Once again, as all of you well know, the theme of this history recap is that there isn't much in the way of positive history for Indiana football. This time we're at least looking at a program that is perceived as a powerhouse over the last century. No one doubts that Michigan has been very good for a very long time, so it is a little easier to digest that a team that has been very bad for a very long time just doesn't have a very good record against them. For those who are counting Michigan leads the series 52-9.
Much like our battles with Penn State, Indiana can get another monkey off their back this season by defeating Michigan. The Hoosiers haven't logged a victory over Michigan since 1987. That's 17 straight losses. Just enough to eek out the most consecutive wins against Indiana trophy over Penn State. Here's a fun fact at how bad Indiana has been against Michigan. Go back to Indiana's first meeting with the Wolverines in 1900 now fast forward 16 games to 1948. How many points did Indiana score in that stretch? 59, or roughly 4 points a game. That includes 11 shutouts. Surprisingly in the first 16 games of the series, when Indiana scored points they won 4 of the 5 games.
After 1948 Indiana had a "successful" run where they notched 4 more wins over the next 20 years. If you're keeping track and doing the math that is 8 wins and we already know Indiana only has 9 total. The last coming in 1987. That means, since 1967 Indiana has beaten Michigan once. Yep, it has been very bad for the Hoosiers going up against the Wolverines. But wait! There is hope!
Indiana last played Michigan in 2009 and 2010 and if anyone remembers those years, they'll remember quite well how close they were. Indiana in each game had the game at least tied in the fourth quarter if not the outright lead. In 2009, the Hoosiers were on the cusp of the upset in a shootout that saw a combined 840 yards of offense from the two squads.
Tandon Doss put up 145 all purpose yards on 5 receptions and 3 rushes, while Ben Chappell was his normal gun slinging self. But most impressive in that game was probably the rushing offense. Darius Willis had a career day against Michigan by scrambling for 152 yards on 16 carries. This includes an 85 yard sprint from scrimmage in the fourth quarter to put Indiana on top by a score of 33-29. Inevitably the Hoosiers finished the night disappointed as Tate Forcier completed a touchdown pass and 2 point conversion with 2:30 left in the game to take a three point lead. Ben Chappell then stepped onto the field to attempt to lead a game winning drive and the biggest win in Indiana football in quite some time. Instead he took his first snap on the drive and threw it right into the hands of the defense. Game over.
2010 was just as much a disappointment in the sense of we had the game in our hands and let it slip away. This time it was at the mercy of Denard Robinson. This actually was a lot like the Navy game of this year. The offense looked quite good, again in the hands of Ben Chappell, but the defense couldn't do anything to shut down Robinson. On the second play of the game, Robinson scampered for 72 yards and Michigan's first score. Denard ended up carrying the ball 19 times for 217 yards. He also threw for 277.
The sold out Memorial Stadium got themselves a show though. Chappell went toe to toe with Robinson by throwing for nearly 500 yards with Tandon Doss grabbing 221 of those. You may be shocked to hear this, but Indiana also played a ball control offense. The Hoosiers had 35 first downs to Michigan's 15 and played nearly 24 more minutes of offense than Michigan did. Although that says a lot about how bad the defense was at stopping the big play. It ultimately cost Indiana.
With the game tied at 35 all and 1:15 remaining before overtime Michigan strung together several big plays to go the 73 yards for Robinson to punch it in with just a few seconds to go. The Hoosiers second straight bid at an upset was upset.
So that is where we stand. No win in the match-up since the late 80s, but much like Penn State and to a lesser extent Michigan State, Indiana is very much a threat to throw a wrinkle into things. I'm not sure you can say to expect an upset, but I don't think anyone would be shocked by one after Penn State was able to topple Michigan in Happy Valley last week. Check back later in the week for the preview of this Saturday.