Michigan pulled off what might be the upset of the fall Saturday, knocking off undefeated Indiana 24-20 in Bloomington. The Wolverines trailed 20-5 at halftime and held the Hoosiers scoreless in the second half.
Michigan didn’t take the final lead until the game’s last minute, when tighthead prop Jordan Ulmer banged through for the game winner.
“We were kind of just pounding it on the their line, and the guys finally just realized that they were stronger in the rucks,” said Michigan coach Matt Trenary, describing the final score, “and there was really no reason to do much fancy play, so we got it pretty close and started hammering it away with the forwards. It was a whole pile of forwards and one of them got the ball on the ground.”
Michigan, which squandered possession and some scoring opportunities in the first half, tightened its game in the second, eliminating some key mistakes and intensifying its defense.
“We just were more careful with the ball. Our defense was alright in the first half,” said Trenary.” I think it really ramped up in the second half. We’re pretty fierce around the breakdown. But really, we just weren’t giving away our opportunities as much in the second half.”
Carrying a heavy portion of the tackling load was Michigan’s back row – Dave Hiltzik, Kenny Andutan and Mike LaCivita.
The win improves Michigan to 2-1 in Big Ten Universities play and drops Indiana to 1-1. Michigan, which failed to make a splash in DII last season, is now square in the middle of a DI-A conference and playoff race.
“Pretty exciting, the resolve, how we played in the second half, winning with a minute left, using all our subs and just having everybody contribute, just feels like it should. A lot of effort, and it pays off,” said Trenary.
“We’re holding ourselves to a high standard, and the wins and losses will come from that, not the other way around. We still have things to do. We still have things to work on, but we won a big game and the guys should enjoy it and the alumni should enjoy it, and yeah, it probably does surprise some people.”