12:00 PM ET, September 26, 2009
Michigan Stadium, ANN ARBOR, MI
Late Forcier TD, Warren key interception seal victory for Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Tate Forcier seemed to have no trouble shrugging off an injured shoulder to throw another game-winning touchdown pass.
What really hurt was the celebration.
• For the second time in the last three weeks, true freshman Tate Forcier led a late drive to give Michigan the victory.
• Michigan improved to 4-0, extending its win streak over Indiana to 16 games.
• With the win, Rich Rodriguez narrowly avoided losing his sixth home game to an unranked opponent, which would have been one more than Lloyd Carr lost in his 13 seasons at Michigan.
• The Wolverines have won 24 straight conference home openers. The Hoosiers loss extended their losing streak in Big Ten openers to nine games.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
After Forcier threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Martavious Odoms with 2:29 left to give the 23rd-ranked Wolverines a 36-33 win over Indiana on Saturday, he got a congratulatory slap on the right shoulder.
Forcier winced and twisted his body away, but by then, Michigan wouldn't need him to do anything more than kneel the ball after Donovan Warren's interception on Indiana's next snap let Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) seal its fourth straight win
"It's a bruised shoulder," Forcier said, not specifying which one was hurt. "We'll take a look at it and see what we have and we'll go from there."
The freshman quarterback led another fourth-quarter touchdown drive two weeks after his pass with 11 seconds left beat then-No. 18 Notre Dame.
Red Means Stop
Indiana outgained Michigan and made more trips into the red zone. However, the Hoosiers scored one touchdown on four trips inside the Wolverines' 20-yard line, but Michigan converted on both red-zone visits. That could be why the Hoosiers left the Big House searching for their first win over the Maize and Blue since 1987.
He actually led two on Saturday, leaping for a go-ahead TD and a 2-point conversion to put Michigan ahead 29-26 with 9 minutes left. But Indiana immediately answered with Darius Willis' 85-yard touchdown run to go back on top.
So Forcier had to do it again. He was hurt on the pivotal possession, but came back in time to connect with Odoms in the end zone on 3rd-and-7.
"We had a play called and checked into a different play," Odoms said.
The hookup prevented Indiana from winning in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1967 -- before Bo Schembechler coached Michigan.
"We both rolled over on the ground and I outtugged him for it," Warren said. "I just read the route, broke on the ball, read the quarterback's eyes and made the play."
Instead, the Wolverines are 4-0 and rapidly putting the memories of last season's dismal 3-9 effort behind them -- though there were a few moments that resembled 2008.
Rich Rodriguez said earlier in the week he'd like the Wolverines to be good enough to play poorly and still win. He got his wish.
The Hoosiers (3-1, 0-1) had four go-ahead scores -- including with 8:57 left on Willis' long run -- and easily outgained Michigan with 467 yards of offense.
"I thought about what a big win this would have been for our football team," coach Bill Lynch said.
Forcier had one costly mistake, throwing an interception on an ill-advised pass after doing a 360-degree spin in the pocket. Fellow freshman quarterback Denard Robinson was stripped of the ball late in the second quarter, leading to a field goal that sent Indiana into halftime up 23-21.
Settling for field goals was costly for Indiana.
Nick Freeland tied a school record with four of them, but was wide left on a 42-yard kick early in the fourth quarter.
"That's the big difference," Lynch said. "But you've got to give Michigan's defense some credit, they loaded up and kept us out of the end zone."
After running for 69 yards in his first two games, Willis had 152 yards rushing and a score on 16 carries. Tandon Doss had five catches for 104 yards and Chappell was 21 of 38 for 270 yards.
Carlos Brown turned one of Forcier's short passes into a 61-yard score -- a week after he ran for a 90-yard TD -- and had a 41-yard score on the ground against Indiana. Brandon Minor had 50 yards rushing and a TD, and converted a third down with a run to allow Michigan to drain the clock.
That sealed the Wolverines' perfect record heading into their first road game against Michigan State (1-3, 0-1), which is desperately hoping to salvage some pride in what has been a disappointing season.
"I'm leery of a rivalry game -- every time," said Rodriguez, who lost to the Spartans at home last year. "It doesn't matter the records, it doesn't matter the venue, it's going to be intense."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Michigan followed a touchdown in the final minutes by intercepting Ben Chappell on the next play.
Gameball goes to... Tate Forcier. Michigan's freshman quarterback stepped up in the fourth, rushing for one score and throwing the winning pass.
Stat of the game... 3. Michigan rushed the ball 50 times for 149 yards and averaged 3 yards a carry, 4 yards fewer than it averages.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-15||9-17|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|TD||09:15||Tandon Doss 25 Yd Run (Nick Freeland Kick)||7||0|
|TD||08:52||Carlos Brown 61 Yd Pass From Tate Forcier (Jason Olesnavage Kick)||7||7|
|TD||06:22||Carlos Brown 41 Yd Run (Jason Olesnavage Kick)||7||14|
|TD||02:44||Darius Willis 11 Yd Run (Nick Freeland Kick)||14||14|
|FG||08:53||Nick Freeland 24 Yd||17||14|
|FG||05:43||Nick Freeland 20 Yd||20||14|
|TD||02:49||Brandon Minor 12 Yd Run (Jason Olesnavage Kick)||20||21|
|FG||00:16||Nick Freeland 30 Yd||23||21|
|FG||05:35||Nick Freeland 32 Yd||26||21|
|TD||09:15||Tate Forcier 7 Yd Run (Tate Forcier Run For Two-Point Conversion)||26||29|
|TD||08:57||Darius Willis 85 Yd Run (Nick Freeland Kick)||33||29|
|TD||02:29||Martavious Odoms 26 Yd Pass From Tate Forcier (Jason Olesnavage Kick)||33||36|