3:30 PM ET, November 11, 2006
Memorial Stadium, BLOOMINGTON, IN
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- While everybody figured next week's winner-take-all showdown between No. 2 Michigan and No. 1 Ohio State was a foregone conclusion, the Wolverines knew they still had work to do.
Steve Breaston scored two long touchdowns, Mike Hart ran for 92 yards and a score and the Wolverines' defense swarmed Indiana in a 34-3 rout Saturday, setting up the biggest game of the college football season.
"It was kind of hard because everybody around us was looking at this matchup between two undefeated teams," Breaston said. "It was very hard even to keep the younger guys focused, but I think we were able to do that."
Ohio State took care of its end of the deal Saturday with a 54-10 victory over Northwestern.
Michigan (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) goes to Columbus, Ohio, with 15 wins in its last 16 regular-season games. The only blip is a not-so-easily forgotten 25-21 loss to the Buckeyes last year.
The Wolverines showed they learned a lesson from last week's close call, a 34-26 victory over Ball State. Michigan played with the efficiency, tenacity and determination that was missing last week.
And after another dominant performance, they celebrated only modestly. Players raised their helmets and arms as they ran off the field, and the crowd, nearly half dressed in maize-and-blue at the start, gave them a polite standing ovation in the corner of the south end zone. They're expecting more next week.
"It's going to be the biggest game of probably everybody's life on this team," Hart said. "We're undefeated, they're undefeated, we're playing for a Big Ten championship and a chance to go to the national championship, so I don't think there's a bigger game out there."
While everyone else may have written off Indiana (5-6, 3-4), Michigan clearly understood the danger.
The Hoosiers still need one win to end the Big Ten's longest bowl drought, dating to 1993. Senior Day marked the end of a tumultuous home season that included losing their head coach, Terry Hoeppner, for two weeks because of brain surgery.
As usual, though, the Wolverines played spoilers with their 15th consecutive win in the series.
The Hoosiers still have one more chance to make the postseason with a win next week at Purdue -- where they haven't won since 1996.
Hoeppner has now faced Michigan and Ohio State in the past month.
"I think both are very, very good teams," he said. "I've said before that I've had Ohio State No. 1 on my ballot since the beginning of the season. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with Michigan because I've had them No. 2."
Michigan's win could not have been more perfectly scripted.
The offense easily picked apart Indiana's defense. Chad Henne was 11-of-15 for 159 yards and two touchdown passes, while the defense allowed only 131 total yards and only 26 yards rushing.
That was all the Wolverines really needed.
Henne marched Michigan 66 yards on the game's opening possession, throwing a 1-yard TD pass to Adrian Arrington for a 7-0 lead.
Michigan was only getting started.
After forcing an Indiana punt, Hart scored on a 4-yard run to make it 14-0 less than 11 minutes into the game.
"I think some of the mistakes we made in the Ball State game were helpful to us," coach Lloyd Carr said. "I thought they focused us, I thought we came in with great intensity. I thought the first two drives of the game were very well done."
The Hoosiers finally got going late in the first quarter, and Austin Starr made a 39-yard field goal into a brisk wind to cut the lead to 14-3. Redshirt freshman Kellen Lewis was 16-of-33 for 105 yards with one interception and was sacked five times.
But that was about the only drive that went right for the Hoosiers.
Two plays later, Henne answered with a 62-yard TD pass to Breaston, who had gotten open behind Leslie Majors. Breaston sealed it early in the third quarter when he caught a punt at his own 17, broke one tackle, found a seam in the middle of the field, cut right and outran two Hoosiers down the sideline to make it 28-3.
The Hoosiers never threatened again.
Breaston caught three passes for 103 yards.
"I told him (Breaston) before the game, I thought this would be his best game of the year," Carr said. "Fourteen points, that's a pretty good day's work when you only touch the ball three or four times."
And now the Wolverines, finally, can concentrate on the game everyone's been anticipating.
"A few things are a little bit different, but how much more special can Ohio State-Michigan be?" Carr asked. "I think this has everything a fan certainly could want. I think it has everything the players, the coaches could want. I think it's great for the Big Ten conference, I think it's great for fans."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Steve Breaston hauled in a 62-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to put the Wolverines up 21-3.
Gameball goes to... Breaston. The Michigan receiver scored on an 83-yard punt return and a 62-yard reception.
Stat of the game... 15. The Hoosiers have dropped 15 straight to Michigan since 1987.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-10||3-13|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||1-2|
|TD||10:22||ADRIAN ARRINGTON 1 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||4:30||MIKE HART 4 YD RUN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 62 yards.
|FG||11:30||AUSTIN STARR 39 YD FG|
Drive info: 14 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||10:23||STEVE BREASTON 62 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||12:10||STEVE BREASTON 83 YD PUNT RETURN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)||28||3|
|TD||5:37||JEROME JACKSON 1 YD RUN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 59 yards.