No. 13 Indiana finally finds way to beat No. 23 Michigan
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — After the postgame party was over, after Indiana fans chanted “We want Bama!” and coach Tom Allen went crowd-surfing in the Hoosiers’ locker room once again, Michael Penix Jr. started looking ahead.
Penix and company want more — much more.
Penix passed for 342 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and No. 13 Indiana beat No. 23 Michigan 38-21 on Saturday for its first victory against the Wolverines in 33 years.
“When we play a great team like that, we have to make sure we play great football. We did that,” he said. “But it’s just the beginning because we still have some more games to follow up on.”
With a chunk play here, a free play there and a few dinks and dunks thrown in to keep drives alive, Penix helped Indiana snap a 24-game losing streak in the series — tied for the longest active skid in the Football Bowl Subdivision. It was the Hoosiers’ first win against the Wolverines since Oct. 24, 1987, just their second in 41 games and only the second in the 21 games played at Memorial Stadium.
“I was a senior in high school the last time we beat Michigan and I’m 50 years old, so that’s not something that happened yesterday,” a hoarse Allen said. “I remember sitting here a few years ago when we lost in overtime to Michigan and that one hurt. I was just determined we were going to get this done.”
The Hoosiers (3-0) earned their fourth consecutive Big Ten win. If they match the school record next week at Michigan State, it could set up a showdown between the East Division’s only unbeaten teams Nov. 21 at No. 3 Ohio State.
Joe Milton threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns, but Michigan (1-2) dropped its second straight game — turning up the pressure on coach Jim Harbaugh in his sixth season at the school. The Wolverines don’t have a top-15 road win since beating Notre Dame in 2006.
“I’m still very excited,” Milton said. “As I have said multiple times, I love this team. Very talented. They play extremely hard.”
They just made too many mistakes — and the Hoosiers took full advantage.
Indiana’s Stevie Scott III ran for 97 yards and two second-half scores. Ty Fryfogle caught seven passes for a career-best 142 yards — all in the first half — and Whop Philyor finished with 11 receptions for 79 yards. The defense allowed only 13 yards rushing while forcing two turnovers, and Charles Campbell kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal.
Allen challenged his players with a physical practice Wednesday and they responded on game day. Penix was 30 of 50, helping Indiana convert nine of 16 third downs.
Defensively, the Hoosiers also took charge. They forced Michigan into three-and-outs on three of its first four series and only allowed the Wolverines to take five snaps in Indiana territory through the first three quarters.
Then, just when it appeared the Wolverines might rally as they’ve done so many times previously, Jaylin Williams undercut Milton’s pass and returned the interception 36 yards to set up Scott’s second TD run for the final score.
Michigan: The Wolverines’ mistake-prone defense couldn’t get off the field, and the offense couldn’t get in sync until they were down three scores. This season’s turnover-free streak ended and starting defensive end Aidan Hutchinson left in the first quarter with an injury.
Indiana: The Hoosiers answered some questions about their ability to contend for a division title or conference championship. The defense has played well all three weeks and on Saturday, the offense was finally in rhythm all four quarters. They’ve won eight of their last 10 league games.
Michigan: One poor defensive performance nearly sent the Wolverines tumbling out of the rankings. Another one probably will.
Indiana: After beating their first top-10 foe in 33 years, the Hoosiers made their second Top 25 appearance since 1994. After winning at Rutgers last week, the Hoosiers cracked the top 15 for the first time since 1987. Now, after blowing out Michigan, Indiana could be headed toward its first top-10 ranking since September 1969.
Michigan: Is scheduled to host No. 10 Wisconsin next Saturday but the Badgers have had their last two games canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Indiana: Will try to build on the momentum next Saturday at Michigan State.