With Indiana trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, there was a glimmer of hope in front of 109,890 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
True freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley led a 10-play, 75 yard touchdown drive to pull IU to within 10-7 in the second quarter when walk-on running back Chris Childers plunged in from one-yard out.
But Michigan responded immediately with a 4-play, 75 yard drive, highlighted by a 62-yard scamper by Hassan Haskins to give the ten point margin right back to the Wolverines.
“That was a crucial part of the game,” linebacker Micah McFadden said. “It’s just one guy (not) making his play on that long run.”
With an offense that was only able to produce 195 yards on the night, one double-digit margin was all the Hoosiers could threaten. Michigan pulled away by a final score of 29-7.
McCulley threw for 41 yards on the scoring drive and ran for another 27, but on the night he was just 10-of-24 for 88 yards passing to go with 37 rushing yards. He was under constant pressure and sacked twice and hit nine additional times.
“I’ve just got to find a way to get comfortable (under pressure),” McCulley said. “I didn’t have that tonight.”
After a 35-point performance last weekend at Maryland, the Hoosiers punted eight times and were shut out in the second half.
“Just to be able to play complimentary football, where the offense and defense are working off of each other, that hasn’t been the case for us this season, it’s been a real struggle for us to do that.”
Indiana dropped to 2-7 on the season overall and 0-6 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers will return home to face Rutgers next Saturday.
With the loss, the Hoosiers will not be eligible to play in a bowl game for the first time since 2018.
“It’s not the season we anticipated or wanted,” Allen said.
The loss was Indiana’s fifth straight on the season.
See also: Tom Allen post-game Q&A
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”