Michigan came into their game against Indiana on Saturday as a 22-point favorite. Although they would win by 21, the final score doesn't reflect how the majority of the game played out.
It was a rough day for the Maize and Blue -- to say the least -- but their issues weren't limited to just the on-field play.
The Hart of the Team
Early in the first half, as the Fox broadcast was returning from a commercial break, announcers Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt announced there was a Michigan coach down on the sideline. We would learn that it was former Michigan star running back, and current running back coach, Mike Hart. The good news is that as he was stretchered off the field in a cart and he appeared to be alert and responsive to the well wishes coming from both his own and the opposing sidelines. He's almost as well-liked and respected in Bloomington as he is in Ann Arbor, which makes sense since he served as the running back coach for the Hoosiers from 2017-2020. The Fox broadcast team revealed at halftime that Hart had suffered a seizure and was being evaluated at a nearby hospital.
Hugs on the @UMichFootball sideline after RB coach Mike Hart was carted off the field ? pic.twitter.com/eZgKYDIk8N
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 8, 2022
Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards were visibly shaken up after their mentor suddenly went down with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter. If you've never watched someone having a seizure it can be very startling, especially when you may have never seen anything like it before. This incident was similar to what many witnessed a few weeks ago when Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa took a particularly hard hit.
After Corum's 51-yard touchdown run to start the game, the offense stalled and the sideline was rightfully shaken by what they had just witnessed. While it might be easy to blame that incident for the Wolverines' stunted performance there were many other issues at play.
To their credit, the Hoosiers had Michigan's run game completely figured out -- for the most part. Up until the fourth quarter they provided smothering downhill play to effectively shut down the Wolverines' play action options. They also delivered J.J. McCarthy his first turnover of the season and kept the game either tied or within seven points for three quarters.
It didn't prove quite enough though as the Wolverines eventually let McCarthy loose to throw downfield, exploiting the secondary and showing off his arm strength. He would finish the day 28-36 with 304 yards and three TD's.
Jim Harbaugh said part of Michigan's adjustments at halftime came down to "putting the ball in JJ's hands."
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) October 8, 2022
The Michigan Men
McCarthy wasn't the only standout today, nor has he been, so far this season for Michigan. Wide Receiver Ronnie Bell is rounding into mid-season form after his return from an ACL injury that kept him out last year. Tight End Luke Schoonmaker is also becoming a favorite of McCarthy, and Andrel Anthony looks as if he will continue to be a surprise receiving threat. Oh yeah, and let's not forget about Blake Corum, who is doing his best to become a Heisman favorite.
On the other side of the ball, it appears that a pass rush that lost the likes of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo hasn't lost much else. They combined for seven sacks on the day on Indiana QB Connor Bazelak. The biggest story for the Michigan defense is the conversion of Mike Sainristil from WR to DB. The guy looks like he's been playing the position his whole life -- not just a year. His speed and receiving skills are going to prove to be big weapons going forward.
Needless to say, Michigan is going to need all of these playmakers to step up as they welcome rival Penn State next week. The Nittany Lions will be coming off a bye week, having had lots of time to study how effectively the Hoosiers held back the Wolverines today.
Michigan is about to get into the meat and potatoes of their schedule, and if they look to make a run back to the College Football Playoff they need to get back to the complementary and disciplined football that has them sitting at No. 4 in the country. And hopefully, they get Mike Hart back on the sideline soon as well.
JJ McCarthy says the team is going to give Mike Hart the game ball. Said Blake Corum should be delivering it to him soon.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) October 8, 2022
MORE: Where Does Jim Harbaugh's Legacy Fit in Michigan's Football Coaching History?
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