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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Wilson’

#3 Michigan 20 – Indiana 10: Smith’s career day leads Wolverines to 10th win

Saturday, November 19th, 2016


wormley-hurst-snow-vs-iu

It was ugly. It snowed. It almost ended Michigan’s quest for a first Big Ten title since 2004. But when the clock hit zero and there was no green left on the field except for the snow angels made by the cheerleaders during a timeout, Michigan held off Indiana for its 10th win of the season.

It marks the first time Michigan has achieved back to back 10-win seasons since 2002 and 2003 and it was the 21st straight win over the Hoosiers, dating back to 1987. But for nearly three quarters, it didn’t look like it was going to happen.

With John O’Korn making his first start in a Michigan uniform, in place of the injured Wilton Speight, Michigan’s offense looked like it wouldn’t miss a beat on the first possession of the game. All four running backs touched the ball on the drive, but a promising 21-yard screen pass to Ty Isaac was called back for a block in the back and the drive stalled. Rather than trying to pick up a first down on 4th-and-4, Jim Harbaugh elected to punt from the Indiana 36. It netted 22 yards.

um-indiana_small-final
Final Stats
Michigan  Indiana 
Score 20 10
Record 10-1, 7-1 5-6, 3-5
Total Yards 284 255
Net Rushing Yards 225 64
Net Passing Yards 59 191
First Downs 15 15
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties-Yards 5-40 4-35
Punts-Yards 6-247 9-267
Time of Possession 34:21 25:39
Third Down Conversions 3-of-15 5-of-15
Fourth Down Conversions 3-of-4 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-28 2-9
Field Goals 2-for-2 1-for-1
PATs 2-for-2 1-for-1
Red Zone Scores-Chances 2-of-2 2-of-2
Red Zone Scores-TDs 0-of-2 1-of-2
Full Box Score

It was that kind of day for Michigan as the Wolverines punted on each of their first three possessions. When they finally got on the board with a 28-yard Kenny Allen field goal midway through the second quarter, Indiana responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. For the first time this season, Michigan trailed at the half.

After forcing a punt on Indiana’s opening possession of the second half, Michigan rode the running game down the field, but once again stalled short of the end zone. Allen booted a 33-yard field goal to pull the Wolverines within one.

Indiana put together another 11-play scoring drive, but this time, after reaching the Michigan 5-yard line, the Wolverines defense held strong and forced a 24-yard Griffin Oakes field goal.

Michigan looked to be in trouble on its ensuing possession, facing 3rd-and-8 from their own 36. O’Korn dropped back to pass, but faced pressure. He stepped up and eluded the sack, then raced 30 yards to the Indiana 34 — the biggest run for a Michigan quarterback since Denard Robinson in 2012.

Then, still trailing 10-6 midway through the third quarter, De’Veon Smith took the game into his own hands. The senior, playing his final game in the Big House, took the handoff, cut to his left, weaved through the Indiana defense, and raced for the pylon. He dove from the three and reached the ball over the goal line for Michigan’s first touchdown of the day.

Two possessions later, Smith did it again. On 2nd-and-10, he took a handoff to the right, cut up the middle and then raced 39 yards, breaking a tackle at the 10, and into the end zone to put Michigan ahead 20-10.

Neither team would score in the fourth quarter as the snow quickly turned the field into a skating rink. But Michigan held the ball for more than 10 minutes in the quarter, running the clock down to victory.

Smith finished with a career-high 158 yards on 23 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. O’Korn completed just 7-of-16 passes for 59 yards. Most importantly, O’Korn didn’t turn the ball over. As a team, Michigan rushed for 225 yards — the sixth time the Wolverines have topped 200 this season.

Defensively, Michigan held Indiana to its lowest offensive output (255 yards) and its lowest scoring total (10 points) of the season. The Hoosiers rushed for just 64 yards — also a season low — on 1.8 yards per carry. Quarterback Richard Lagow completed 14-of-29 passes for 191 yards, his second lowest passing total of the season.

At 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten, Michigan closes the regular season next Saturday with a huge matchup against Ohio State. The Buckeyes, also 10-1 and 7-1, have beaten Michigan 11 of the past 12 games. If Michigan wins, the Wolverines will advance to the Big Ten championship game for a rematch with Wisconsin, who the they beat 14-7 early in the season. An Ohio State win will likely send Penn State to Indianapolis as they hold the head to head tiebreaker with the Buckeyes.

Game Ball – Offense

De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 158 yards, 2 touchdowns)
It’s fitting that Smith earns his first game ball of the season on Senior Day. The Warren, Ohio native has been a reliable piece of the backfield the past few years and turned in the best game of his career in his final game in the Big House. He carried the ball 23 times for 158 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and scored both of Michigan’s touchdowns. While Chris Evans, Karan Higdon, and Ty Isaac struggled to find running room, Smith broke through for two big runs that kept Michigan’s season alive.

Previous
Week 1 — Chris Evans (8 carries, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 2 — Wilton Speight (25-of-37 for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Week 3 — Jake Butt (7 receptions for 87 yards)
Week 4 — Grant Newsome, Ben Braden, Mason Cole, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson (326 rush yards, 0 sacks allowed)
Week 5 — Amara Darboh (6 receptions for 87 yards, 1 touchdown)
Week 6 — Khalid Hill (2 carries for 2 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions for 19 yards and 1 touchdown)
Week 7 — Wilton Speight (16-of-23 for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 8 — Amara Darboh (8 receptions for 165 yards)
Week 9 — Wilton Speight (19-of-24 for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 carries for 16 yards, 1 touchdown)
Week 10 — Kenny Allen (2-of-2 FGs, long of 51)

Game Ball – Defense

Ryan Glasgow (7 tackles (5 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
One of the unsung heroes of Michigan’s vaunted defense is fifth-year senior nose tackle Ryan Glagow. By the nature of his position, he’s not talked about as much as the others, but his impact is felt every week. It’s fitting that he earns the game ball against Indiana since he suffered a season ending injury in the game before Indiana last season and his absence was felt as IU rushed for 307 yards. This time around, he seemed to be in on every tackle, recording seven, three of them in the backfield, and bringing down the quarterback once. He’ll need a similar performance against Ohio State’s powerful offense next week.

Previous
Week 1 — Mike McCray (9 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
Week 2 — Rashan Gary (6 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks)
Week 3 — Jabrill Peppers (9 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 kick ret. for 81 yards, 4 punt ret. for 99 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — Maurice Hurst (6 tackles, 3 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack)
Week 5 — Channing Stribling (2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups)
Week 6 — Taco Charlton (2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks)
Week 7 — Mike McCray (3 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 quarterback hurries)
Week 8 — Jabrill Peppers (7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 two-point conversion fumble recovery return)
Week 9 — Delano Hill (6 tackles (5 solo), 0.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions)
Week 10 — Chris Wormley (6 tackles (2 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack)

#3 Michigan vs Indiana game preview

Friday, November 18th, 2016


um-indiana-game-preview-header

Michigan suffered its first loss of the season last weekend, but in the big picture, it didn’t really hurt them. Sure, it reduced the margin for error, but the Wolverines remain in the same position: win the next two and they’re in the Big Ten championship game. Win that one and they’re in the College Football Playoffs.

um-indiana_small
Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 3:30p.m. ET – ESPN
Indiana Head Coach: Kevin Wilson (18th season)
Coaching Record: 25-46, 11-36 (all at IU)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Johns (6th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Allen (1st season)
Last Season: 6-7 (2-6 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UM 48 – IU 41 2OT (2015)
All-Time Series: Michigan 55-9
Record in Ann Arbor: Michigan 32-7
Jim Harbaugh vs Indiana 1-0
Last Michigan win: 2015 (48-41 2OT)
Last Indiana win: 1987 (14-10)
Current Streak: Michigan 20
Indiana Schedule to date
Opponent Result
at FIU W 34-13
Ball State W 30-20
Wake Forest L 28-33
#17 Michigan State W 24-21
at #2 Ohio State L 17-38
#10 Nebraska L 22-27
at Northwestern L 14-24
Maryland W 42-36
at Rutgers W 33-27
#10 Penn State L 31-45

The final stretch begins tomorrow against the Indiana Hoosiers. Perhaps the silver lining of the Iowa loss is that Michigan won’t get caught looking ahead to Ohio State next week. They’ll be focused and prepared to get back on track this Saturday. And a win there will give them confidence heading into Columbus after Thanksgiving.

Indiana comes in with a 5-5 record, looking for one more win to gain bowl eligibility. They should be able to secure that next week against in-state rival Purdue, but head coach Kevin Wilson would love to beat Michigan to set up a great chance at the first winning season of his career.

Wilson is in his sixth season in Bloomington and has yet to turn the corner after going 1-11 in his first season. The Hoosiers have won between four and six wins in each of the past four seasons, topping out at six a year ago. They snuck into the Pinstripe Bowl and had a chance to finish 7-6, but lost to Duke on a field goal in overtime.

This season, Indiana opened with wins over Florida International and Ball State, but lost to Wake Forest. Then they beat Michigan State, which looked to be a big win at the time, but we later found out wasn’t worth much more than a win over FIU and Ball State.

Indiana then hit the meat of its schedule, falling by 21 at Ohio State, five against Nebraska, and 10 at Northwestern. They bounced back with wins over Maryland and Rutgers, but suffered a 14-point loss to 10th-ranked Penn State last Saturday.

