Saturday, September 26, 2009
Forcier helps Michigan survive scare from IU
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Rich Rodriguez can breathe a bit easier. Bill Lynch looks like his head might explode.
Michigan survived a major scare from a relentless Indiana team, as Tate Forcier overcame some sloppiness to lead another clutch scoring drive in a 36-33 victory. Forcier looks like he's about 150 pounds, but he's pretty darn tough. His throwing shoulder still looked pretty sore on the final drive, but he made a great pass to Martavious Odoms for the game-winner.
Given how entertaining the game turned out to be, it would have been nice to see controversy stay out of the ending. Lynch seemed to have a legitimate beef about the simultaneous possession that resulted in a Michigan interception rather than an Indiana reception. I was surprised to see the officials rule an interception on the field because tie-ups usually go to the offensive player.
Indiana has nothing to feel bad about despite a heartbreaking loss. The Hoosiers displayed a balanced offense throughout the game, and redshirt freshman running back Darius Willis looks like the real deal (152 rush yards, 2 touchdowns). Tandon Doss emerged as a big-play threat, and Indiana repeatedly showed resolve in a tough environment. You have to think the Hoosiers will win a few more games than many had projected.
Michigan has some major repair work to do in the secondary, which looked dysfunctional for most of the game. The Wolverines missed safety Mike Williams, and cornerback Boubacar Cissoko struggled against the IU wideouts. Rodriguez has to be encouraged by Forcier's clutch play and another strong game from Carlos Brown, who might be the team's best running back, but the Wolverines clearly have some major issues on defense. David Moosman also had a tough day in replacing David Molk at center.
Michigan exceeds its wins total from 2008 with a 4-0 start, while Indiana fails to notch its first win in Ann Arbor since 1967.