12:00 PM ET, September 27, 2003
Michigan Stadium, ANN ARBOR, MI
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 schools.
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 home.
"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 in football.
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 DiNardo.
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 score again.
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.
|3rd Down Conversions||6-18||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||1-2|
|TD||8:33||STEVE BREASTON 69 YD PUNT RETURN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)||0||7|
|TD||1:22||JEREMY LESUEUR 60 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)||0||14|
|FG||12:34||GARRETT RIVAS 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||2:03||STEVE BREASTON 20 YD PASS FROM JOHN NAVARRE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 68 yards.
|FG||6:20||BRYAN ROBERTSON 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 19 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||9:05||BRAYLON EDWARDS 15 YD PASS FROM JOHN NAVARRE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||4:16||BUSTER LARKINS 37 YD BLOCKED PUNT RETURN (BRYAN ROBERTSON KICK)||10||31|
|TD||0:20||BRIAN LEWIS 3 YD RUN (BRYAN ROBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 55 yards.