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Idle Wolverines have a lot to work on before Nov 2

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LARRY LAGE | October 20, 2013 04:13 PM EST | AP


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has almost two weeks to get ready for its next game at Michigan State.

The 24th-ranked Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) want to see some of the same things they saw Saturday and hope to look different in other ways when they play Nov. 2 against the rival Spartans.

"I'd like to see the same offense show up, but maybe a different defense," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said after a 63-46 win against Indiana. "And we have work to do, there's no question about it.

"From the defensive standpoint, we've got to clean some things up out there," Hoke said.

The Wolverines were impressive with the ball in a record-breaking outing against the Hoosiers. But Michigan was awful on defense, allowing Indiana to average 7.5 yards per play and to finish with 572 yards of offense, to upset its defensive-minded coach.

"Frustration, sick feeling, that kind of thing," Hoke said. "We've got to play better. You don't win championships without playing defense. And we didn't play very good defense."

Thomas Gordon, though, helped Michigan seal the shootout win by making interceptions on two straight drives midway through the fourth quarter and with 2:57 left.

"We needed a couple of stops at the end defensively and we were fortunate enough," Hoke said.

The Wolverines were very fortunate to have an offense that was able to overcome their defense. They set a school record with 751 yards of offense, the second-highest total in Big Ten history. Devin Gardner broke Michigan marks with 584 yards of offense — a yard shy of the conference record — and 503 yards passing.

"The offense kept moving and kept bailing us out a little bit defensively," Hoke said.

Jeremy Gallon had a Big Ten-record 369 yards receiving and had a shot to surpass the major college record set by Troy Edwards with 405 yards receiving in 1998 for Louisiana Tech.

"Since he's only 5-9, I think they might underestimate him some, but he has the same skills as all the tall receivers," Gardner said. "He's quick in and out of his cuts. And it's a terror for the opposing team."

Michigan made changes on its offensive line and seemed to run the ball out of more spread-type plays to help Fitzgerald Toussaint set career highs with four touchdowns and 32 carries and a season-high 151 yards rushing.

But the Wolverines gave up 410 yards passing to Indiana and 162 yards rushing. When Michigan didn't appear to be confused by the Hoosiers' hurry-up offense, it simply couldn't get off blocks consistently, make tackles and break up passes.

"We try to simulate that tempo in practice with the quick offense and all of that, but it's nothing compared to the game," Gordon said. "We felt we were prepared for that. We were lined up.

"It still came down to making plays on the ball," he added. "We were in position, we just need to do a better job of making plays."

If Michigan can't improve on defense, it might have a hard time having much success in its remaining games at Michigan State, against Nebraska, at Northwestern and Iowa before hosting Ohio State in the finale of the regular season.

"Now, we've got the meat of the schedule the next five weeks," Hoke said.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage