Rush Offense vs. Indiana Rush Defense
Michigan is #80 nationally in averaging 4.1 yards/carry altogether, but the top two running backs - Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green - are averaging 3.5 and 3.2 yards/carry, respectively. Quarterback Devin Gardner leads the team in rushing yards with 439 and is gaining 5.5 yards/carry, but he has taken a beating recently and is starting to look a little worn down. The same could be said for left tackle Taylor Lewan, who missed the second half of last week's game due to an undisclosed injury. The rest of the offensive line is/was in flux, too, with left guard Chris Bryant getting replaced by Joey Burzynski, Graham Glasgow learning to play center on the fly, right guard Kyle Kalis getting replaced temporarily by Burzynski, Michael Schofield flip-flopping across the line to fill in for Lewan, and Erik Magnuson stepping in at right tackle. Meanwhile, Indiana is #110 in the nation in rushing yardage allowed per game, giving up almost 217 yards weekly. The patchwork offensive line will face off against redshirt junior defensive end Ryan Phillis (6'3", 260 lbs.), sophomore defensive end Nick Mangieri (6'5", 260 lbs.), junior 3-tech Bobby Richardson (6'3", 281 lbs.), and sophomore nose tackle Alex Todd (6'3", 301 lbs.). Mangieri leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss. Three of the top four tacklers are defensive backs, with redshirt junior linebacker David Cooper (6'1", 235 lbs.) tied for the team lead at 45 tackles.
Pass Offense vs. Indiana Pass Defense
Michigan is #72 nationally in passing yards with 222.5 per game but ranks #45 in passer rating. Gardner is 86/146 for 1,276 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Michigan's pass protection has generally been solid, but he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and/or lock onto receivers, which has resulted in too many turnovers. Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon is the team's leading receiver with 31 catches for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns, but tight end/U-back Devin Funchess has come on strong the past two weeks with 11 catches for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. The other receivers have been uninspiring so far. Indiana gives up 240 yards/game through the air, good for #76 in the nation. Fifth year senior safety Greg Heban (6'1", 205 lbs.) has 2 picks, and three other guys have 1 each. Junior cornerback Tim Bennett (5'9", 175 lbs.) has 14 pass breakups and 1 of those interceptions, so I would expect Michigan to attack redshirt sophomore corner Michael Hunter (6'1", 190 lbs.). Redshirt junior defensive end John Laihinen (6'4", 255 lbs.) leads the team with 3.5 sacks, and the team has 12 total, good enough for 52nd nationally. Funchess will be a matchup problem for anyone, and Gallon should be tough to handle if used properly. If Michigan can run the ball a little bit and keep Gardner from getting happy feet, the Wolverines should be able to make some more big plays in the passing game.
Rush Defense vs. Indiana Rush Offense
Michigan is #9 overall, giving up 89.5 yards/game on the ground; and they're #10 at 2.86 yards/carry allowed. They don't get a ton of penetration, but the linebackers diagnose plays quickly, the team swarms to the ball, and they're mostly sure tacklers. Middle linebacker Desmond Morgan and weakside linebacker James Ross III share the team lead with 42 tackles, and defensive end Frank Clark leads the team with 5 tackles for loss. Outside linebacker Jake Ryan returned to action last week, which could help out even more. Indiana is #64 with 173 yards/game and #49 with 4.7 yards/carry. Sophomore tailback Tevin Coleman (6'1", 205 lbs.) has 557 yards and 8 touchdowns, and fifth year backup Stephen Houston (6'0", 230 lbs.) averages 6.6 yards/carry. Sophomore starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld (6'5", 230 lbs.) is the throwing quarterback, while redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson (6'0", 200 lbs.) is the runner with 27 carries for 97 yards and 4 touchdowns. It might be tougher sledding this week with Indiana down to its third right guard and second right tackle, due to a few season-ending injuries. It's a fairly light crew up front with the five starters averaging 6'4" and 291 lbs. Sophomore left tackle Jason Spriggs (6'7", 297 lbs.) was All-Big Ten Honorable Mention last season. I expect Michigan to be able to do a solid job against the run because they almost always do, but they are going to get gashed at times due to the nature of Indiana's high-tempo offense.
Pass Defense vs. Indiana Pass Offense
The Wolverines have been susceptible to the passing game this year, giving up a lot of short passes and an occasional deep ball. The Wolverines are tied for #64 nationally at 229.7 yards/game allowed through the air. However, they're holding opponents to a 52.6% completion percentage (18th overall) and a 109.98 rating (24th). The Wolverines have racked up 14 sacks (38th), and Clark has 4 in the last three games. Meanwhile, cornerback Blake Countess has 4 interceptions, and both cornerback Raymon Taylor and free safety Jarrod Wilson have 2 picks each; the Wolverines have 9 total (17th). The short completions have been frustrating, but the numbers suggest that Michigan is getting the job done. Both Sudfeld and Roberson complete approximately 60% of their passes, but Sudfeld has five times as many attempts. Combined, they have 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while throwing for 1,960 yards, and they've been taking just 1.5 sacks/game. They're #13 nationally with 331.5 yards/game through the air. The starters at wideout are junior Cody Latimer (6'3", 215 lbs.), senior Kofi Hughes (6'2", 217 lbs.), and junior Shane Wynn (5'7", 170 lbs.). Those three have combined for 75 receptions, 1202 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Fifth year senior Ted Bolser (6'6", 252 lbs.) is the top red zone target with 5 touchdowns while averaging 10.8 yards/reception. Even though Michigan has harassed teams into low completion percentages, I think they're going to have a tough time getting to the quarterback, and Michigan doesn't have enough talent at defensive backs to keep all of Sudfeld and Roberson's targets in front of them. The Hoosiers will probably put up a good deal of yardage and some points on the board, although it may not be enough to win.
- Players who held scholarship offers from Michigan include DT Darius Latham and WR Shane Wynn.
- Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Greg Frey coached the offensive line under Rich Rodriguez at Michigan from 2008-2010.
- Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/safeties coach Doug Mallory played at Michigan from 1984-1987. As a safety, he recorded 182 tackles and 6 interceptions for his career and was named team captain in 1987.
- Native Michiganders on the roster include redshirt junior OT Bill Ivan (Charlevoix), freshman K Dong Kim (Okemos), junior OG Bernard Taylor (Detroit Dakota), and redshirt junior FB Matt Zakrzewski (Traverse City St. Francis).
Last Time They Played . . .
- On October 2, 2010, Michigan beat Indiana in Bloomington by a score of 42-35.
- Denard Robinson passed for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns; he also had 217 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. The last touchdown came with 17 seconds left on a 4-yard run to break the tie.
- Roy Roundtree and Junior Hemingway combined for 8 catches, 255 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
- Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell completed 45/64 passes for 480 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 pick.
- Indiana WR Tandon Doss had 15 catches for 221 yards.
- Then-free safety Cameron Gordon had 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup, and an interception that he returned 19 yards.
- Michigan has a one-week aberration where it looks like they can run the ball. Toussaint goes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- Al Borges ditches the unbalanced line after it lost its effectiveness against Penn State.
- James Ross makes his first career interception, and Courtney Avery gets his first of the year.
- Michigan scores a special teams touchdown.
- Michigan 41, Indiana 28