ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan was lifeless after its
deflating loss at Oregon. Playing against Indiana, it didn't matter
for the Wolverines.
Michigan receiver Steve Breaston (15) eludes Indiana's Aaron Halterman (87) for a 69-yard touchdown on a punt return in the first quarter.
Steve Breaston scored touchdowns on a punt return and a
reception as Michigan (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) beat the Hoosiers 31-17 Saturday.
"I don't think we were entirely focused on the game," said
Chris Perry, whose 112 yards rushing were tainted by two fumbles.
"I don't think it was a hangover from the loss, but I don't know
what it was."
Despite four turnovers, the Wolverines (4-1) led 31-3 late in
the fourth quarter. But they gave up two touchdowns in the final
4:16 against the Hoosiers (1-4) in the Big Ten opener for both
Michigan won its 22nd consecutive Big Ten opener and has beaten
Indiana in 12 straight and 27 of 28 meetings.
The Hoosiers had lost their three previous games by an average
of 22 points and were 35-point underdogs at Michigan Stadium.
The Wolverines dropped from third in country following a 31-27
loss at Oregon last week, one game after beating Notre Dame 38-0 at
"Emotionally, we were certainly not at a peak," Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said. "I didn't expect us to be. We're coming off two
weeks that took a lot out of our football team."
The Wolverines defied the belief that turnovers are everything
They turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, but
led 14-0 on Breaston's 69-yard punt return and Jeremy LeSueur's
60-yard interception return.
After Michigan's fourth turnover, Indiana failed to move the
ball once again. The Wolverines then went ahead 24-0 late in the
first half on John Navarre's perfect, 20-yard pass to Breaston.
"The way upsets work is you take advantage of (turnovers),"
Indiana coach Gary DiNardo said. "The script was in front of us
and obviously, we didn't follow it."
Indiana returned a blocked punt for a touchdown with 4:16 left,
and Brian Lewis scored on a 3-yard run with 20 seconds remaining
for the final two scores.
Navarre was 15-of-24 for 161 yards with two TDs and two
interceptions, one thrown well short of Breaston at Indiana's 3 and
the other through Perry's hands.
Perry, who has 687 yards rushing this season, was benched for a
series in the first half after his second fumble.
"I let the team down," Perry said.
Braylon Edwards caught three passes for 42 yards and a TD after
not playing during Michigan's first five possessions. Earlier this
season, Carr said he and Edwards "were not on the same page,"
because of Edwards' tardiness.
"We need Braylon to be what he can be," Carr said Saturday.
Edwards said he didn't play for much of the first half because
other receivers were playing well.
"They don't need me to make plays," said Edwards, whose
15-yard reception put Michigan ahead 31-3 early in the fourth.
Indiana's Matt LoVecchio completed 16 of 33 passes for 107 yards
with two interceptions. Lewis had 70 yards rushing and a TD.
"The defense played well enough to win the game and the offense
lost the game," LoVecchio said.
The Hoosiers showed signs of life on the opening drive of the
second half, and in the final minutes.
Indiana went 72 yards on 19 plays over 8:40, but had to settle
for Bryan Robertson's 26-yard field goal to make it 24-3. The drive
was the longest, for both plays and time, in 17 games under coach
Michigan, which had problems on special teams against Oregon,
had a punt blocked and returned for a score against the Hoosiers.
Michigan then went three-and-out and Indiana drove from its 45 to
Breaston returned the first punt for a touchdown -- that was not
deflected or blocked -- for Michigan since Charles Woodson returned
a punt for a score against Ohio State in 1997. Breaston, a redshirt
freshman, caught two TDs against Oregon.
Michigan played without defensive starters Larry Stevens and
Ernest Shazor. Stevens, who had a protective boot on his left foot,
said he will play next week at Iowa. Carr did not say why Shazor
missed the game.