Last season, the Hoosiers nearly beat Jim Harbaugh’s first Michigan squad, but the Wolverines pulled it out in overtime. Delano Hill batted down a fourth down pass at the goal line to secure the win. Harbaugh hopes to leave no doubt this time around.

Let’s take a look at the matchups.

When Indiana has the ball

Offense has typically been the strength of the Hoosiers under Wilson, but it’s not quite as potent this season as it has been the past few. The Hoosiers rank seventh in the Big Ten and 71st nationally in scoring with 27.5 points per game, ninth in the Big Ten and 77th nationally in rushing (164.6 yards per game), second and 20th in passing (302.7 yards per game), and third and 32nd in total offense (467.3 yards per game).

Redshirt junior quarterback Richard Lagow ranks second in the Big Ten in passing in his first season as the starter. He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,866 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He has topped 200 yards passing in all but two games this season. Ohio State held him to 182 yards and Nebraska to 196. He has turned the ball over in six of 10 games and has multiple turnovers in four of them, so while he trails Purdue’s David Blough by fewer than six passing yards per game, he ranks just sixth in pass efficiency, about 10 rating points behind Wilton Speight.

Lagow has a group of talented receivers to throw to. Fifth-year senior Mitchell Paige ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 4.9 receptions per game, while sophomore Nick Westbrook ranks sixth at 4.4 and fifth-year senior Ricky Jones ranks seventh with 4.3. Westbrook is the conference’s second-leading receiver, averaging 79.3 yards per game. He has three 100-yard games including a 10-catch, 126-yard performance against Northwestern, but he didn’t catch a touchdown pass in that one. Last week, he caught his first touchdown pass since Week 3. Jones ranks sixth, averaging 71.3 yards. In Weeks 3 and 4, he caught a combined 13 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown. Since then, he has averaged 4.5 receptions for 60.5 yards. Paige isn’t as big of a home run threat, avearging just 10.9 yards per catch, but he also has two 100-yard games.

The running game has been the weakness offensively after losing Jordan Howard to the NFL. Junior Devine Redding is the Big Ten’s sixth-leading rusher, averaging 90.1 yards per game. He has topped 100 yards in half of the Hoosiers’ games and needs 99 yards on Saturday to eclipse 1,000 on the season. Ohio State, Nebraska, and Northwestern — three defenses somewhat comparable to Michigan’s — held Redding to just 59 yards and 3.6 yards per carry. But he went for 108 yards and two scores on 4.7 yards per carry against Penn State last Saturday. After Redding, Indiana’s backfield is pretty thin. Freshman Tyler Natee is the team’s second leading rusher with 220 yards, but he averages just 3.7  yards per carry. Sophomore Mike Majette and redshirt freshman Devontae Williams average about four carries apiece per game.

When Michigan has the ball

In years past, Indiana’s defense wasn’t able to stop, well, anyone. Most games were shootouts. This season, however, they’re actually somewhat respectable under the guidance of Tom Allen, who spent last season as South Florida’s defensive coordinator. The Bulls turned in the American Athletic Conference’s best scoring defense, allowing 19.6 points per game.

The Hoosiers rank 11th in the Big Ten and 67th nationally in scoring defense (28.4 points per game), 10th and 52nd in rush defense (156.2 yards per game), 13th and 73rd in pass defense (235.8 yards per game), and 11th and 55th in total defense (392.0 yards per game).

Junior Greg Gooch and sophomore Jacob Robinson are the starting defensive ends have combined for 6.5 tackles for loss and one sack. The defensive tackles, redshirt junior Nate Hoff and fifth-year senior Ralph Green III are a little more impactful with 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

The linebacking corps is the strength of the defense, lead by junior middle linebacker Tegray Scales, who ranks second in the Big Ten with 94 tackles. He also ranks second with 15 tackles for loss — one more than Jabrill Peppers — and leads the team with four sacks. Redshirt junior SAM linebacker Marcus Oliver is the team’s second-leading tackler with 74 and has 10.5 tackles for loss, which ranks ninth in the conference. True freshman Marcelino Ball plays the HUSKY linebacker position and has had a pretty good inaugural campaign, ranking thid on the team with 68 tackles and tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He’s also third with seven pass breakups.

Redshirt junior cornerback Rashard Fant is the Big Ten’s leading pass defender in terms of passes defended with 18 and pass breakups with 16. By comparison, Channing Stribling leads Michigan with 13 and nine, though he does have twice as many interceptions as Fant. True freshman A’Shon Riggins is the other corner and he ranks second on the team with eight pass breakups. Safeties Jonathan Crawford and Tony Fields have combined for 108 tackles, 13 pass breakups and three picks.

The other third

Redshirt junior kicker Griffin Oakes won the Big Ten Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year award in 2015, but has struggled this season, converting just 12-of-21 attempts. He does have a big leg with a long of 54 yards, but has lacked the consistency that he displayed a year ago. Redshirt sophomore punter Joseph Gedeon ranks ninth in the Big Ten with an average of 40.6 yards per punt. He has been accurate, landing 21 of 45 punts inside the 20 with no touchbacks.

Williams averages 19.8 yards per kick return, while Paige averages 7.8 yard per punt return.

Prediction

Last week I had a bad feeling about the Iowa game all week leading up to Saturday. It just felt like a trap game in every sense of the word and unfortunately, I was right. This week, I have the opposite feeling. Even with starting quarterback Wilton Speight out, Michigan is going to roll Indiana and gain a lot of confidence heading into Columbus.

Indiana’s offensive strength — its passing game — goes up against the best pass defense in the nation and won’t be able to move the ball consistently enough to score man points on Michigan. Sure, the Hoosiers passed for nearly 300 yards and scored 31 points against No. 10 Penn State last Saturday, but let’s not forget the PSU’s pass defense ranks in the bottom half of the Big Ten. Let’s also note that Indiana has trouble putting the ball in the end zone and finishing drives.

The Hoosiers rank dead last in the nation with a 68 percent red zone scoring rate. And they’ve scored touchdowns on just 47 percent of their red zone trips. Michigan has done so on 71 percent of theirs. In other words, when in the red zone, Michigan converts touchdowns more often than Indiana converts points. To make matters worse for Indiana, Michigan’s defense is the nation’s best in the red zone, holding opponents to just 65 percent scores and 41 percent touchdowns.

On offense, Michigan will move the ball just fine with John O’Korn’s mobility giving an added dimension that wasn’t there with Speight behind center. Indiana will surely try to force O’Korn to beat them with his arm, and he’ll do so against the second worst pass defense in the Big Ten. He’ll throw for over 200 yards, opening up the running game for another 200-plus as the offense gets back to its high-scoring ways.

Michigan 42 – Indiana 14

First Look: Indiana

Monday, November 14th, 2016


indiana-hoosiers

Michigan suffered its first setback of the season on Saturday, falling 14-13 at Iowa. But the Wolverines still control their own destiny. Win their last two games and they’re in the Big Ten championship. Win that one and they’re in the College Football Playoff. It’s as simple as that — not that it will be simple to do.

It begins with the Indiana Hoosiers, who need to win one of their last two to earn bowl eligibility and both to ensure a winning season. At 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten, IU head coach Kevin Wilson would love to do just that to collect the first winning season of his career. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare through the first 10 weeks of the season.

Indiana & Michigan statistical comparison
Indiana | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 27.5 | 44.5 71 6
28.4 11.0 67 1
Rushing Yards 1,646 2,363 1,563 1,131
Rush Avg. Per Game 164.6 | 236.3 77 19
156.2 113.1 52 13
Avg. Per Rush 4.0 | 5.3
3.7 3.1
Passing Yards 3,027 2,315 2,358 1316
Pass Avg. Per Game 302.7 231.5 20 68 235.8 131.6 73 1
Total Offense 4,673 4,678 3,920 2,447
Total Off Avg. Per Game 467.3 467.8 32 31 392.0 244.7 55 1
Kick Return Average 20.0 17.8 83 119 20.4 21.8 61 | 74
Punt Return Average 7.9 18.0 63 2 5.7 | 8.1 39 72
Avg. Time of Possession 28:42 32:59 86 18 31:18 | 27:01
3rd Down Conversion Pct 39% | 47% 71 22
31% | 20.0% 13 1
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 20-142| 14-94
57 22
22-151 | 33-219 56 8
Touchdowns Scored 34 58
35 | 13
Field Goals-Attempts 12-21 12-17
14-17 | 6-12
Red Zone Scores (27-40) 68%|(51-56) 91% 128 | 20
(30-34) 88%|(11-17) 65% 93 1
Red Zone Touchdowns (19-40) 47%|(40-56) 71% (19-34) 56%|(7-17 41%
Off. S&P+/Def. S&P+ 31.0 37.4 53 25 26.4 | 5.1 46 1

Indiana won three of its first four games of the season, and when they beat then-No. 17 Michigan State it looked to be a big, program building win. In hindsight, it was simply what every other team in the Big Ten save Rutgers has done. The Hoosiers then proceeded to lose their next three, though they hung with Nebraska, before beating Maryland and Rutgers and then losing to Penn State this past Saturday. In short, Indiana’s five wins have come over the bottom three teams in the Big Ten East, FIU, and Ball State.

As usual, the Hoosiers do have a decent offense, averaging just a half yard more per game than Michigan does. But that hasn’t translated into points as they average 17 fewer points per game than the Wolverines. Indiana has topped 40 points just once in a 42-36 win over Maryland and 30 points in five of 10 games. They had a season low 14 points in a 24-14 loss to Northwestern. Against teams in the top half of the Big Ten in scoring defense, IU is averaging just under 18 points per game.

