Indiana suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines, losing 39-14 on Saturday to fall to 7-4 on the season.
Here are our five key takeaways from the game.
No Nail-biter this time
There were many reasons to think this game would be closer than it was.
The previous three times Indiana and Michigan faced off in Bloomington each game was decided by a single-score margin.
The last two of those games went to overtime, including a double-OT game in 2015.
And with the Hoosiers coming off a strong performance against ninth-ranked Penn State on the road last week, there seemed to be a strong sense this game could be a classic.
Sadly for the Hoosiers, the Wolverines left Memorial Stadium feeling confident with a convincing 39-14 victory.
Indiana came out looking strong, scoring on its opening drive for the sixth game in a row, posting an early 7-0 lead.
Michigan answered right back, getting a tying TD set up by big plays in the air, setting a basic tone for the balance of the ballgame. The Wolverines prospered via the pass.
The teams went back-and-forth, with Michigan taking a seven-point lead going into halftime, 21-14.
From the second half on it was all Michigan, as the Wolverines outscored the Hoosiers 18-0 in the third quarter.
This was Michigan’s biggest win over Indiana since their 34-3 victory in 2006.
Burn Unit: Indiana’s secondary scorched
The key to Michigan’s high scoring output came from their ability to execute big plays through the air.
The Wolverines had a field day with the Hoosier’s secondary, producing six passing plays that went for longer than 20 yards, the longest being a 76-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Nico Collins on which IU safety Juwan Burgess seemed to take a bad angle.
“We play a fair amount of man and those guys have to win those one-on-ones,” Coach Tom Allen said regarding Indiana’s pass coverage. “We didn’t win very many of those and that, to me, was the biggest frustration … got to win those.”
Collins led UM’s strong receiving corps with six catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow junior wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones turned in a stellar game too, finishing with five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson had a memorable game as he reached 5,000 passing yards on his career, finishing the with 20 of 32 passing attempts for 366 yards, and five touchdowns to just one interception.
Snow down, slow down
As the second half got under way, snow began to fall in Bloomington.
And as the snow fell, Indiana’s offense ground to a halt.
Michigan managed to shut Indiana out in the second half, only allowing the Hoosier offense into the red zone once.
Indiana managed to almost match their total yards amount in the first half, but the biggest difference proved to be the Hoosiers’ lack of execution.
“Just stalled a play here, a play there.” IU QB Peyton Ramsey said. “Plays where one guys, two guys weren’t able to execute and that made all the difference.”
While the Indiana offense couldn’t get anything going, the Hoosier defense struggled to make necessary plays, giving up 18 points and 166 total yards in the third quarter alone.
“Surprised.” Indiana senior linebacker Reakwon Jones said when asked how he felt about the final result. “The lack of execution we had. We didn’t win enough one-on-one matchups…There’s nothing that they did, it’s what we didn’t do. We didn’t execute when we needed to.”
Not the right senior send-off
Amid a potential signature season for Indiana football, the Hoosier seniors looked to have their final game in Memorial Stadium be a historic victory, cementing their legacy by beating Michigan for the first time in 32 years.
Indiana’s seniors instead were forced to deal with a 25-point beat down at the hands of the Wolverines.
“It hurt. It hurt bad.” Jones said. “Played my last game at Memorial Stadium. It didn’t go how I thought it was going to go.”
As much as the loss hurt for the senior class, the underclassmen felt the sting as well, hoping to send off their seniors with a win.
“There’s a lot of seniors I’m close with.” Ramsey said. “This isn’t what they deserved.”
Moving on to Bucket Week
There is only one game left in the 2019 regular season, but it is arguably the biggest game of the year.
Next Saturday, Nov. 30, the Hoosiers will travel to West Lafayette, Ind. at Ross-Ade Stadium where they will meet archrival Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket.
It will be the 95th time the two sides will play for the bucket and the 122nd meeting overall.
Purdue leads the all-time series 74-41-6 and has won the Bucket 60 times to Indiana’s 31.
Coming off back-to-back defeats, the Hoosiers are already looking forward to next week.
“We all understand what’s next.” Allen said. “We got a chance to get our 8th win of the season and we got a chance to win the Bucket back.”
“It’s the biggest game of the season.” Jones added. “One, because it’s the next game, and two, it’s Purdue. It’s for the Bucket, which they’ve had for the past two years. It belongs here. We want it back.”
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