Michigan players left the Michigan Stadium field on Saturday with a 31-20 win over Indiana that sets up a showdown with Ohio State next week for a spot in the Big Ten title game.
But they also did so without two of their players who left the game early due to injury following what players called dirty and cheap shot hits by Indiana players.
And for that, Michigan players had frustration in addition to their excitement about a win, particularly about a late personal foul that injured Wolverines running back Berkley Edwards.
“It wasn’t called for,” Michigan running back Karan Higdon said of the hit. “It’s football, things like that happen, they shouldn’t happen but they do. We’ve just got to continue playing.
Higdon called the hit on Edwards “definitely” a cheap shot. Michigan tight end Nick Eubanks called the Hoosiers’ play “dirty.”
The injury to Edwards occurred on a fourth-quarter kickoff, when Indiana linebacker Cam Jones delivered a hit to the head that resulted in a targeting penalty and ejection. Edwards laid on the field for several minutes before he was strapped to a backboard and carted off the field.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said that initial reports on Edwards were good but that he has a concussion and was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
Higdon said the hit on Edwards “shook the team up a little bit.”
“Obviously the situation with my brother Berkley Edwards didn’t sit well with myself or anybody else” Higdon said. “That was a situation that was unfortunate and kind of shook the team up a little bit.”
In addition to Edwards, Wolverines defensive end Chase Winovich was also injured by a hit to which Michigan players took exception.
Midway through the third quarter, Winovich was blocked to the ground by Indiana offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak, who then jumped on him to deliver a subsequent hit. Winovich left the game, Harbaugh said after the game that X-rays and a CAT scans for Winovich were both negative but said his status for Ohio State is uncertain. He declined to say which body part Winovich injured.
Two plays later, Stepaniak was assessed a personal foul for a different play.
Eubanks said Harbaugh talked to the team about protecting themselves in the game and not responding in kind to what players saw as dirty hits.
“It was BS for them to do that, but he preached for us to protect ourselves, be aware of what they were doing, that’s what we did,” Eubanks said.
“We were upset, but it was based on us not to react to it and play to the same level that they’re playing. We’re more of a business team, we don’t do stuff like that.”