Indiana does it mostly through a passing game that ranks second in the Big Ten behind only Penn State. The Hoosiers average 302.7 passing yards per game (20th nationally), which is about 70 more per game than Michigan averages. Led by quarterback Richard Lagow, Indiana has thrown for more than 200 yards nine times, more than 300 yards four times, and more than 400 yards twice. They passed for 496 yards against Wake Forest and 420 against Rutgers, but Ohio State held the Hoosiers to their lowest total of the season, 182 yards on 14-of-28 passing.

The running game isn’t as explosive, averaging 164.6 yards per game, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten and 77th nationally. During the three game losing streak against Ohio State, Nebraska, and Northwestern, the Hoosiers failed to break 100 rushing yards, averaging 90.3 yards. They followed that with a season-high 414 rushing yards against Maryland.

As noted above, Indiana moves the ball well, but has trouble scoring. Much of that is because they rank dead last nationally in red zone offense. Only 57 teams have reached the red zone more than the 40 times the Hoosiers have, but they’ve scored on only 27 (68 percent) of those trips. To make matters worse, they’ve scored touchdowns on only 19 (47 percent) of those.

On the defensive side, Michigan fans won’t like hearing that Indiana’s defense ranks very comparably on paper — and even better in some areas — than the Iowa team that just shut down Michigan’s offense. Similarly to the offensive side of the ball, Indiana’s defense in terms of yardage allowed looks better than their scoring defense. This is because they allow opponents to score on 88 percent of their red zone possessions, which ranks 93rd nationally.

In terms of total defense, Indiana allows about nine more yards per game than Iowa does, although prior to Iowa’s performance against Michigan on Saturday, the Hawkeyes allowed more yards per game than IU currently does. Four of 10 opponents have topped 400 total yards against the Hoosiers and Maryland reached 517. Three of those 400-plus yard games have come in the last four weeks, suggesting that they’re wearing down a bit late in the season. During that span, Rutgers was the only team that didn’t reach 400.

Indian’s rush defense ranks seventh in the Big Ten and 52nd nationally, allowing 156.2 yards per game. Ohio State rushed for 290 yards on 5.8 yards per carry and Maryland managed 269 yards on 5.4. However, Indiana’s defense held Penn State to just 77 rushing yards on 45 carries (1.7 yards per carry). Saquan Barkley managed just 58 yards on 33 carries.

The pass defense ranks second to last in the Big Ten and 73rd nationally, giving up 235.8 yards per game. Ohio State passed for only 93 yards — because they had such success running the ball that they didn’t need to — but only one other opponent threw for fewer than 200. Wake Forest passed for 172. The last four opponents have averaged 280.8 passing yards per game, lead by Penn State’s 332 yards this past Saturday.

While I mentioned above that Indiana’s defense compares statistically to Iowa’s, the advanced stats tell a slightly different story. S&P+ has Indiana’s defense 22 spots lower than Iowa’s.

Overall, Indiana has a potent passing offense but a lackluster running game. They have a better defense than typical Kevin Wilson teams, but it’s not one that should be able to shut down Michigan’s offense like Iowa did on Saturday. That said, depending on the severity of Wilton Speight’s injury, if Michigan has to start John O’Korn, Indiana will look to stuff the run like they did to Penn State this past weekend and force the inexperienced quarterback to beat them.

2015 Big Ten power rankings: Week 12

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


Power Rankings_header

Well, the biggest week of the Big Ten season so far has come and gone, leaving two clear contenders with a direct path to Indianapolis. Barring a massive upset, Iowa and Michigan State will play for the Big Ten crown.

But as a whole, the Big Ten has emerged as the top conference in college football. LSU and much of the SEC has been exposed as overhyped and the Big Ten put four teams in the College Football Playoff top 10.

Now the microscope shifts from the top of the league to the middle, where four teams need a victory to get to six wins. Will the Big Ten send only seven teams to the postseason? Or could it be as many as 11? All 14 teams will hit the turf Saturday (or Friday) for six meaningful games (and one Maryland-Rutgers pillow fight).

East Division
1. Michigan State (10-1, 6-1) – Up 2
Last Week: Beat #3 Ohio State 17-14 This Week: Sat Penn State (7-4, 4-3), 3:30pm, ESPN

Mark Dantonio did it again. Nobody gave Michigan State a chance to win in Columbus, especially when star quarterback and future first-round draft pick Connor Cook was ruled out. If the Spartans knock off Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 5, they should be a top two seed in the playoff.

2. Michigan (9-2, 6-1) – Even
Last Week: Beat Penn State 28-16 This Week: Sat vs #8 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1), 12pm, ABC

Saturday was a perfect representation of how far Michigan has come under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines dominated Penn State in Happy Valley, electing to take a knee inside the five instead of winning the game by 19 points. The victory gave Michigan a perfect 4-0 road record in conference play and a fourth straight win since the crushing defeat against MSU. If Michigan played Utah or Michigan State today, it would probably win both games. Instead, the Wolverines have a chance to clinch a New Year’s Six bowl game if they can take care of Ohio State at the Big House.

3. Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) – Down 2
Last Week: Lost to #9 Michigan State 14-17 This Week: Sat at #10 Michigan (9-2, 6-1), 12pm, ABC

You don’t really find out about the character of a team until it faces some adversity, and the Buckeyes didn’t handle it well. After their first loss in over a calendar year, Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott unceremoniously declared for the NFL Draft and Elliott blamed the entire loss on play calling. Then, Urban Meyer seized control of his team by…basically cowering at Elliott’s feet during his weekly press conference. Elliott does not deserve to miss game time for his comments, but the way he attacked his coaching staff created a crack in the seemingly impenetrable wall Meyer built in Columbus. Now that the Buckeyes have a loss, the rest of their resume is fair game for criticism. Ohio State’s best win came at home against a mediocre Penn State team and then it lost its only competitive game to a team with two backup quarterbacks. I think Michigan is going to see an angry, ultra-motivated Buckeye team in Ann Arbor this weekend.

4. Indiana (5-6, 1-6) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat Maryland 47-28 This Week: Sat at Purdue (2-9, 1-6), 12pm, BTN

Indiana has been the anti-Ohio State this season: Losing close games against very tough competition. The Hoosiers have played five of the top six teams in the conference and nearly knocked off four of those teams. But now it’s time to give Indiana some love. Despite falling behind Maryland 21-3 in the first quarter, Kevin Wilson’s team didn’t fall apart, instead scoring the next 27 points and running away with a 47-28 win. That first conference victory gives the Hoosiers a great chance to clinch a bowl Saturday in West Lafayette.

5. Penn State (7-4, 4-3) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to #12 Michigan 16-28 This Week: Sat at #5 Michigan State (10-1, 6-1), 3:30pm, ESPN

Is Penn State any good? I’m really not sure. James Franklin heads into the final game of the season without a single win over a winning power five team. PSU’s best win came against Indiana and it hasn’t won a road game on the year. Christian Hackenberg missed some open receivers by a wide margin Saturday against Michigan and looks beaten down by a terrible offensive line’s ineptitude.

6. Rutgers (4-7, 1-6) – Even
Last Week: Beat Army 31-21 This Week: Sat vs Maryland (2-9, 0-7), 12pm, BTN

Rutgers won at Army by 10 points to snap a four-game losing streak on Saturday. Luckily, the Scarlett Knights get to close out the season against Maryland this weekend.

7. Maryland (2-9, 0-7) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Indiana 28-47 This Week: Sat at Rutgers (4-7, 1-6), 12pm, BTN

It seems like some strong head coaching candidates are strongly considering that Maryland job, which is the first good news the football program has heard all season. Luckily, the Terrapins get to close out the season against Rutgers this weekend.

B1G East Week 12

 

West Division
1. Iowa (11-0, 7-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Purdue 40-20 This Week: Fri at Nebraska (5-6, 3-4), 3:30pm, ABC

With a foot of snow piled on every row of bleachers, Iowa looked like it would give fans an excuse to watch the second half from the warmth of their living rooms Saturday. But a 20-point lead was trimmed to just seven early in the second half after a 13-0 Purdue run. The Hawkeyes woke up just in time to win 40-20 and jump into the top four of the playoff rankings. Iowa already clinched the Big Ten West Division, but it’ll need a win in Nebraska on Friday night to stay alive for the playoff.

2. Northwestern (9-2, 5-2) – Even
Last Week: Beat #25 Wisconsin 13-7 This Week: Sat vs Illinois (5-6, 2-5), 3:30pm, ESPNU

Another week, another reason Northwestern should be ranked much higher than it actually is. The Wildcats went into Madison and held Wisconsin to seven points to add another quality win to a loaded resume. It’s a shame that losses to a pair of top 10 teams took a very deserving Northwestern team out of the New Year’s Six conversation.

3. Nebraska (5-6, 3-4) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat Rutgers 31-14 This Week: Fri vs #4 Iowa (11-0, 7-0), 3:30pm, ABC

It’s been a season full of shock for Nebraska fans: Shocking losses, shocking wins and, most prominently, shocking endings. Mike Riley is two-thirds of the way through the 3-0 finish he needed to make a bowl game. It’s fitting that the Cornhuskers will need a shocking win over undefeated Iowa to polish it off.

4. Wisconsin (8-3, 5-2) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to #20 Northwestern 7-13 This Week: Sat at Minnesota (5-6, 2-5), 3:30pm, BTN

Wisconsin played three games against teams without losing record this season and lost all three, scoring an average of 10 points. All eight of Wisconsin’s wins came against teams with five or fewer wins. That makes an SEC non-conference schedule look almost respectable.

