Michigan Overcomes Defensive Ineptness

By Derek Helling
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines played their worst game of the season defensively today. However, the Indiana Hoosiers bested them in a contest of defensive putrescence and the Wolverines remained unbeaten at home in the Brady Hoke era, winning the game 63-47.

Michigan allowed those 48 points as a result of 572 total yards allowed, 410 of which came from the arms of Indiana quarterbacks Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfield. The Hoosiers also ran for 162 yards on 33 carries. The total yards and points allowed were both season highs for the Wolverines, who last week in a four-overtime loss at Penn State gave up 40 points, and against Notre Dame allowed 410 yards of offense as previous worsts.

The lone bright spot for Michigan on defense, overshadowed by the overall ineptitude, was safety Thomas Gordon picking off both Roberson and Sudfield. Other than that, it took a record offensive performance to make up for what the Wolverines lacked in defense today.

Devin Gardner accounted for 584 total yards of offense (21-of-29 for 503 passing, 84 rushing on 15 attempts) and five touchdowns (two passing, three rushing). The yardage is a new University of Michigan record. The vast majority of Gardner’s yards through the air went to wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, who set a new single-game record for receiving yards with 369 on 14 catches. Gallon also caught both of Gardner’s touchdown passes.

The 751 yards of offense that the Wolverines recorded is also a new Michigan single-game record. The Hoosier defense today was so bad that Michigan averaged 17.3 yards every time they dropped back to pass. Indiana was so bad on defense today that they recovered two Wolverine fumbles and still managed to allow nine touchdowns to be scored on them.

Michigan fans could get excited about the new records, but the reality of the situation should be sobering. It took those record performances to overcome how bad the Michigan defense was at home today. The Wolverines scored nine touchdowns and only won by 16. The fact that the Indiana defense was as putrid as it was is largely responsible for those records being set. Facing another defense of equal inefficiency isn’t going to happen this season.

The Wolverines have surrendered 87 points in their last two games. If they want to have any shot at a BCS bowl in January, the defense must improve.

Derek Helling is a writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+.

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