Earlier than Saturday, Indiana’s final victory in opposition to Michigan got here in 1987. That was one 12 months after Jim Harbaugh performed his last season as a quarterback for the Wolverines.
The Hoosiers’ convincing 38-21 victory in opposition to the Wolverines on Saturday makes credible two questions that may have been unthinkable after the opener in opposition to Minnesota on Oct. 24:
Will this loss to the Hoosiers come one season earlier than Harbaugh’s final season as the top coach for the Wolverines? Or will the Harbaugh period come to an finish after the 2020 season?
The 2-week unraveling of Michigan’s season — which began final week in opposition to Michigan State and did not cease in opposition to No. 13 Indiana — is startling. It seemed even worse contemplating how the Spartans had been manhandled by Iowa 49-7.
How does this examine to the tip for the final two Michigan coaches? Wealthy Rodriguez completed 7-6 in 2010, however 5 of these losses had been to ranked groups. Brady Hoke completed 5-7 in 2014, and that included losses to unranked Maryland and Rutgers. The Wolverines have ventured into that very same shaky territory, even when this state of affairs is completely different.
Harbaugh was the right match for Michigan (1-2, 1-2 Huge Ten) when he arrived in 2015. Now, it has change into clear this system is the sq. peg within the school soccer panorama.
Indiana (3-0, 3-Zero Huge Ten) had comparable expertise and numerous extra explosive performs with coach Tom Allen on Saturday. They couldn’t say that once they performed within the 14-10 upset in 1987. The Wolverines have suffered from opt-outs, accidents and a lag within the recruiting battle with Huge Ten kingpin Ohio State, and that was uncovered once more in opposition to the convention’s latest contender.
Michigan’s deficiencies had been uncovered for the second straight week in opposition to Indiana. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accomplished 22 of 32 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns, serving to the Hoosiers construct a 24-7 halftime lead.
Dan Dierdorf: “That is as dangerous a half of Michigan soccer I’ve seen” since he is been within the sales space, he said-
— angelique (@chengelis) November 7, 2020
Penix did not let up within the second half: He completed 30 of 50 for 342 yards and people three scores. Indiana transformed 9 of 18 third downs and piled up 460 yards. In contrast to in previous Wolverines scares in Bloomington, the Hoosiers closed the door.
Michigan did not have beginning tackles Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes on offense, and that was a foul omen for first-year starter Joe Milton (18 of 34, 344 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions), who threw two fourth-quarter picks that stalled any hopes of a comeback.
Defensive coordinator Don Brown’s defensive scheme seems previous its expiration date. The Wolverines did not get a sack in opposition to the Spartans or Hoosiers. With out star defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, who suffered an ankle harm on the primary sequence, the identical points resurfaced in any respect three ranges.
It is the identical drained narratives for Michigan on the sphere in Harbaugh’s losses, and it popped up the worst time. Michigan lower the result in 24-13 within the third quarter and had Indiana backed right into a third-and-9. That is when cornerback Vincent Grey was known as for move interference on an errant throw. The Hoosiers turned that mistake into one other rating (the Wolverines had eight penalties for 89 yards).
The offense nonetheless cannot run the ball. A operating again by committee method isn’t working, and it has turned offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ assault into an all-or-nothing passing recreation with a younger quarterback.
Michigan had seven first-down operating performs within the first half that resulted in 21 yards. The Wolverines completed with 18 carries for 13 yards. That is lower than one yard per carry. Till that adjustments, Michigan will proceed to fail in its efforts to get again to the highest of the Huge Ten.
What’s subsequent? Uncharted warmth on Harbaugh. Michigan will not be enjoying for the convention championship in 2020. Subsequent week’s matchup in opposition to No. 10 Wisconsin is in query, however the Wolverines will likely be heavy underdogs whether it is performed. A 4-Four season seems like a best-case state of affairs in Ann Arbor now. The regular-season finale in opposition to No. Three Ohio State appears extra like a formality. Harbaugh received there as a quarterback in 1986, however the Wolverines have not received at Ohio Stadium since 2000.
Will that imply the tip for Harbaugh after this season? That’s the most important query of all. Who might change Harbaugh at Michigan? Might it’s Iowa State’s Matt Campbell? Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell? One of many Stoops brothers? Someone with Ohio State ties? That is not simply message board materials. It is about looking for someone who is not a sq. peg.
The extra lifelike state of affairs? Michigan chalks this 12 months as much as COVID-19 and provides Harbaugh yet one more prove-it season in 2021. That is perhaps the extra tenable method realizing Harbaugh’s contract state of affairs, which runs by means of the 2021 season. That countdown, nevertheless, is on. No matter occurs subsequent, the final two weeks mark the low level in Harbaugh’s tenure to date.
We’d say there’s nowhere to go however up, as a result of Michigan cannot go a lot decrease than this.