5. Minnesota (5-6, 2-5) – Even
Last Week: Beta Illinois 32-23 This Week: Sat vs Wisconsin (8-3, 5-2), 3:30pm, BTN

Coming off three straight losses to current top-10 teams, Minnesota got its first win under Tracy Claeys Saturday against Illinois. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Golden Gophers knock off Wisconsin at home to sneak into the bowl season. Minnesota is one of those pesky teams you don’t want to play in the postseason.

6. Purdue (2-9, 1-6) – Up 1
Last Week: Lost to #5 Iowa 20-40 This Week: Sat vs Indiana (5-6, 1-6), 12pm, BTN

This is going to sound strange, but Purdue might be the best 2-9 team in the country. The Boilermakers have come within a possession of knocking off three teams with at least nine wins and gave Iowa a bit of a scare in the 3rd quarter Saturday. A rivalry win against bowl-hopeful Indiana would end the season on a positive note.

7. Illinois (5-6, 2-5) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to Minnesota 23-32 This Week: Sat vs #16 Northwestern (9-2, 5-2), 3:30pm, ESPNU

Illinois had a perfect opportunity to clinch a bowl win Saturday in Minnesota, but laid an egg in a 32-23 loss. Now it’ll take an upset over an excellent Northwestern team on Senior Night to extend the season for Bill Cubit’s group.

B1G West Week 12

#14 Michigan 48 – Indiana 41 (2OT): Michigan survives on record day from Rudock, Chesson

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


Chesson vs IU(Isaiah Hole, Wolverine247)

Parallels have been drawn between Jim Harbaugh and his mentor Bo Schembechler, and on Saturday afternoon in Bloomington, Ind., Harbaugh nearly achieved a dubious feat that no Michigan coach since Schembechler has done: lose to Indiana. Instead, his scrappy bunch of Wolverines survived an onslaught from the Big Ten’s best offense to take home a 48-41 double-overtime victory — the 20th straight in the series.

Jake Rudock followed last week’s career game with an even better one against the Hoosiers, completing 33 of 46 passes for 440 yards, six touchdowns, and an interception. It was the third best passing game in Michigan history and the first time a Michigan quarterback has thrown for back to back 300-yard games since Chad Henne in 2004.

UM-Indiana-small-FINAL
Final Stats
Michigan Indiana
Score 48 41
Record 8-2 (5-1) 4-6 (0-6)
Total Yards 581 527
Net Rushing Yards 141 307
Net Passing Yards 440 220
First Downs 28 32
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties-Yards 13-72 9-79
Punts-Yards 3-123 2-79
Time of Possession 32:33 27:27
Third Down Conversions 6-of-12 6-of-17
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-1 3-of-5
Sacks By-Yards 1-12 1-7
Field Goals 2-for-3 4-for-4
PATs 6-for-6 3-for-3
Red Zone Scores-Chances 4-of-4 5-of-6
Full Box Score

Four of those six touchdown passes were caught by Jehu Chesson, who became just the second receiver in Michigan history to catch four touchdown passes in one game, joining Derrick Alexander, who did so against Minnesota in 1992. Chosen led Michigan with 10 receptions for 207 yards and the four scores.

But the big games by Rudock and Chesson were almost negated by the legs of Indiana running back Jordan Howard. The UAB transfer rushed for a career high 238 yards on 35 carries (6.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, shredding the nation’s third-best rush defense time and time again.

The game could not have started better as Michigan’s defense stopped Indiana short of a first down on 4th and 2 near midfield to start the game, and four plays later, Rudock connected with Chesson for a 34 yard touchdown. But Indiana responded with back to back field goals from 39 and 36 yards to pull within 7-6.

At the start of the second quarter, Michigan went 75 yards on 10 plays for another Chesson touchdown. On the first play of the drive, Michigan was backed up 12 yards for a chop block, and on the second play Jake Butt lost seven yards. But on 2nd and 29 from their own 6-yard line, Rudock found Butt for 24 yards, then scrambled for 23 more. Just like that, Michigan was near midfield. A few plays later, Michigan face 3rd and 13, but Rudock scrambled for 19 yards, and two plays after that he found Chesson for a 15-yard touchdown.

Indiana got another field goal from Griffin Oakes, this time from 51 yards out, but Michigan answered with a 64-yard catch-and-run by Chesson to give Michigan a 21-9 lead. Indiana finally found the end zone with 49 seconds left in the first half when Howard carried it in from seven yards out. Michigan added a 22-yard Kenny Allen field goal to end the half with a 24-16 lead.

While the first half started out perfectly, the second did not. Michigan got the first possession, but went three and out, and Indiana receiver Mitchell Paige returned the punt 51 yards for a touchdown.

Michigan’s ensuing possession stalled at the Indiana 24 and Allen missed a 42 yard field goal after a bad snap messed up the timing. Indiana marched 69 yards in nine plays and kicked a 24-yard field goal to take their first lead of the game at 26-24.

After a Rudock interception in the Indiana red zone, Michigan’s defense came up with a stop, forcing an Indiana punt. Michigan’s offense put together its best drive of the game, going 78 yards in 15 plays and taking up six minutes and 57 seconds. But although they reached the Indiana 1-yard line, they had to settle for a 20-yard field goal to retake the lead, 27-26.

Indiana took possession with 6:30 remaining and proceed to run the ball eight straight times as Michigan couldn’t stop it. Howard gained 61 yards on six of those carries, including a 24-yard touchdown scamper to give Indiana a 34-27 lead.

Jourdan Lewis returned the kickoff 33 yards to give Michigan’s offense good field position, and Rudock wasted no time testing the IU secondary yet again. Back to back passes to Butt went 16 yards and nine yards, and on 3rd and 3, Rudock lobbed a 41-yarder to Chesson to the Indiana two with less than a minute left. On 1st and goal, Sione Houma was stopped at the one. On 2nd and goal, Houma was stuffed for no gain. On 3rd and goal, Drake Johnson was dropped for a four-yard loss, setting up a make or break fourth down with six seconds remaining. Rudock fired a strike to Chesson on a slant to tie the game.

On Indiana’s first possession of overtime, the Hoosiers ran five straight times, culminating with a 1-yard Howard touchdown run. Michigan answered with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to Butt. The Wolverines wasted no time scoring on their second possession as Rudock hit Amara Darboh for a 25-yard touchdown. Howard gained 17 yards on Indiana’s first play and then three on the second to set up 2nd and goal at the Michigan five. He was stopped for no gain to force third down, and then Nate Sudfeld was stopped at the two. On 4th and goal from the two, Indiana elected to put the ball in the air, but Delano Hill knocked it away from Paige at the goal line and Michigan survived.

Michigan totaled a season high 581 yards of offense, but also surrendered a season high 527. In addition to Chesson’s big day, Darboh topped 100 yards with 109 on eight catches. Butt caught seven passes for 82 yards. Rudock led Michigan in rushing with 64 yards on seven carries, while De’Veon Smith gained 58 on 12.

Now 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, Michigan remains in the Big Ten title hunt. They travel to Penn State (7-3, 4-2) for a noon kickoff next Saturday needing a win to stay in contention. The Wolverines also need Ohio State (10-0, 6-0) to beat Michigan State (9-1, 5-1) in the afternoon game to set up a Big Ten East Division title game on Nov. 28.

Game Ball – Offense

Jake Rudock (33 of 46 for 440 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 7 carries for 64 yards)
This could have easily gone to Chesson for his 10-catch, 27-yard, four-touchdown performance, but Rudock got the nod for the second straight week. Not only did he throw for the third-most yards in a single game in Michigan history and set the single-game record with six touchdown passes, but he also led the team in rushing with 64 yards. If not for the lone interception in the red zone, Rudock would have turned in a perfect performance. He has benefited from two of the worst pass defenses in the Big Ten the past two weeks, but there’s no doubt that he’s more comfortable in the offense than he was earlier in the season and has developed a good rapport with his receivers. Can that continue against Penn State and Ohio State? We shall see.

Previous:
Week 1 – Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)
Week 2 – De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
Week 3 – Ty Isaac (8 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards and 1 TD)
Week 5 — Drake Johnson (13 carries for 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec for 31 yards, 1 TD)
Week 6 — Mason Cole, Ben Braden, Graham Glasgow, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson
Week 7 — Kenny Allen (3-for-3 field goals, 2-2 PATs)
Week 8 — Jabrill Peppers (4 carries for 16 yards, 1 TD, 1 punt return for 41 yards, 1 kick return for 43 yards)
Week 9 — Jake Rudock (18 of 25 for 337 yards, 2 TDs, 1 carry for 4 yards, 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Delano Hill (10 tackles, 8 solo, 1 PBU)
It’s usually not a good thing when a safety leads the team in tackles. In fact, both of Michigan’s safeties — Hill and Jarrod Wilson — led the team with 10 tackles apiece. Indiana running back Jordan Howard shredded the front seven all game, forcing the safeties to make plays. But more than just tackles, Hill saved the game two plays in a row on Indiana’s second possession of double overtime. On 3rd and goal from the Michigan five, Sudfeld faked the handoff to Howard and kept it himself, but Hill was there for the stop at the two. Then, on fourth down, Hill was in perfect coverage of Mitchell Paige at the goal line and knocked the pass away. On a defense that has been praised most of the season, but imploded on Saturday, it was the unheralded Hill that rose to the occasion.

