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(Saturday, September 26th)
Final Score: (23) Michigan 36, Indiana 33
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Tate Forcier ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown and threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Martavious Odoms with 2:29 remaining to lift 23rd-ranked Michigan to a thrilling 36-33 victory over Indiana in the Big Ten opener for both schools at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan trailed 33-29 with just over 5 1/2 minutes to play, but started a drive from its own 48 after an Indiana punt. Forcier converted 3rd-and-4 with a gutty five-yard run to keep the series alive early, but had to leave the game after taking a hit.
Denard Robinson, who lost a fumble earlier in the game, took over behind center for a few plays and the Wolverines kept the ball on the ground. A pair of carries apiece from Robinson and Brandon Minor moved the ball to the 26 and Forcier entered for 3rd-and-7. He spotted Odoms just behind the secondary and threw a perfect pass to the receiver for the go-ahead score.
Indiana still had time and a pass from Ben Chappell on the first play after the kickoff appeared to have been caught, but Donovan Warren wrestled the ball out of the receiver's hands for an interception. The Hoosiers claimed simultaneous possession, which would have allowed them to keep the ball, but a video review confirmed the ruling on the field, and Michigan was able to run out the remaining 2:06 to claim its 16th straight win over Indiana.
"It was a tough battle, and we did not play well at times," said Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. "They had something to do with that. They have a good team, and they played pretty well. We had a lot of unforced errors too, but we got the win."
Forcier completed 11-of-21 passes for 184 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, while Carlos Brown ran for 85 yards with a score and caught a TD pass in the victory. Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) has won 31 of the last 32 meetings against Indiana, with the lone loss in that span a 14-10 road setback in 1987.
Indiana (3-1, 0-1), which opened the season with victories over Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan and Akron, was trying for its sixth 4-0 start in school history and first since 1990. The Hoosiers have also lost 16 straight at Michigan Stadium since a 27-20 triumph in 1967.
"It was a great football game. I feel bad for our guys in the locker room because they played their hearts out, and we came up a play short somehow," said Hoosiers coach Bill Lynch. "There were so many plays in the game that it's hard to put your finger on it and say THAT was the key play. They came here to win a football game and they competed that way the entire game and I'm very proud of them."
Darius Willis ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries for Indiana, while Chappell threw for 270 yards on 21-of-38 passing in defeat. Tandon Doss hauled in five passes for 104 yards and also ran for 41 yards with a touchdown.
Indiana carried a 23-21 lead to the second half and extended that advantage to five points when Nick Freeland kicked a 32-yard field goal to cap a 12-play, 72-yard drive with just over 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Hoosiers had a chance to add to that lead in the first minute of the fourth, but Freeland missed a 42-yard try.
Michigan, which mustered a mere two yards on 12 plays in the third quarter, then responded with a 75-yard drive for the go-ahead score. Forcier converted a trio of third downs on the 13-play set, scoring on a seven-yard run with a dive at the goal line. A penalty on the two-point try pushed the ball back to the eight, but Forcier still reached the end zone on a quarterback draw to give the Wolverines a 29-26 lead with 9:15 remaining.
Indiana needed just one play to back in front, as Willis followed a lead block through the left side of the porous Michigan front and raced 85 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
The Hoosiers piled up 467 total yards, while Michigan finished with 372. The Wolverines, though, were more efficient on third downs, converting 9-of-17 to Indiana's 3-of-15.
Indiana took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. After the Hoosiers converted 4th-and-2 with a short pass, Doss took an option pitch on the next play and sprinted 25 yards for a touchdown.
It took Michigan just 23 seconds and two plays to answer. A first-down pass fell incomplete, but Brown caught a short toss from Forcier and turned it into a 61-yard touchdown.
The Wolverines got the ball right back after an Indiana punt and struck quickly again. On the fifth play of the series, Brown raced down the sideline for a 41-yard score.
A 60-yard kickoff return by Ray Fisher put Indiana into Michigan territory, but the Hoosiers went backward from there and again punted it away. However, the Wolverines sent it back with a punt after a three-and-out, and Indiana used a big play to set up a tying touchdown.
Chappell hit Doss with a 56-yard pass on the first play after the punt to give the Hoosiers a first down at the Michigan 11, and Willis took it into the end zone on the next play to make it 14-14 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
Indiana moved in front midway through the second when Freeland drilled a 24- yard field goal, and a Forcier flip while scrambling resulted in an interception by Nicholas Sliger at the Michigan 29 on the next series for the Wolverines. The Hoosiers were unable to take full advantage of the turnover and Freeland booted a 20-yard field goal for a 20-14 edge with 5:43 to play in the half.
Michigan appeared set to go three-and-out on the ensuing series after a snap went through the legs of Robinson on third down, but Indiana was offside on the play and the Wolverines took full advantage. Robinson hit Kevin Koger for 36 yards on the next third down and Minor soon after scored on a 12-yard run to give Michigan a 21-20 edge just 2:49 before the break.
The Wolverines got the ball back after an Indiana punt but quickly gave it right back as Robinson fumbled. The Hoosiers took over at the Michigan 21, but a holding call pushed the ball back 10 yards and Indiana had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Freeland to head to the locker room with a 23-21 edge.
Michigan leads the all-time series 51-9 and owns a record of 29-5 against the Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium...The Wolverines have won four straight conference openers and 27 of their last 28 Big Ten lid-lifters...Michigan improved to 11-1 against Indiana when the Hoosiers are the Homecoming opponent...Michigan will head to the road for the first time this season next Saturday to face Michigan State...Indiana will open its home conference slate next week against Ohio State.
09/26 17:19:59 ET