Jake Rudock’s record-breaking game just enough for Michigan vs Indiana


The Michigan Wolverines showed heart on Saturday, rallying from behind late in the fourth quarter to win in double overtime against the hometown Indiana Hoosiers.

Michigan went on the road to face the Indiana Hoosiers, and withstood a furious effort from the hometown team to win in double overtime and stay alive in the Big Ten race.

Indiana never quit and attempted to convert on fourth down three times just in the first quarter alone, succeeding twice, and stayed in the thick of things all through the first half, trailing 24-16 going to the intermission.

To start off the second half, a minute and a half into the third quarter, Indiana junior wide receiver Mitchell Paige returned Michigan’s first punt of the second half 51 yards for a touchdown to draw to within a one point deficit at 24-23. It was at that point that Michigan knew they were in for a dogfight from the feisty Hoosiers.

Over the course of the last ten minutes or so of the fourth quarter and the two overtime periods, Indiana proceeded to run the ball 18 straight times, and ran through Michigan’s interior effectively. In spite of the Wolverines knowing what was coming, the Hoosiers rushing attack overwhelmed them.

Thanks to this grinding run game, Indiana’s Jordan Howard ran the ball a total of 35 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns, and caught another touchdown pass through the air.

Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld was solid as well for the Hoosiers, and carried the play for Indiana until the game plan shifted to a run-dominant style. He finished the game with 220 yards passing and a touchdown on 20 completions in 34 attempts.

In spite of the fierce effort from the Hoosiers, the man of the match was undoubtedly Michigan’s quarterback Jake Rudock. Much maligned by fans and media at times this season, Rudock put on an outstanding record-setting performance with 440 yards, the third most in program history and a school record six touchdowns.

He also led the team in rushing to finish with 504 yards of total offense on the day. Coming into the game, Rudock had thrown for 1,780 yards this season and just eight touchdowns against seven interceptions, so this was a stunning outing from the Iowa transfer.

Michigan trailed 34-27 late in the fourth quarter and had first-and-goal at the Indiana two-yard line, and after running twice with running back Sione Houma for no gain and sweeping left with  Drake Johnson for a loss of four yards, Rudock threw his fourth touchdown of the game to wide receiver Jehu Chesson.

Incidentally, Chesson had quite the game himself, with 10 catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns. The last Big Ten receiver to have 200 yards and four touchdowns in a game was in 2003 when Wisconsin’s Lee Evans pulled off the rare feat.

In the first overtime, both teams traded touchdowns, then Rudock completed his final touchdown pass of the game to receiver Amara Darboh to start the second overtime.

When Indiana got the ball, Jordan Howard carried the ball for 17 yards to the Michigan eight-yard line to get things started. The drive stalled from there, with Howard running for three yards and no gain, and then Sudfeld running for three yards.

On the final play of the game, Sudfeld threw his first pass in 18 offensive plays on fourth down, and it was batted away by Michigan safety Delano Hill.

Now 8-2, the Michigan Wolverines are still in the running to play for the Big Ten Championship. Michigan needs their hated rivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes, to beat the Michigan State Spartans next week and then the Wolverines have their fate in their own hands in two weeks when they face Ohio State.

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If Ohio State does beat Michigan State and Michigan wins out against Penn State next week and Ohio State on November 28, they’ll go on to play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

As for the Indiana Hoosiers, now 4-6, this is a team that deserves to be better than two games below the .500 mark. They’ve put up fights against Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State, and they have a fun and aggressive offense led by Sudfeld and Howard. There are no moral victories in the Big Ten, but Indiana fans can comfort themselves knowing they are not just another 4-6 team.

They’ll face Maryland next week and Purdue on November 28 to finish their regular season and play for bowl-eligibility.