Previous:
Week 1 – Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 TFL)
Week 2 – Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 3 – Jourdan Lewis (3 tackles, 4 PBU)
Week 4 — Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)
Week 5 — Desmond Morgan (9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU)
Week 6 — Jourdan Lewis (4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 touchdown, 1 PBU)
Week 7 — Willie Henry (5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU)
Week 8 — James Ross (9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 9 — Chris Wormley (4 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks)

M&GB staff predictions: Indiana

Friday, November 13th, 2015


StaffPicks_banner2015

Michigan travels to Bloomington, Ind. on Saturday to face a Hoosiers squad that has had some near upsets behind the Big Ten’s best offense. With a chance at a winning season slipping away, could Michigan finally be the one? Let’s take a look at our picks.

Justin:
Staff Predictions
Michigan Indiana
Justin 47 21
Derick 35 27
Sam 34 13
Josh 41 17
Joe 45 21
M&GB Average 40 20

Michigan’s defense held Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano in check last week, but will have its hands full with Sudfeld and Indiana’s offense. Rutgers was able to use some traps to spring a couple big runs, but Howard may be the best back the Wolverine defense has faced all season, so the defense will have to focus more on him. Indiana is surely the most balanced opponent so far in terms of threats in both the run game and passing game, so it will be interesting to see how the defense fares when it can’t focus primarily on one facet.

Regardless of how well the Hoosier offense does, I just don’t see its defense being able to hold Michigan’s offense out of the end zone enough to win. Almost without fail when a high-powered offense faces a formidable defense, the defense wins, and that’s going to be the case here as well.

Jake Rudock will build upon a great game last week with another big passing game against the Big Ten’s worst pass defense. Drake Johnson will lead the way on the ground and Michigan will near 500 total yards of offense. The defense will give up some yards and points, but it won’t be enough to seriously challenge. Michigan pulls off win number eight and stays in the title hunt for another week.

Michigan 47 – Indiana 21

Derick

Indiana is winless in the Big Ten, riding a five-game losing streak and blew a 25-point 2nd half lead to Rutgers a few weeks ago. Only 0-5 Maryland has been as bad as Indiana since thr start of October.

So why does this feel like such a dangerous game?

Remember the Hoosiers’ conference opener against Ohio State. They held a two-score lead over the Buckeyes in the second half before losing their two best players: Running back Jordan Howard and quarterback Nate Sudfeld. If their dangerous passing attack exposes Michigan’s secondary like Mitch Leidner and Minnesota did, this could turn into a 2013-esque shootout.

It took a 369-yard effort from Jeremy Gallon to save Michigan that time. This version of the Wolverines doesn’t have the offensive firepower to put up over 60 points.

Jim Harbaugh’s team struggled in each of its first three road games, despite pulling away in the second half against Maryland. Now it needs to get back on track in Bloomington, where the Hoosiers have flirted with upsets all season.

If Michigan plays like it did against Minnesota, Indiana will win this game. But I think the pass defense and the running game will do just enough to give Michigan the win.

Michigan 35 – Indiana 27

Sam

Indiana has an offense that could keep up for a quarter or two, but Michigan has a defense that will prevail. And Indiana’s defense is a sieve. Michigan wins.

Michigan 34 – Indiana 13

Josh

While most Michigan fans are playing out scenarios where we win out and make the playoff I’m saying not so fast my friend. There are some big games left and we’d be crazy to discount Indiana this weekend.

The Hoosiers have a high octane offense with a veteran quarterback and seemingly out of nowhere they also have a pretty good run game, crazy right? Add to that that they’ve played MSU, OSU and Iowa all very closely and that worries me just a bit. We almost lost to a ‘bad’ Minnesota team, and probably would have were it not for poor clock management, so we cannot take the Hoosiers lightly.

On offense: Indiana has a bad defense, not Rutgers bad but still pretty bad. In fact, it’s pretty much the defense’s fault they couldn’t pull off any of those upsets. They can’t seem to cover anyone and they definitely fade as the game wears on. I don’t think we’ll see a career day out of Rudock but he has begun to master the offense more and more each week. As Jedd Fisch said (paraphrasing here) he’s gone from first read, second, check down to one, two, three, checkdown or even one, two, three, four, check down. To me that is a huge step at just the right time, and it showed last week and should be evident again this week in Bloomington. As for running the ball, I’m not sure what to expect anymore. Smith looks banged up and Johnson still doesn’t look 100 percent and the staff has all but written off Ty Isaac (so it seems) now that Sione Houma is the 3rd RB on the depth chart. I don’t think we’ll see a 100-yard game from anyone but they’ll mix it up as usual with the jet sweeps and general trickery that Harbaugh loves.

On defense: This is what worries me the most. Connor Cook had a field day against Michigan’s defense. Okay, he’s a likely first-rounder. But then Mitch Leidner had a huge day on us as well. Enter Nate Sudfeld. He’s not Connor Cook but he might be the second best quarterback in the conference in an offense that likes to pass. Our safety play, outside of Wilson, has left much to be desired and I’m not too high on Stribling or Clark opposite Lewis. I think Sudfeld will gash this defense for some big plays. Hell, if Leidner can do it then Sudfeld sure as hell will too. Add to that the running game that has come on this season and Michigan could be in for much more of a battle than most expect. Jordan Howard is a big back, 230-plus, and while he’s not the most elusive guy he has some wiggle. Michigan looks like they’ll be without Ryan Glasgow and while the depth is great and there won’t be a drop off where I do see this hurting Michigan is there is now one less guy to rotate in, so how will these guys hold up late in the game having played more snaps than usual and against a higher temp offense?

I think this game is ripe for an upset pick. Michigan has only played one legit quarterback and he tore them apart, Sudfeld should do the same and if Indiana can get a lead and force Michigan to play catch up I don’t like our chances there. Then again, this is a team that let Rutgers, yes RUTGERS, drop 55 on them so I guess I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.

Indiana keeps this a lot closer and puts up more points than we’d like but Michigan will be too much in the end.

Michigan 41 – Indiana 17

Joe

We’re down to the last three games of the season and it appears that things are back on track. This week will be a test against a decent Indiana offense. These guys can move the ball and put some points on the board. They are extremely tough and have lost some close games. The key is getting up early and letting the defense do what they do best. Smother the quarterback.  I expect Rudock to have his two touchdown game with no picks and a 65 percent completion percentage along with managing the clock. Butt will get his third down, chain moving catches and the wideouts will haul in a few touchdowns.  The defense will get after the quarterback and force some turnovers as usual. As long as we do tho early in the game and not let them stick around, we are ok.  Michigan wins this one going away.

Michigan 45 – Indiana 21

#14 Michigan vs Indiana game preivew

Friday, November 13th, 2015


Game Preview_Indiana_banner

After last season’s 5-7 finish, riddled with concussion controversies and firings, who would have predicted that Michigan would still be in the Big Ten title hunt with three games remaining in 2015? That’s precisely where Jim Harbaugh has his team, needing three wins and an Ohio State victory over Michigan State to secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

UM-Indiana-small
Quick Facts
Memorial Stadium – 3:30p.m. EST – ABC
Indiana Head Coach: Kevin Wilson (5th season)
Coaching Record: 18-39, 6-31 B1G (all at IU)
Co-Offensive Coordinators: Kevin Johns (5th season)
Greg Frey (2nd season)
Co-Defensive Coordinators: Brian Knorr (2nd season)
William Inge (3rd season)
Last Season: 4-8 (1-7)
Last Meeting: Michigan 34 – Indiana 10
All-Time Series: Michigan leads 54-9
Record in Bloomington: Michigan 17-2
Jim Harbaugh vs Indiana: 1st meeting
Last Michigan win: 2014 (34-10)
Last Indiana win: 1987 (14-10)
Current Streak: Michigan 19

It won’t be easy and it begins in Bloomington against an Indiana squad that doesn’t have a very good record, but has played close against some good teams. After breezing through a weak non-conference schedule for the first time in 25 years, topping Southern Illinois (48-47), Florida International (36-22), Western Kentucky (38-35), and Wake Forest (31-24), the Hoosiers have lost five straight. But they took Ohio State to the brink, stalling at the OSU 9-yard line on the game’s final play and falling 34-27. They were also within five of Michigan State until the Spartans scored three touchdowns in the final five minutes to make it look like a blowout, 52-26. Last week, Indiana trailed Iowa by one at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and after giving up back to back touchdowns, scored one of their own to pull within eight. But they fell 35-27.

On the other hand, the Hoosiers lost a shootout against Rutgers, 55-52, and got shut down by Penn State, 29-7.

Head coach Kevin Wilson is now in his fifth season and has yet to achieve a winning record. With Maryland and Purdue remaining and four wins already under their belt, six wins is well within reach, which means a win over Michigan puts a winning record within reach.

After a couple of windy days in the midwest, the weather forecast for Saturday calls for mid-50s and sunny with no chance of precipitation and only a slight breeze. Hoosier fans will turn out in full force for their final home game of the season. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s Indiana, so the crowd will be at least a third maize and blue. Let’s take a look at the matchups.

When Indiana has the ball

Indiana ranks 30th nationally and first in the Big Ten in total offense (460.9 yards per game), 48th and 4th in rushing offense (185.8 yards per game), 31st and 2nd in passing offense (275.1 yards per game), 49th and 3rd in passing efficiency (136.81), and 48th and 5th in scoring (32.4 points per game).

Senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld is the Big Ten’s passing leader, averaging 278.6 yards per game. That’s 11.4 yards more than Connor Cook, who threw for 328 yards against Michigan last month, and 66.6 more per game than Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner, who torched the Michigan secondary for 317. He was injured against Ohio State and missed the Penn State game, but returned to go 32 of 42 for 464 yards and four touchdowns against Rutgers. He then completed 23 of 37 for 308 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State, but Iowa’s stout defense held him to 16 of 37 for 180 yards, a touchdown, and an interception last week.

Three receivers have at least 400 yards, led by redshirt junior Ricky Jones, who ranks sixth in the conference with 78.7 yards per game. He has three 100-yard games and has caught at least four passes in seven of nine games. Sophomore Simmie Cobbs is the team’s second leading receiver with 36 receptions for 552 yards and three touchdowns. After being held to just one catch for five yards by Penn State, Cobbs had seven for 107 against Rutgers and five for 108 and a touchdown against Michigan State. Mitchell Paige, a 5’7″, 176 pound redshirt junior, has 33 catches for 416 yards and two scores. He has caught eight passes in two of the last three games.

The Hoosier offense isn’t all passing. It also features the Big Ten’s second leading rusher, junior Jordan Howard. The UAB transfer averages 137.3 rushing yards per game, just a yard fewer than Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott. He has eclipsed 100 yards in five of the seven games in which he has played — he missed the Penn State and Rutgers games to injury — and reached 203 yards against WKU. The Ohio State and Michigan State games were the only two that the didn’t reach 100 yards, and they both also happened to be the only games in which he had limited carries. He had 14 for 34 against Ohio State before getting injured in the first half and 11 for 78 against MSU.

Sophomore Devine Redding, a Cleveland Glenville product, has 463 yards, but is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry compared to Howard’s 6.1. His best performance came in Howard’s absence when he gained 99 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against Rutgers.

The offensive line is experienced and has done a great job of keeping Sudfeld upright. Indiana is tied with Michigan State for the fewest sacks allowed, 11. Michigan has allowed 13. Senior left tackle Jason Spriggs started 34 games entering this season and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2014. Redshirt junior right guard Dan Feeney is the second most experienced with 24 straight starts entering the season and all nine so far this year. Fifth year senior center Jake Reed is a converted defensive end and tight end who started five games at guard in 2013 before moving to center last season. Redshirt junior right tackle Dimitric Camiel started five games last season and all nine this year, while left guard is the long position that has seen a change this season. Redshirt freshman Wes Martin started the first six games, but redshirt junior Jacob Bailey, who had five career starts entering the season, has started the last three.

When Michigan has the ball

While Indiana’s offense ranks among the Big Ten’s best, its defense is at the opposite end of the spectrum. That’s nothing new for the Hoosiers the past few years. IU ranks 119th and 14th in total defense (504 yards per game), 77th and 13th against the run (174 yards per game), 126th and 14th against the pass (330 yards per game), 103rd and 13th in pass defense efficiency (144.83), and 114th and 14th in scoring defense (37 points per game).

Senior defensive end Nick Mangieri leads the team with seven sacks and eight tackles for loss. The nephew of former NFLer Ed Sutter carried 22 career starts into 2015. Junior tackle Darius Latham also has eight tackles for loss, but just two sacks, while fifth year senior nose tackle Adarius Rayner has 1.5 tackles for loss.

Junior middle linebacker T.J. Simmons is probably the best player on the defense, though he ranks second on the team with 58 tackles. He was a freshman All-American and All-Big Ten performer in 2013 and also has 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Redshirt sophomore Marcus Oliver is the tackles leader with 79, but just 4.5 of those have gone for loss and just one sack. He also leads the team with four forced fumbles. The two outside linebackers are fifth year senior Zach Shaw and junior Clyde Newton, who have combined for 59 tackles, 10 for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

The secondary is led by redshirt sophomore free safety Chase Dutra, who ranks third on the team with 55 tackles, while freshman strong safety Jonathan Crawford has 52 tackles and a team-leading two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore corner Rashard Fant has the third most pass breakups in the Big Ten (13) behind Jourdan Lewis (19) and Iowa’s Desmond King (15). Freshman Andre Brown is the other corner with 35 tackles and four pass breakups.

While Michigan’s pass defense had two bad games against Michigan State and Minnesota, Indiana’s pass defense allows more passing yards per game than Michigan allowed in either of those games. Western Kentucky threw for 484 yards and Southern Illinois 411. Michigan State fell just short of 400 at 398 and Rutgers — who Michigan limited to just 164 passing yards last week — threw for 386. On the ground, while Michigan’s defense has allowed over 100 yards just three times and no opponent more than 144, Indiana’s defense has let seven teams rush for over 100 yards and four top 200, including Ohio State’s 272.

The other third

Redshirt sophomore kicker Griffin Oakes is 12 of 14 on the season with a long of 45. He made 13 of 18 as a freshman a year ago, including a school record 58-yarder against Maryland. Fifth year senior punter Eric Toth ranks eighth in the Big Ten with an average of 41.6 yards per punt. He has booted three over 50 yards, downed 35 percent of his punts inside the 20, and only four have gone for touchbacks.

Senior receiver Damon Graham and freshman corner Devonte Williams share the kick return duties. Graham averages 22.3 yards per return, while Williams averages 20.4. Paige is the lone punt returner, averaging 10.2 yards per return and has returned one for a touchdown.

Prediction

Michigan’s defense held Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano in check last week, but will have its hands full with Sudfeld and Indiana’s offense. Rutgers was able to use some traps to spring a couple big runs, but Howard may be the best back the Wolverine defense has faced all season, so the defense will have to focus more on him. Indiana is surely the most balanced opponent so far in terms of threats in both the run game and passing game, so it will be interesting to see how the defense fares when it can’t focus primarily on one facet.

Regardless of how well the Hoosier offense does, I just don’t see its defense being able to hold Michigan’s offense out of the end zone enough to win. Almost without fail when a high-powered offense faces a formidable defense, the defense wins, and that’s going to be the case here as well.

Jake Rudock will build upon a great game last week with another big passing game against the Big Ten’s worst pass defense. Drake Johnson will lead the way on the ground and Michigan will near 500 total yards of offense. The defense will give up some yards and points, but it won’t be enough to seriously challenge. Michigan pulls off win number eight and stays in the title hunt for another week.

Michigan 47 – Indiana 21

2015 opponent preview: Indiana

Monday, August 10th, 2015


2015 Opponent Preview_INDIANA

NCAA Football: Indiana at Wisconsin(Jeff Hanisch, USA Today Sports)

Our season preview series continues with the first Big Ten squad we have previewed so far. The Indiana Hoosiers are the third-easiest opponent Michigan will face this fall, behind non-conference foes UNLV and Oregon State. Michigan visits the Hoosiers on Nov. 14, just two weeks before the regular season ending battle with Ohio State.

Overview

Schedule
Date Opponent
Sept. 5 Southern Illinois
Sept. 12 FIU
Sept. 19 Western Kentucky
Sept. 26 at Wake Forest
Oct. 3 Ohio State
Oct. 10 at Penn State
Oct. 17 Rutgers
Oct. 24 at Michigan State
Nov. 7 Iowa
Nov. 14 Michigan
Nov. 21 at Maryland
Nov. 28 at Purdue

After going 1-11 in his first season in Bloomington, Kevin Wilson looked to have the Hoosiers on the upswing. A 4-8 season in 2012 followed by a 5-7 finish in 2013 had Indiana poised to break through in 2014. Instead, the Hoosiers were unable to capture their second winning season in 20 years, falling back to 4-8.

Indiana sandwiched an early season road upset of Missouri with losses to Bowling Green and Maryland and then suffered further setback when quarterback Nate Sudfeld injured his shoulder. The injury forced unheralded true freshman Zander Diamont into action and the results were predictable. In six starts, Diamont completed just 48.5 percent of his passes for 515 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. Indiana went 1-5 over that span, beating only lowly rival Purdue to close the season.

Now, Indiana returns the second lowest offensive and defensive production in the Big Ten and it might be Wilson’s last chance to turn the program around. Only Maryland returns a lower percentage of offense (29 percent compared to Indiana’s 40 percent) and defense (44 percent compared to Indiana’s 53 percent), and only Iowa returns a lower percentage of offensive touchdowns (31 percent to Indiana’s 35 percent). Can that somehow equate to a winning season? Let’s take a look.

Offense

Projected Starters
Position Name, Yr. Ht, Wt 2014 Stats
QB Nate Sudfeld (Sr.) 6’6″, 240 101-167 for 1,151 yds, 6 TD, 3 INT
RB Jordan Howard (Jr.) 6’1″, 225 306 rush for 1,587 yds (5.2 avg), 13 TD (at UAB)
WR Simmie Cobbs (So.) 6’4″, 215 7 rec for 114 yds (16.3 avg), 0 TD
WR Dominique Booth (Fr.) 6’0″, 205
WR Ricky Jones (RS Jr.) 5’10”, 185 3 rec for 58 yds (19.3 avg), 0 TD
TE Anthony Corsaro (Sr.) 6’3″, 250 5 rec for 39 yds (7.8 avg), 0 TD
LT Jason Spriggs (Sr.) 6’7″, 305 10 starts (34 career starts)
LG Jacob Bailey (RS Jr.) 6’5″, 298 2 starts (5 career starts)
C Jake Reed (RS Sr.) 6’4″, 288 4 starts (4 career starts)
RG Dan Feeney (RS Jr.) 6’4″, 305 12 starts (24 career starts)
RT Tim Gardner (RS Fr.) 6’5″, 310 OSU transfer, sat out 2014

In 2014, Indiana ranked 61st nationally in total offense (fifth in the Big Ten), ninth in rushing (third in the Big Ten), 120th in passing (last in the Big Ten), 123rd in pass efficiency (last in the Big Ten), and 87th in scoring offense (10th in the Big Ten). The main factor in Indiana’s offense was running back Tevin Coleman, who ranked second in the Big Ten with 2,036 rushing yards, averaging 169.7 yards per game. His 7.5 yards per attempt matched Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon’s for tops in the conference. But now Coleman is in camp with the Atlanta Falcons as a third round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

The good news for Wilson is that he has a talented back coming in to replace him. Jordan Howard transferred from Alabama-Birmingham after the program disbanded. He set a UAB single season record with 1,587 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and scoring 13 touchdowns. His 132.3 yards per game ranked seventh nationally and he earned first team All-Conference USA honors. But he’ll have to beat out sophomore Devine Redding, a Glenville High School product, who showed some promise last season behind Coleman.

