Preview and Predictions: Michigan football vs. Indiana




 

Preview

Michigan is trying to keep its undefeated record alive this Saturday when the Wolverines travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (3-2).

The maize and blue are 60-10 all time against Indiana. Last season, the Wolverines defeated Indiana, 29-7, in Ann Arbor. Michigan has had success playing in Memorial Stadium over the years. The Wolverines are 19-2 against Indiana at Memorial Stadium.

The Hoosiers started 3-0 before losing back-to-back games against Cincinnati and Nebraska by a combined score of 80-45. Head coach Tom Allen has his team playing gritty and resilient football after finishing 2-10 last season, but it will be a tough task against a loaded Michigan squad on Saturday.

Indiana offense vs. Michigan defense:

Indiana scoring offense: 87th (27.2 points per game)

Michigan scoring defense: 6th (11.6 points per game allowed)

Indiana rushing offense: 116th (105.2 yards per game)

Michigan rushing defense: 14th (94.2 yards per game allowed)

Indiana passing offense: 33rd (278.8 yards per game)

Michigan passing defense: 10th (157.8 yards per game allowed)

The Hoosiers went out and landed former Missouri Tigers' quarterback Connor Bazelak from the transfer portal, and he immediately took over the starting job. Indiana throws the ball more than any other team in the country this year, and it has an up-tempo approach to the offense. Bazelak has attempted a whopping 246 passes, but he has only completed 52% of those through five games. He has thrown for 1,394 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Bazelak has the ability to pick teams apart if he has a clean pocket, but he has been turnover prone and even more inaccurate when the opposing team can get pressure on him. Pro Football Focus gives Bazelak a 56.6 passing grade for the season. But the key is, when he has a clean pocket that grade is at a 66.3 and when he starts to get pressure it drops to a 41.3 grade.

PFF gives his offensive line a 45.7 grade (119th nationally). The Hoosiers have allowed 12 sacks.

The Wolverines have recorded seven sacks in the past two games, and this could be another game where Michigan generates quarterback pressure against a very suspect offensive line.

The Hoosiers have two guys that primarily run the ball. Former Auburn running back Shaun Shivers is the lead back. Shivers has carried the ball 78 times for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Josh Henderson, a former North Carolina running back, is Shivers' backup. Henderson has run the ball 41 times for 181 yards and two scores.

In the passing game, Indiana has four guys that can get involved on Saturday. Cam Camper (418 yards), D.J. Matthews Jr. (198 yards), Emery Simmons (149 yards) and tight end AJ Barner (121 yards) all have double-digit receptions on the season.

Michigan appears to keep improving in the passing game - it gave up 246 yards last week to Iowa, but a chunk of that came late in the fourth - and this Indiana team will throw the ball a ton on the Wolverines. With the Hoosiers being an up-tempo team, it can be hard for the defense to substitute.

Michigan offense vs. Indiana defense:

Michigan scoring offense: 6th (45.4 points per game)

Indiana scoring defense: 99th (30.4 points per game allowed)

Michigan rushing offense: 13th (221.8 yards per game)

Indiana rushing defense: 69th (142.6 yards per game allowed)

Michigan passing offense: 79th (234.8 yards per game)

Indiana passing defense: 118th (277.8 yards per game allowed)

Sophomore J.J. McCarthy enters the game as the most accurate passer in all of college football. He is completing 78% of his passes through the first five games. The only knock on the former five-star recruit has been the lack of hitting the deep throws the past two games. But other than that, McCarthy has played a turnover-free season so far and on paper, he should be able to exploit the 118th-ranked passing defense.

The Hoosiers have intercepted four passes by four different players. In the secondary, Michigan will need to keep an eye out for senior Tiawan Mullen. He has 17 tackles and one interception.

The one thing the Hoosiers' defense has going for it is it ranks 20th in the country with 14 sacks. Freshman linebacker Dasan McCullough leads the team with four.

The Wolverines have one of the best rushing attacks in football. Blake Corum is the No. 4 rusher with 611 yards through five games, and he leads all of college football with 10 touchdowns scored. The Wolverines got Donovan Edwards back last week, and he had a strong game. Corum and Edwards will be tough to stop, even against the 69th-ranked run defense that the Hoosiers have.

Linebacker Cam Jones leads the Hoosiers attack with 54 tackles. The next in line is linebacker Aaron Casey with 38 tackles.

Michigan has three players with double-digit receptions this season. Ronnie Bell leads the squad with 19 catches for 269 yards and one score. Roman Wilson has 12 receptions for 224 yards and three scores. And tight end Luke Schoonmaker has quickly become McCarthy's go-to guy the past two games and he has 14 receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown.

The game can be seen on Fox at noon EDT. See the next page for our staff predictions

STAFF PREDICTIONS

Wolverines Wire staff writers Isaiah Hole and Trent Knoop share their thoughts on the game, two soft predictions, one bold prediction and the final score.

Isaiah Hole:

Indiana started 3-0, but that was fool's gold. Though the win over Illinois looks excellent in hindsight and the Hoosiers have found ways to win early on, the schedule gets tougher, and IU is just not that good.

Tom Allen's squad has attempted more passes than any team in the country, with 246 throws, but with 52.8% completion, it's not going as planned. The Hoosiers are 116th in rushing, an against a team like Michigan that can get ahead in a hurry, that's not a recipe for winning - unless they can get ahead and stay that way.

Indiana has allowed 12 sacks overall on the season (2.4/game) and is going to see perhaps the best defense it's seen all year, except for Illinois.

On defense, it's been bad, and Michigan will have one of the better offenses that the Hoosiers have seen thus far, though it has seen decent offenses. Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Nebraska all have solid offensive attacks, and Indiana has managed to beat two of those.

Still, Indiana is overmatched, and this isn't one that's likely to go the Hoosiers' way.

-Soft predictions

  • Blake Corum gets over 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns

  • Michigan nets four sacks

-Bold prediction

  • Michigan unleashes the passing attack a bit more, with J.J. McCarthy amassing 250 yards

-Final score prediction

  • Michigan 31, Indiana 17

Trent Knoop:

Indiana had a great start to the season winning three straight. The biggest win is against Illinois early in the year, but the Hoosiers appear to be quickly falling downhill after getting beat handily by Cincinnati and Nebraska.

The schedule doesn't get easier for the Hoosiers this weekend when they host Michigan. The Wolverines have some swagger after beating Iowa in Iowa City for the first time in four tries. J.J. McCarthy continues to play at a high level, Blake Corum is in the Heisman talk, and the Michigan defense is playing smoothly.

If the Wolverines can get to Connor Bazelak early in the game, I don't see the Hoosiers doing much of anything. But the bottom line is, as long as Michigan doesn't turn the ball over multiple times and its not looking ahead to the Nittany Lions, the Wolverines are just too talented to lose this game to the Hoosiers.

-Soft predictions

  • Blake Corum runs for 2 scores

  • The Wolverines intercept Connor Bazelak at least once

-Bold prediction

  • .J.J. McCarthy connects with at least two passes thrown 25 or more yards.

Final score prediction

  • Michigan 48, Indiana 21

List

Michigan vs. Indiana: Three keys to a Michigan football victory

 

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire

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