BLOOMINGTON — With No. 13 Indiana throwing the ball all over the field in the first half against No. 23 Michigan, it appeared IU’s running game would take a backseat again.
But the Hoosiers generated tough yards on the ground when needed, finishing with a season-high 118 yards on 38 carries Saturday against the Wolverines. IU junior running back Stevie Scott III nearly posted his first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 24 carries for 97 yards and two TDs.
IU entered Saturday last in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 75 yards per game.
Scott credited IU’s improved offensive line play for generating the push to get tough yards to close out the game. IU rushed for 76 of its 118 yards in the second half.
“All week our offensive coordinator, Coach (Nick) Sheridan, was stressing to our linemen to straighten out their blocks and finish their blocks off,” Scott said. “Sometimes the guys would get frustrated, but all of the coaches were doing it to help us better ourselves so it could translate to a game.”
Scott rushed for both of his TDs in the second half and came through on a pair of fourth-and-1 runs in the second half. Indiana was able to control the ball for the final 5:05 as Scott rushed for all 20 yards on the drive.
“It definitely was a great feeling,” Scott said. “Everything I do is to help our team win … just getting the first downs to keep those chains moving so we could maintain the ball and time management, that was definitely vital. I feel like those things, we worked on in practice a lot and it translated to the game today.”
IU sophomore running back Sampson James also was effective spelling Scott on occasion with eight carries for 25 yards.
“Sampson is doing his job,” Scott said. “I feel like that one-two connection we were talking about all offseason is definitely going to come into play these next few weeks.”
MARSHALL BACK, ELLIS, KATIC BACK
IU sophomore Miles Marshall returned after sitting out last week on concussion protocol. Marshall scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and finished with three catches for 36 yards.
Sophomore running back David Ellis warmed up pregame but remained out with a lower leg injury. Starting left guard Mike Katic also was on IU’s inactive list this week and was replaced on the offensive line by Dylan Powell.
The rest of IU’s inactive list against Michigan included: defensive back Marcelino Ball, offensive lineman Kahlil Benson, tight end Sam Daugstrup, tight end Turon Ivy Jr., defensive lineman Shamar Jones, defensive back Raheem Layne, defensive back Samuel Slusher, tight end Khameron Taylor, wide receiver Cam Wilson and linebacker Ty Wise.
Indiana junior safety Jamar Johnson was ejected in the first quarter for throwing a punch at a Michigan player.
The Hoosiers adjusted on the back end of the secondary, playing Juwan Burgess and Devon Matthews in the back end of the defense.
On the play after Johnson was ejected, Michigan quarterback Joe Milton found receiver Cornelius Johnson on a 37-yard touchdown pass. But IU’s secondary was able to regroup and play at a high level the remainder of the game. Junior cornerback Reese Taylor was one of the players who stepped up in the secondary with seven tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack.
“After he got thrown out we had to buck up more, make sure that nobody was left behind, nobody felt short on our defense,” Taylor said. “We had to make sure everybody was on the same page.”
NO CAMO UNIS
Indiana was supposed to wear its “salute to service” camouflage uniforms against Michigan on Saturday afternoon in honor of Veterans Day. But after further consultation with the Big Ten Conference, it was determined the uniforms lacked contrast with Michigan uniforms. So instead, IU went with its traditional crimson tops and cream pants.
The Hoosiers did wear 1940s era IU logos on their helmets Saturday with helmet stripes with the names of the sailors who served on the USS Indiana.
CAMPBELL REMAINS PERFECT
IU sophomore kicker Charles Campbell connected on a career-high 52-yard field goal, putting the Hoosiers up 10-7 in the second quarter. The kick was tied for the sixth longest in IU history.
Campbell is 6-for-6 on field goal attempts and 8-for-8 for his career. He’s also been perfect on all 11 of his extra point attempts.
HEAT ON HARBAUGH
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took an upbeat tone following Saturday’s loss to Indiana. The entire ESPN GameDay crew predicted Michigan would rebound from its loss to Michigan State and pull off a road win against the Hoosiers. But instead, Michigan’s patchwork secondary was exposed again, allowing IU quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to pass for a career-high 342 yards and three TDs.
The loss dropped Michigan to 1-2 and further damaged any hopes of Harbaugh picking up his first Big Ten title in his sixth season with the Wolverines.
“We got to get there faster,” Harbaugh said. “As a coach, you are out there living every play with these guys, and you know they have it in them and just making that connection to doing it and trusting themselves. Trusting their abilities.”