The other good news is that Sudfeld is healthy again. He ranked among the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten in 2013 as IU’s pass offense ranked 17th nationally. He was on pace for similar production through the first six games of 2014 before injuring his shoulder and missing the rest of the year. Now, in his senior season, he has one final chance to show what he can do.

The receiving corps has some talent, but not very little proven production. It suffered a big loss when its only returning receiver, J-Shon Harris, suffered an ACL injury in the spring and will miss the entire season. His 18 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns led all returning receivers. In fact, he was the only returning receiver on the team that caught a touchdown pass in 2014. His spot will likely be filled by incoming freshman Dominique Booth, a four-star recruit out of Pike High School in Indianapolis. The other expected starters are sophomore Simmi Cobbs and redshirt junior Ricky Jones, who combined for 10 receptions for 172 yards and no scores a year ago.

The strength of the offense should be the line that returns 67 career starts, most notably senior left tackle Jason Spriggs and redshirt junior right guard Dan Feeney. The two have combined for 58 career starts, including 22 in 2014. Left guard Jacob Bailey and center Jake Reed started a combined six games last season, while the expected right tackle is Ohio State transfer Tim Gardner.

Defense

Projected Starters
Position Name, Yr. Ht, Wt 2014 Stats
DE Nick Mangieri (Sr.) 6’5″, 270 37 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 3 QBH
DT Darius Latham (Jr.) 6’5″, 305 26 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 FR
NT Nate Hoff (RS So.) 6’2″, 300 29 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
LB Zack Shaw (RS Sr.) 6’3″, 252 24 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sack, 1 FR, 1 QBH
LB T.J. Simmons (Jr.) 6’0″, 233 72 tackles, 65. TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FR, 2 FF
LB Marcus Oliver (RS So.) 6’1″, 238 10 tackles, 1 FF
LB Tegray Scales (So.) 6’0″, 220 46 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 INT, 2 QBH
CB Rashard Fant (RS So.) 5’10”, 175 23 tackles, 5 PBU, 1 FR
CB Noel Padmore (RS So.) 5’11”, 180
FS Tony Fields (So.) 5’11”, 205 14 tackles, 1 PBU
SS Chase Dutra (RS So.) 6’1″, 205 34 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FF

Indiana had one of the Big Ten’s worst defenses in 2014 and returns only four starters and none from the secondary. The Hoosiers ranked 120th nationally in total defense, 114th in scoring defense, 115th in rush defense, 118th in passing yards allowed, and 103rd in pass efficiency defense. The 32.8 points per game allowed were worse than every team in the Big Ten except Illinois.

There’s a lot to improve on Indiana’s defense, but at least the line is experienced, returning all three starters. Nose tackle Nate Hoff ranked second on the team with 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season as a redshirt freshman, while defensive tackle Darius Latham recorded 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Last year’s starting defensive end, Bobby Richardson, is gone and so are his team-leading 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. But starting outside linebacker Nick Mangieri is making the move back to end, where he played his first two seasons in Bloomington and started 10 games in 2013.

With Mangieri’s move to the line, the Hoosier linebacker corps returns just one starter from a year ago, junior T.J. Simmons. He’s the leading returning tackler with 72 and he also ranked fourth on the team last season with 6.5 tackles for loss. A couple of promising youngsters join Simmons in the middle. Sophomore Tegray Scales was a Big Ten All-Freshman team member last season after notching 46 tackles, 4.5 for loss, two sacks, and three interceptions. Marcus Oliver was an honorable mention Big Ten All-Freshman team member in 2013, but tore his ACL in the third game of the season last year. The fourth linebacker should be fifth-year senior Zack Shaw, who has 36 games of playing experience under his belt.

While there is some talent and experience in the front seven, the secondary will get a complete makeover this fall. Last year’s leading tackler, safety Antonio Allen, should have been back to lead the group, but was kicked off the team in June due to legal troubles. The former U.S. Army All-American will be replaced by sophomore Tony Fields, who recorded 14 tackles and one pass breakup last fall. Strong safety started one game as a redshirt freshman in 2014, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. He tied Scales for the team lead with three interceptions. The corners will likely be a pair of redshirt sophomores, Rashard Fant and Noel Padmore. Fant recorded 23 tackles and ranked second among Big Ten freshmen with five pass breakups. Padmore played exclusively on special teams last season.

Special Teams

Projected Starters
Position Name, Yr. Ht, Wt 2014 Stats
K Griffin Oakes (RS So.) 5’10”, 197 13-of-18 (72.2%), Long 58
P Erich Toth (RS Sr.) 6’3″, 208 40.7 avg., 18 in-20, 7 50+
KR J-Shunn Harris (So.) 5’8″, 170 19 ret, 20.6 avg
PR J-Shunn Harris (So.) 5’8″, 170 3 ret, 4.0 avg

Both kicking specialists return for a unit that wasn’t very strong overall. Kicker Griffin Oakes was solid, connecting on 13-of-18 field goals and set a school record with a  58-yard field goal against Maryland. It was the longest in the country last season and the 10th-longest field goal in Big Ten history. Punter Erich Toth has two-and-a-half years of experience under his belt and ranks fifth in school history with 177 career punts. Last season’s 77 punts set a school single-season record — not exactly a stat one wants to hold. Indiana ranked 98th nationally in net punting and Toth’s 40.7 yards per punt ranked eighth in the Big Ten.

Sophomore receiver J-Hunn Harris returns to handle the kick return duties and should also take over punt return duties from the departed Shane Wynn. Harris led the team with 19 kick returns for 20.2 yards per return last season, but returned just three punts in 2014.

Outlook

The schedule sets up nicely for Indiana with a non-conference slate of Southern Illinois, FIU, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest. The first three are at home and only WKU had a winning record among the four (8-5). The schedule gets much tougher after that with Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State in the month of October, with Rutgers in between. November sees Iowa and Michigan visit Memorial Stadium and IU travel to Maryland and Purdue.

Getting seven wins out of that schedule will require the Hoosiers to pull off at least one upset like they did against Missouri last season. But with very little experience in the secondary and no Tevin Coleman, a lot of pressure will be on Sudfeld’s arm. Indiana is looking at yet another bowl-less season.

What it means for Michigan

By the time Michigan visits Indiana, the Wolverines will already have played nine games. I expect the Harbaugh era to gain steam throughout the season — a departure from the previous two coaching staffs — so that bodes well for Michigan in this one. Michigan’s defense will be one of the Big Ten’s best and Indiana doesn’t have the firepower to score enough to keep up. It’s Michigan’s last good chance to get a win with a trip to Penn State the following week and then Ohio State coming to town a week later. But Harbaugh’s boys will get take care of business in Bloomington.

Stepping Up: Michigan 34 – Indiana 10

Saturday, November 1st, 2014


Drake Johnson vs Indiana(MGoBlue.com)

A day after Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon the Michigan football team tuned out the distractions and took care of business on the field. Beating Indiana hasn’t been a major accomplishment for decades, but needing to win three of their final four to gain bowl eligibility, Michigan got a big performance from an unlikely source to clear one hurdle with a 34-10 win over the Hoosiers.

UM-Indiana-small-final-FINAL
Final Stats
Michigan Indiana
Score 34 10
Record 4-5, 2-3 3-5, 0-4
Total Yards 404 191
Net Rushing Yards 184 167
Net Passing Yards 220 24
First Downs 20 10
Turnovers 1 2
Penalties-Yards 3-25 3-25
Punts-Yards 4-155 6-226
Time of Possession 33:35 26:25
Third Down Conversions 6-of-13 3-of-13
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-0 0-of-1
Sacks By-Yards 2-14 1-2
Field Goals 2-for-2 1-for-2
PATs 4-for-4 1-for-1
Red Zone Scores-Chances 6-of-6 2-of-3
Full Box Score

Indiana gained a first down on its opening possession, but Michigan’s defense forced a punt. Devin Gardner connected with Devin Funchess for eight yards to start Michigan’s first possession, and three plays later found Amara Darboh for 34 yards to the Indiana 23. Michigan’s drive stalled and Matt Wile booted a 35 yard field goal to put the Wolverines ahead 3-0.

On the first play of Indiana’s ensuing possession, Tevin Coleman, who entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher, fumbled and Bryan Mone recovered at the Indiana 27. Michigan capitalized with a six-yard touchdown pass from Gardner to tight end Keith Heitzman.

Michigan got back on the scoreboard a couple drives later when Gardner hit Darboh for a 12-yard touchdown pass to complete a nine-play, 79-yard drive and give Michigan a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.

