The No. 17 Michigan Wolverines (4-1, 1-1) are coming off their first loss of the season courtesy of the No. 23 Michigan State Spartans. It’s the Wolverines’ first loss at home in nearly two years, with their last one coming on Nov. 28, 2015 against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The team will try to bounce back when they travel to face the Indiana Hoosiers in their upcoming game.
The maize and blue currently have a 21-game winning streak against the Hoosiers. However that streak has been challenged in recent years. In 2015, the Hoosiers forced double overtime before before falling an incomplete pass short of forcing a third. Last year, it took a career day from then-running back De’Veon Smith to put down Indiana.
This year, the Hoosiers will look to end the streak with an offense led by a a duo of quarterbacks; senior Richard Lagow and freshman Peyton Ramsay. Lagos is more of a pocket-passer, having thrown for 661 yards and four touchdowns. Ramsay is more of a mobile quarterback. Not only has he thrown for 637 yards and six touchdowns, but he’s also second on the team with 171 yards and two touchdowns on 48 carries.
Freshman Morgan Ellison handles most of the running duties for the Hoosiers. His 358 yards and two touchdowns on 69 carries all lead the team. Expect Cole Gest to get some touches as well. The freshman is third on the team with 153 yards rushing yards on 25 carries.
Junior Simmie Cobbs Jr. headlines a loaded receiving core that consists of five receivers with at least 110 yards. Cobbs Jr. leads them with 370 yards and three touchdowns on 33 receptions. Other hundred-yard receivers include tight end Ian Thomas (254 yards, 3 TD’s), Luke Timian (140 yards), Taysir Mack (129 yards, 2 TD’s) and Donovan Hale (116 yards, 1 TD). However, Thomas and Hale have been dealing with injuries as of late and might not be certain to play against Michigan.
Players to Watch
Every week a “Players to Watch” list is made and every week the Michigan starting quarterback, usually for the wrong reasons.
This time, it’s John O’Korn and this time its his forgettable performance against Michigan State that will make him one to watch.
O’Korn didn’t seem very similar to the quarterback that led the maize and blue to a 28-10 win against Purdue. Instead, he threw for just 198 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions against the Spartans. Granted, his offensive line didn’t help him out much either as they allowed the fifth-year senior to get sacked four times.
O’Korn not only needs to play much better against Indiana, but he needs to keep his composure even when the team around him isn’t necessarily doing their job, which seemed to happen too often in his last game. If he doesn’t improve soon, the Wolverines could find themselves looking for another quarterback to lead the offense.
The senior running back also had a forgettable day against Sparty, running for just nine yards on four carries and fumbling the ball away.
Even though he didn’t seem to get many touches, Isaac didn’t seem to do much with what he got, which could be a problem as the season goes on. Chris Evans and Karon Higdon are good running backs, but having a guy like Ty Isaac adds a new dimension to this offense that it’s going to need going forward, especially as the schedule gets harder and of John O’Korn can’t show consistency.
It night be hard to see any bright spots in Michigan’s loss, but Grant Perry’s five receptions for 61 yards, including a 17-yard catch that was just short of the goal-line.
It’ll be his job (along with others like Sean McKeon) to make John O’Korn’s job easier and given lots of open targets. If they can do that’ this offense may finally find its grove at the right time.
The game can be seen Saturday, Oct. 14 at 12 p.m. eastern on ABC.