Notebook: Donovan Warren anticipated pass, fought for key interception
Cornerback Donovan Warren knew he had a chance to make a game-changing play when Indiana lined up at the line of scrimmage with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left in Saturday’s game at Michigan Stadium. “They had ran that formation a couple of times, and I knew the route that was coming,” Warren said. “I just tried to make a play on the ball.”
He did just that, tussling with Hoosiers receiver Damarlo Belcher for a pass that seemingly landed in the receiver’s arms until Warren wrestled it away. The two hit the ground with their arms inter-locked. Officials signaled Michigan football, then upheld that ruling after a lengthy review. “We both got the ball,” Warren said. “We both went to the ball, and had our hands on it at the same time. It was just a matter of who came up with it.” The interception clinched the game for Michigan. After that, Indiana’s offense never touched the ball. Indiana coach Bill Lynch was livid on the sidelines after a review upheld the call, but later said he couldn’t see the play. “Obviously, where I’m standing on the sidelines, it looked like they both had it,” he said. “That’s as far as I could go.”
It took less than a quarter before Michigan had seen enough of cornerback Boubacar Cissoko being burned all over the field for the Wolverines to make a change.
Out went Cissoko and in came freshman J.T. Floyd.
After the game, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Robinson confirmed that Cissoko’s absence was a coach’s decision.
“Yeah, it was,” Robinson said. “I thought, J.T., at first, was a little nervous but as the game wore on he grew more and more comfortable and did a good job, really held his own.”
Floyd ended up with four tackles. Cissoko had three. Robinson declined to comment on whether or not the cornerback slot opposite Warren was now an open competition or whether Floyd had usurped the sophomore.
Cissoko, too, declined comment.
Brown banged up
At the beginning of the game, no one on Indiana looked like they could stop Carlos Brown. And in reality, they couldn’t as Brown scored on two of his five touches Saturday.
About the only thing that could slow him down was an injury, and the senior from Georgia missed a bunch of the second and third quarters trying to heal.
“I was banged up a little bit,” Brown said. “But I was good for the most part.”
Brown finished with 83 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown along with a 61-yard touchdown catch.
He couldn’t watch
His father, former Michigan legend Butch Woolfolk, was standing next to him in the parking lot behind Michigan Stadium when Michigan safety Troy Woolfolk said for the second time in four weeks, he couldn’t watch what was going on at the end of the game when quarterback Tate Forcier drove Michigan down the field for the game-winning score.
Not because he was busy, but because he just can’t watch it.
“I was thinking right back to the Notre Dame game,” Woolfolk said. “I hate when it gets like that because I want to watch, and I want to get ready and be there for my team but at the same time I just can’t take it.
“So I just look off, look into the stands and look at other peoples’ reactions to see what we did.”
Michigan, of course, scored on the drive to ensure a 36-33 win over Indiana.
He wore a burgundy sweatshirt as he started inside the Michigan Stadium tunnel after the game. On the back of his hat, in script lettering, read “Inkster.”
As if many people needed that to know who highly touted Michigan quarterback commit Devin Gardner was.
Children were yelling Gardner’s name as he walked up the tunnel. When he reached the top, adults waited for him as he signed autograph after autograph.
And remember, Gardner isn’t enrolled yet.
Brandon Minor ran for 50 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in his return to action from a high ankle sprain Saturday. Minor said he played at 85 or 90 percent, and doesn't know if he'll make it to full strength this year.
"But that ain't going to stop me from playing from now on out," Minor said.
Brown, Michigan's leading rusher with 83 yards, sat most of the middle two quarters with sore knees.
Safety Mike Williams did not play Saturday because of an ankle sprain, and special-teams contributors Jon Conover (turf toe) and Zac Johnson (shoulder) left with injuries. Rodriguez said Williams should return next week against Michigan State.
"In warm-ups he ran around a little bit and looked OK, but I didn’t think he was healthy enough," Rodriguez said. "You don’t want to put a guy out there and he can’t perform because he’s 80 percent or something like that. I don’t think it’s something that’ll linger. I think he should be back this week."
David Moosman had a rough debut at center. Starting in place of the injured David Molk, Moosman, normally a right guard, had a half dozen or so errant shotgun snaps in Michigan’s 36-33 victory over Indiana Saturday. “It was my fault,” Moosman said. “I got to put them right where (the quarterbacks) need them and if they need them somewhere I’m not putting them, then that’s on me. I’ll take care of it. I’ll put them where it needs to be.” Twice in the third quarter, Michigan (4-0) lost 20 yards or more because of poor quarterback-center exchanges. Moosman tried a quick-snap on the opening drive of the second half when an Indiana defender appeared to jump offsides. No flag was thrown on the play and the ball sailed past quarterback Tate Forcier, who fell on it for a 22-yard loss. Later in the period, Moosman rifled a snap through Denard Robinson’s hands. Again, Michigan recovered, but faced with a second-and-30, the Wolverines had to punt the ball away. “Those just killed drives,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We got to fix that.” Said Moosman, “You'll see a big improvement for next week."
Molk is expected to miss another month with a broken foot.
Michael Rothstein and Pete Bigelow contributed to this notebook.