Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five Things To Take Away From Michigan's 34-10 Win Over Indiana

                                                     Photo Credit: Tony Ding/AP Photo

Behind a breathtaking performance by Drake Johnson, Michigan (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten East) defeated Indiana (3-5, 0-4 Big Ten East) 34-10 on homecoming at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday.
Here are five things to take away from Saturday’s game:
1) U-M’s rush defense:
Despite allowing Indiana’s Tevin Coleman to run for 108 yards on 27 carries, Michigan’s defense showed up when it mattered the most— on third down. Third down stops have been one of its many weaknesses this season and were able to exercise some of those demons against the Hoosiers.
U-M’s defense held Indiana 3-of-13 on third down attempts and it showed in the individual stats.
Zander Diamont gained more yards rushing (60) than he did passing (24), which can be credited to defenders such as Jake Ryan and Joe Bolden with 11 and nine tackles, respectively.
2) Drake Johnson’s breakout performance:
After sitting out last season with a torn ACL, Johnson waited his turn and on a cold and blustery Saturday, the ingredients came together for a masterpiece that even Picasso would be proud of.
After De’Veon Smith came out of the game in third quarter with an apparent ankle injury, Johnson’s number was called and ran with the opportunity.
Johnson finished with 123 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Coach Brady Hoke liked what he saw out of the redshirt sophomore.
“I was very happy with [Drake’s] performance,” Hoke said. “We’re really excited with what he did.”
While most players might brag about a great performance, Johnson did a complete 180 and put the team over himself.
“I’m not so much concerned with me having a good game, but more about Michigan winning the game,” Johnson said. “If I had 5,000 rushing yards and we lost the game, then it doesn’t the matter. I would much rather have us win than anything else.”
3) The Emergence Of Amara Darboh:
Another soft spot all season for Michigan has been its inability for someone other than Devin Funchess to step up in the receiving core.
In the ninth game of the season, that question might have been answered in the form of Amara Darboh. Darboh finished with career highs in receptions (nine) and yards (107), along with a touchdown at the 7:18 mark in the second quarter.
4) Devin Gardner:
While not his best performance career-wise, Gardner put together a quality performance as he completed 22-of-29 passes for a season-high 220 yards and threw for two touchdowns and an interception.
Despite Gardner battling numerous leg injuries this season, Hoke likes how he has been able to cut down on making mistakes with the football.
“I think he’s getting better every week from the injury,” Hoke said. “I think [Devin’s] a little more cautious when he has the ball.”
5) The Streak:
With Saturday’s win, Michigan increases its streak against Indiana to 19 and 34 out of the last 35.
The Wolverines’ 19-game winning streak against is currently second in the Big Ten.
Looking Ahead:
On Nov. 8, Michigan travels to play Northwestern for the second straight season in Evanston, Ill., while Indiana hosts Maryland.
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Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.