. The quick-strike scoring drive covered 66 yards in eight plays and consumed 2:32.
Indiana struck back quickly with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Randle El to Dorsey. The four-play, 80-yard scoring drive took 1:28.
The Wolverines took over at their 25-yard line after a 12-yard kickoff return by Terrell. Michigan moved down the field and scored the go-ahead points on a 20-yard field by Epstein. The 10-play drive that covered 72 yards took 4:41 and was aided by two penalties against Indiana.
Indiana got the ball back at its own 20-yard line with 18 seconds remaining, and the Hoosiers picked up two first downs to move the ball out to their 45 with 0:04 to play. On the final play of the game, Randle El heaved a pass into the end zone, but the Michigan defenders batted the ball away from Dorsey and the Wolverines escaped with the 34-31 victory.
Michigan returns home to face Northwestern next Saturday (Nov. 6) at Michigan Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPN Regional at 12:10 p.m. EST.
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423