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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU can't capitalize on opportunities, falls to Michigan

Freshman cornerback Donovan Clark tries to tackle Michigan running back Drake Johnson during IU's game against the Wolverines on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Johnson scored two touchdowns on 122 yards rushing in IU's 34-10 loss.

Ann Arbor, Mich.- IU’s seven first half drives amounted to nearly nothing.

Punt. Fumble. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Missed field goal.

Yet midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s 34-10 loss to Michigan, IU Coach Kevin Wilson still believed IU could “steal” a win after IU cut its deficit to 14 points with 8:03 remaining in the third quarter.

But any hopes seemed to collapse as IU freshman quarterback Zander Diamont was met at the line of scrimmage by Michigan’s Ryan Glasgow.

Diamont was hit. Glasgow stripped the ball away, and Michigan was in the redzone.?Three plays later, Michigan was in the endzone. The score was the first in a 17-7 run to close out the game.

IU went from being a few plays from a one-score game to being down 21 points and out of contention with the fumble.

For Michigan (4-5, 2-3), two turnovers turned into 14 points.

For IU (3-5, 0-4), one interception only turned into a missed field goal.

“We kind of felt there we were in a one possession, two possession game even though it was ugly,” Wilson said. “The defense was playing good enough. If we just kept hanging around, we thought we could create a play whether it be on (offense) or on (defense). We just didn’t get it done.”

Michigan’s offense — which entered Saturday’s game averaging a league-worst 20.4 points per game — was once again plagued by inconsistency Saturday.

Michigan senior quarterback Devin Gardner threw one interception to freshman safety Chase Dutra that amounted to nothing for IU after the offense stalled, and freshman kicker Griffin Oakes sent a field goal attempt off the side post.

Dutra had nearly intercepted Gardner a few plays earlier in the red zone, but a potential interception bounced off Dutra’s hands.

Later that drive, Michigan was in the endzone.

Earlier in the quarter, senior linebacker Forisse Hardin dropped an interception opportunity that may have been a pick-six score for IU, only to see the opportunity go missed.

For Dutra and senior linebacker David Cooper, it’s become frustrating.

They said the defense was in the right spots, but players haven’t made the plays when they present themselves.

“We do need to make those plays,” Dutra said. “It’s aggravating.”

Defensively, the Wolverines kept IU in check by forcing three fumbles, recovering two.

IU gained just 188 yards, only 24 of which came through the air by freshman quarterback Zander Diamont.

The Wolverines held junior running back Tevin Coleman to just 108 yards, his smallest rushing output of the year.

Coleman, who entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher, fumbled twice.

“We’re in position, we just have to make those plays,” Cooper said. “We make them in practice, but in gametime situations, you’ve got to make those plays.”

IU’s 10 points is the lowest since being held to three against Wisconsin last November.

With Diamont struggling, Wilson tried to add variety to the play calling with a few designed Wildcat formations with either Coleman or senior running back D’Angelo Roberts taking the snap, but those plays saw little success.

Wilson said the Wildcat isn’t the answer to the offense’s problems, but it was a way to get creative to open up the running game.

There was little doubt among players and Wilson that Saturday’s game was closer than the 24-point deficit indicates.

When IU’s defense created for the offense, IU couldn’t capitalize.

When the defense had chances to take control of the game itself, opportunities, like the potential interception Hardin dropped, bounced away.

“We’ve got to find ways to get stops and get turnovers because that’s one of the ways to get cheap wins,” Wilson said. “We needed a couple today, and we didn’t do it.”

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