After forcing another Indiana punt, Michigan got the ball back looking to put the Hoosiers away. But on 3rd-and-9, Gardner was intercepted by safety Chase Dutra, who returned it 39 yards to the Michigan 12. The Michigan defense held strong, forcing a 25-yard field goal attempt. Redshirt freshman kicker Griffin Oakes missed it and Michigan averted a swing in momentum.

Michigan opened the second half with a three-and-out and Indiana finally mounted a scoring drive, going 51 yards in 11 plays for a 38-yard field goal by Oakes to pull within 14.

Michigan’s offense punted back to Indiana, but on 3rd-and-5, Ryan Glasgow sacked freshman quarterback Zander Diamont, forcing a fumble and recovering it himself at the Indiana 20. Three plays later, Drake Johnson carried it in from 10 yards out to put Michigan ahead 24-3.

Indiana went three-and-out and Michigan strung together its longest drive of the season, marching 78 yards in 15 plays and eating up eight minutes of game clock. The drive stalled at the Indiana six, but Wile converted a 23-yard field goal.

Indiana finally reached the end zone with a three-yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Roberts that capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive. Diamont started the drive with a 35-yard run. Michigan recovered Indiana’s onside kick attempt and Johnson ran for 32 yards and 16 yards for his second touchdown of the day, putting Michigan on top for the game’s final score of 34-10.

Johnson, who came in after De’Veon Smith got injured in the game, led all rushers with 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Darboh had the best game of his career as well with nine catches and a touchdown for 107 yards. Funchess caught seven passes for 47 yards. Gardner finished 22-of-29 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. It was Gardner’s highest passing total of the season and the first time this season Michigan has eclipsed 200 yards passing against a Power-5 team.

Diamont completed just 5-of-8 passes for 24 yards, while Coleman managed to crack 100 yards for the eighth time in as many games this season, finishing with 108 yards on 27 carries. Indiana’s 191 total yards and 24 passing yards were the fewest allowed by Michigan all season.

Jake Ryan led all defenders with 11 tackles including 10 solo stops and 2.5 tackles for loss, while Joe Bolden and Brennen Beyer each tallied a sack.

Michigan travels to Evanston, Ill. to take on Northwestern (3-5, 2-3) next Saturday. The Wildcats were throttled by Iowa 44-7 this week and are riding a three-game losing streak. With Ohio State looming at season’s end, Michigan must beat Northwestern to inch one step closer to bowl eligibility.

Michigan-Indiana game preview

Friday, October 31st, 2014


Game Preview_Indiana_banner

Michigan got embarrassed by rival Michigan State last Saturday, dropping to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten. Michigan now must win its next three to gain bowl eligibility and avoid a third losing season in seven years. All three should be winnable, but with every other record and streak that has fallen this season — shutout streak, largest margin of defeat to Michigan State, and possibly attendance streak — and the past few seasons — first loss to a MAC team, first (and second) losing season in over 40 years — Indiana could be primed to end another one. Michigan hasn’t lost to the Hoosiers since Bo Schembechler roamed the sidelines, a 14-10 defeat in Bloomington in 1987. Michigan hasn’t lost to the Hoosiers at home since Bo was at Miami (Ohio), a 27-20 defeat in 1967.

UM-Indiana-small-final
Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 3:30 p.m. EST – Big Ten Network
Indiana Head Coach: Kevin Wilson (4th season)
Coaching Record: 13-30 (all at Indiana)
Offensive Coordinators: Greg Frey (4th season)
Kevin Johns (4th season)
Defensive Coordinators: William Inge (2nd season)
Brian Knorr (1st season)
Returning Starters: 17 (8 offense, 9 defense)
Last Season: 5-7 (3-5 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UM 63 – IU 47 (2013)
All-Time Series: Michigan leads 53-9
Record at Michigan Stadium: Michigan leads 30-5
Current Streak: Michigan 18
Last 10 Meetings:  Michigan 10-0
Last Indiana Win: 1987 (14-10)
Last Indiana Road Win: 1967 (27-20)

But it’s not as if Indiana is a world-bater or anything. Kevin Wilson had the Hoosiers on the right trajectory heading into the season, going 1-11 in 2011, 4-8 in 2012, and 5-7 a year ago. But the two-quarterback platoon that he used to great offensive success last season dissolved when one of them, Tre Roberson, transferred to Illinois State in June. That left the other, Nate Sudfeld, to assume the quarterback role by himself. He provided a better arm, but not the dual-threat ability that Roberson brought to the table, and while Indiana’s offense started the season pretty good, it was clear that it was a step behind last season’s.

After beating Indiana State in Week 1, IU lost at Bowling Green, 45-42. But they responded the following week with a 31-27 upset of 18th-ranked Missouri on the road, giving Wilson more road wins over top 25 teams than Brady Hoke. The euphoria would be short-lived as Indiana returned home to get throttled by Maryland, 37-15. They rebounded with a 49-24 win over North Texas, but dropped back-to-back conference games to Iowa (45-29) and Michigan State (56-17).

All but the last one were with Sudfeld behind center, but Wilson’s hopes for a winning season became extremely difficult when Sudfeld went down against Iowa with a separated shoulder. Suddenly, a position that was considered a strength three months ago was left with a true freshman with no college experience.

Does Indiana have the ability to come to Ann Arbor and steal a victory the same way it did in Columbia, Mo.? Or will Michigan’s defense prove too much for the unseasoned signal caller? Let’s take a look at the matchups.

Michigan defense vs Indiana offense: When Indiana has the ball

Indiana’s offense ranks 32nd nationally in total offense (460.3 yards per game), 64th in scoring (30.1 points per game), eighth in rushing (289.9 yards per game), and 112th in passing (170.4 yards per game). It also ranks 103rd in third-down conversions (36 percent) and 98th in red zone offense (78 percent).

The main reason for the success Indiana has had is running back Tevin Coleman, who leads the nation with 170.3 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for at least 122 yards in every game this season with a high of 247 against Indiana State. He also rushed for 219, averaging 14.9 yards per carry, against Iowa’s stout run defense and 132, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, against Michigan State.

The passing game is a different story, however. The Hoosiers average 170.4 yards per game through the air. In fact, Coleman has rushed for more yards (1,204) by himself than the Hoosiers have passed for (1,193). Sudfeld completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,151 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions before his injury. His replacement, true freshman Zander Diamont, completed just 5-of-15 for 11 yards in his first game action against Michigan State two weeks ago.

Shane Wynn is the leading receiver with 27 catches for 424 yards and two touchdowns. He caught two touchdowns against Michigan last season. Senior Nick Stoner has 18 catches for 177 yards and one score, while Coleman is the team’s third-leading pass catcher with 17 for 140 yards. Freshman J-Shun Harris II is the only other Hoosier with double-digit receptions with 14 for 139 and two scores.

Michigan offense vs Indiana defense: When Michigan has the ball

Defense has never been a specialty of Wilson’s in Bloomington. A year ago, Indiana’s scoring offense ranked 16th nationally, but its scoring defense ranked 115th. Only nine teams in the nation allowed more points per game. But this offseason Wilson brought in Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr to change from a 4-3 to the 3-4 that he ran at Wake. Knorr elevated Wake’s defense from 91st in 2012 to 31st in 2013, but that kind of success at Indiana is a much tougher task.

The line consists of sophomore tackle Darius Latham — a former four-star recruit –, redshirt junior nose tackle Adarius Rayner, and senior end Bobby Richardson. Richardson has 4.5 tackles for loss, while Latham and Rayner each have two. Richardson leads the team with four sacks. Redshirt sophomore tackle Ralph Green III ranks second on the team with four tackles for loss.

Converted defensive end Nick Mangieri plays the bandit linebacker spot and has 25 tackles, two for loss, and two sacks. SAM linebacker Forisse Hardin has 32 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and a sack. Middle linebacker T.J. Simmons leads the team with 43 tackles to go along with 2.5 for loss and one sack, while fifth-year senior David Cooper has 35 tackles and one for loss.

The secondary has been picked on all season, allowing 283.3 yards per game through the air, which ranks 111th nationally. The corners are senior Tim Bennett and redshirt junior Michael Hunter. Bennett ranks second on the team in tackles with 38 and leads the team with eight pass breakups. The safeties are sophomore Antonio Allen and senior Mark Murphy. Allen is the team’s third-leading tackler.

Special Teams: The other third

Redshirt freshman kicker Aaron Del Grosso has made just 1-of-4 field goals, but fellow redshirt freshman Griffin Oakes has supplanted him by converting 4-of-5 with a long of 58. Redshirt junior punter Erich Toth ranks sixth in the Big Ten with an average of 41.3 yards per punt. Wynn is the main returner, averaging 22 yards per kick return, which ranks eighth in the conference, and 5.8 yards per punt return.

Prediction

Michigan’s offense has scored just 14.4 points per game in the last five, but it shouldn’t have any troubles against Indiana’s defense that has allowed just one team all season to score fewer than 24 points — FCS Indiana State in Week 1. The Hoosiers’ defense was the cure for Michigan’s struggling offense last season and that should follow suit on Saturday. It certainly won’t be the record-setting performance that we witnessed a year ago, but it should look a little bit more like a normal offense.

Defensively, Michigan will look to pressure the inexperienced Diamont into mistakes. Coleman will get his yards like he does every game and like Minnesota’s David Cobb and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford did to the Wolverines. But as long as Michigan’s defense can prevent him from breaking long touchdown runs, it should be able to hold IU low enough to outscore them.

Michigan 34 – Indiana 20