Breaston's big day sparks Michigan rout of IndianaNov 12, 2006 - 1:25 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Michigan coach Lloyd Carr would love to have Steve Breaston perform this well next week.
In by far his best game of the season, Breaston had three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt for a score as the second-ranked Wolverines crushed Big Ten Conference rival Indiana, 34-3, to enter its showdown with Ohio State unbeaten.
Chad Henne completed 11-of-15 passes for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns with an interception for the Wolverines (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten), who won their 15th consecutive meeting with the Hoosiers since a defeat here in 1987. Mike Hart added 92 yards and a touchdown before sitting out most of the second half for Michigan, which has won 30 of the last 31 in the series.
After top-ranked Ohio State's 54-10 trouncing of Northwestern, the Big Ten powers will stage their first No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchup next Saturday in Columbus.
"It's going to be another great Ohio State-Michigan game," Carr said. "A few things are a little bit different and I don't think there is any question that it can't be any more special than Ohio State and Michigan. This one has everything that a fan could want and for the teams involved. The players and coaches have everything that they want. It's great for the Big Ten Conference and it's great for every college football fan. It will be an exciting week."
"Congratulations to coach Carr and Michigan," Hoosiers coach Terry Hoeppner said. "I guess that's what everybody's been wanting. Well, they get the big showdown next week."
Breaston has had a mostly quiet senior season but broke loose against the Hoosiers (5-6, 3-4), catching a 62-yard touchdown from Henne early in the second quarter and returning a punt 83 yards for a 28-3 lead less than three minutes into the third. It was his fourth career punt-return TD.
"(Breaston) had an outstanding game," Carr said. "I told him beforehand that I thought this would be his best game of the year. He made a big play in the passing game and had a big return. A pretty good day of work when you only touch the ball three or four times."
Michigan nearly was stunned by Ball State at home last week before holding on for a 34-26 win. But Henne got the Wolverines off to a strong start in this one, tossing a one-yard touchdown to Adrian Arrington on the opening drive, and Hart made it 14-0 with a four-yard run with 4 1/2 minutes to play in the period. Hart's score came seven plays after he gained five yards on 4th-and-1 from the Michigan 47.
"Last week some of the mistakes we made in the Ball State game proved to be very helpful to us because they really focused us," Carr said. "We came into this game with great intensity and the first two drives were really well done."
After Breaston's TD catch gave the Wolverines a 21-3 cushion, Michigan was driving for another touchdown but Henne was picked off in the end zone by cornerback Leslie Majors, who ran it back 30 yards. But with a minute to play in the half, Wolverines cornerback Morgan Trent returned the favor by intercepting Kellen Lewis in the end zone.
A redshirt freshman, Lewis went 16-of-33 for 105 yards and was sacked five times for Indiana, which must win at Purdue next week to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1993.
"The goal at the beginning of the year was to play 13," Hoosiers receiver James Hardy said. "Now we're at game 12, we've got five wins. If we get a win against Purdue, our goal will be accomplished."
Lewis was impressed with Michigan's defense.
"They are big, strong and fast," Lewis said. "I guess you mix those three and it causes a little bit of havoc. I'd definitely say they were faster (than I expected). I know usually they don't do too hot against scrambling quarterbacks, but they seemed to be doing a pretty good job of containing today. Watching film, I knew they were really big and strong."
Indiana also was routed by Ohio State, absorbing a 44-3 loss at Columbus on October 21, and Hoeppner did not see much difference between the squads.
"I think that they are both very, very good teams," Hoeppner said. "I've said before, I've voted Ohio State No. 1 from the beginning. And don't ask what I'm going to do now, because I've voted Michigan two. But I'll have to figure something out between now and 11:30 in the morning, when I have to vote."
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