To say that the Michigan-Indiana series has been one-sided would
be the vastest of vast understatements. The Wolverines own a 47-9
overall record against the Hoosiers, and since 1968, Indiana has
won just once — a 14-10 win at Memorial Stadium in 1987. Last
year, the Wolverines prevailed 31-17 in their most uninspiring home
effort of the year. Indiana (0-1 Big Ten, 2-2 overall) began this
season with a 41-10 thumping of Central Michigan and a surprising
30-24 win over Oregon at Autzen Stadium, but the Hoosiers have
dropped two straight games at Kentucky and against Michigan State.
Michigan is coming off an impressive 30-17 victory over Iowa (1-0,
3-1).

Michigan Football
Indiana running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis might have trouble finding room against Michigan on Saturday. (

 

Michigan passing offense vs. Indiana passing defense: True
freshman Chad Henne — who had a knack for zoning in on
Braylon Edwards in the Wolverines’ first three games —
spread the ball around last week, hitting six different receivers.
While Edwards is still Michigan’s top target, last week Jason
Avant seemed to return to 2003 form as the Wolverines’ most
reliable possession receiver. The Indiana secondary is headed by
senior free safety Herana-Daze Jones. A former linebacker, Jones
plays a very similar big-hit style to Michigan strong safety Ernest
Shazor. The Wolverines should have their way with Indiana’s
inexperienced cornerbacks.

Edge: Michigan

Michigan rushing offense vs. Indiana rushing defense: The
Hoosiers are giving up 222 yards per game on the ground — a
surprising stat, considering coach Gerry DiNardo entered the season
with six returning starters in the front seven. Junior linebacker
Kyle Killion does everything for the Hoosiers. Besides leading the
Big Ten in tackles with 44, Killion also ranks second in the
conference in sacks with three. It looks as though Michigan has
found a running back to carry the bulk of the load in Mike Hart.
The 5-foot-9, 194-pound true freshman has 51 attempts for 220 yards
in the last two weeks. The Wolverines will keep last week’s
changes on the offensive line: (from left tackle to right tackle)
Adam Stenavich, Leo Henige, David Baas, Matt Lentz and Jake
Long.

Edge: Michigan

Indiana passing offense vs. Michigan passing defense: Senior
wide receiver Courtney Roby will test Michigan’s inconsistent
secondary. Roby needs just 13 receptions and 279 yards to become
Indiana’s career leader in both categories. The 6-foot,
185-pound speedster joined the Indiana track team for a race before
spring ball and posted the school’s fastest 60-meter time
(6.9 seconds) of the year. But after Roby, Indiana quarterback Matt
LoVecchio’s best target is running back BenJarvis
Green-Ellis. The Wolverines lead the NCAA in interceptions, but
they’ve also given up 239 passing yards per game — a
number that puts them at 82nd in the country in pass defense.

Edge: Michigan

Indiana rushing offense vs. Michigan rushing defense: The
strength of the Hoosier offense lies in Green-Ellis. The sophomore
had his best game of the year against Kentucky — rushing for
115 yards on 23 carries — but one week later, Michigan State
stuffed Green-Ellis, holding him to just 65 yards on 23 carries. In
2003, Green-Ellis carried the ball 21 times in the Big House, but
managed just 70 yards (a meager 3.3 yards per pop). Green-Ellis
would have to have a hell of a day to top that sum this season, as
Michigan boasts the No. 2 rushing defense in the country and is
coming off a game in which it held Iowa to -15 yards on the
ground.

Edge: Michigan

Special teams: Standing just 5-foot-5, 167 pounds, sophomore
Lance Bennett is one of the most dangerous special teams players in
the country. Bennett averages 34.1 yards per kick return and 13.4
yards per punt return and has notched a touchdown in both facets of
the game. Bryan Robertson has hit 6-of-7 field goals and punter
Tyson Beattie has averaged 41.8 per punt. Outside of kickoff
coverage and Adam Finley’s punting, Michigan has been
mediocre at best on special teams.

Edge: Indiana

Intangibles: The Wolverines own Indiana, holding a 13-1 mark at
Memorial Stadium, but the Hoosiers have nothing to lose. Last year,
Michigan jumped out to a big lead, but then played a marginal
second half to keep the game interesting.

Edge: Push

Prediction: Indiana has been a Big Ten cellar-dweller for many
years, and this year’s team doesn’t look like
it’s really going to change that. The Wolverines will roll,
behind yet another big day from Edwards. Don’t be surprised
if the Michigan ‘D’ produces a bevy of turnovers,
again.

Michigan 31, Indiana 14

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *