Michigan defenders Terrence Talbott (38) and Obei Ezeh (45) tackle Indiana running back Nick Turner.
Darron Cummings / AP Enlarge
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Although he says he monitors what kinds of food he puts in his body, Junior Hemingway struggles to shed pounds, and consequently, he hasn't been able to shed an unenviable label given to him by his University of Michigan teammates.
They tell Hemingway, a receiver, that he has the body of a tight end.
“I try to eat a little better but somehow the weight stays on me,” said Hemingway, whose 6-foot-1 frame carries 225 pounds. “The one thing I say is, I have to keep my speed.”
Saturday Hemingway showed that he hasn't lost it, snagging two vital catches in the second half of the Wolverines' 42-35 triumph over Indiana.
Hemingway's 70-yard catch-and-run from Denard Robinson put UM ahead 28-21 early in the third quarter, but it was his 42-yard non-scoring reception on the Wolverines' game-winning drive that may have been more important.
“I'm about to run right by you, that's exactly what I said in my mind,” Hemingway said.
And he did run by his defender, Robert Council, on a straight route down IU's sideline before snagging the ball in the air and advancing to the Hoosiers' 4. A play later Robinson ran for the decisive score.
Hemingway matched his previous season total with three catches and turned them into 129 yards. He did not play in UM's first two games because of a hamstring injury. Last year he was hampered by an ankle injury which seemed to inhibit him after a 103-yard, two-touchdown performance in the season opener against Western Michigan.
“It feels really good to be back healthy again and to be able to help the team out,” Hemingway said.
At 5-0, UM has now matched its win total both overall and within the Big Ten from last year. Hemingway doesn't expect outsiders to get overly excited.
“I don't think so because there are a lot of people out there that are still waiting for us to fall off, to see when it's going to break down,” Hemingway said. “We don't pay any attention to it. We come out every Saturday and play.”
GOOD, BUT … Although both teams executed well offensively, there was room for one more touchdown a piece. For IU, a potential scoring drive ended at its 15 when quarterback Ben Chappell was intercepted in the end zone by Cam Gordon on second down. It was Chappell's first interception of the year.
UM's miscue came at IU's 1 when Robinson mishandled a snap from under center and the Hoosiers recovered. The Wolverines could have went ahead 21-7 on the drive.
KOGER SCORES: UM's tight ends have mostly been used as blockers this year, but Kevin Koger made the most of his one reception Saturday, scoring his first touchdown of the season on a three-yard pass from Robinson in the second quarter. On the season Koger, a Whitmer graduate, has four catches for 33 yards. Senior tight end Martell Webb has zero catches.
HEISMAN TALK: Media members have been touting Denard Robinson as a Heisman Trophy contender since the first week of the season. Now opposing players are expressing similar sentiments.
“He's No. 1 for the Heisman,” IU linebacker Tyler Replogle said. “He obviously is a great player. There's not much else to be said.”
On the year, Robinson has run for 905 yards and eight touchdowns and completed 67 of 96 passes for 1,008 yards and seven scores.
He briefly left Saturday's game after tweaking his injured knee but returned the following series. Unlike the other three times this year that Robinson left a game with an injury, Tate Forcier, not Devin Gardner, relieved him.