There have been blowouts, heartbreaking losses and everything in between, but for 33 years and 24 straight games Indiana couldn’t find a way against Michigan.
That changed emphatically on Saturday on a picture perfect day in Bloomington.
And more than just the weather was ideal on this memorable afternoon for the Hoosiers.
No. 13 Indiana jumped out to a 24-7 2nd quarter lead and maintained the margin throughout most of the second half for a convincing 38-21 win over the Wolverines.
No. 23 Michigan pulled to within 31-21 and had the ball midway through the 4th quarter, but IU cornerback Jaylin Williams stepped in front of a Michigan pass and set up a Hoosier touchdown drive.
An interception by Devon Matthews later in the quarter iced the game for the Hoosiers.
Head coach Tom Allen ran down the sideline and tackled Matthews after the interception.
“I knew that was the final dagger, so I had to hunt him down and celebrate with him, Allen said of the moment. “Unfortunately I caught his helmet on my cheekbone.”
Forgive @CoachAllenIU for being a bit over-eager. 😂
Can confirm no Targeting was called: pic.twitter.com/H7VbGGaAS9
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 7, 2020
Allen’s enthusiasm was fueled in part by a defense that continues to make big plays. Matthews delivered Indiana’s (3-0) seventh interception on the season.
“The takeaways continue to be massive,” Allen said. “I’m so proud of (defensive coordinator) Coach Wommack and our defense and the job that they did.”
Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., Indiana amassed 460 total yards on offense.
Penix set career marks with 50 passing attempts and 342 yards, completing 30 of his throws. Whop Philyor had 11 catches for 79 yards, while Ty Fryfogle snared 7 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown.
It was a career high in receiving yards for Fryfogle.
“He’s special,” Allen said of Fryfogle. “He’s big, he’s dependable, he’s physical. We had to throw the ball down the field to win.”
Fryfogle saw his big day coming in practice.
“It just started in practice. We had great practices this week,” Fryfogle said. “We had good chemistry with the wideouts and quarterbacks. I just feel like I had a lot of people depending on me to make plays, all the coaches depending on me and I think I did a great job today. But everybody played their part and opened up the passing game.”
Indiana also ran 38 times for 118 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.
Michigan had just 111 yards and 6 first downs at halftime as IU took their 24-7 lead into the locker rooms. Michigan never led in the game after Indiana scored on its opening drive.
The Wolverine offense picked up the pace in the second half with two scoring drives. But Indiana’s offense answered on each ensuing drive, and the defense made the two critical second half interceptions to hold Michigan off.
“It was a team effort for sure. It was a physical, dominating, convincing win over Michigan,” Allen said.
The win marked Indiana’s first 3-0 start in the Big Ten since 1988. The Hoosiers maintained their spot in first place in the East Division and now own early season wins over conference powers Penn State and Michigan. It is the first time that Indiana defeated both of those teams in the same season.
NOTES AND NUMBERS:
Stevie Scott carried 24 times for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Reese Taylor led IU with 7 tackles including a sack. The Hoosiers had 3 sacks while Michigan had none for the day.
Kicker Charles Campbell made a career best 53 yard field goal. He is still a perfect 8-for-8 for his career.
The Hoosiers are now 16-of-16 in the red zone on the season after a 4-for-4 performance on Saturday. IU is plus six for the season on turnover margin.
Safety Jamar Johnson was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.
Indiana last defeated Michigan on October 24, 1987.
Indiana (3-0) will travel to East Lansing next Saturday for a noon kickoff with Michigan State.
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