Michigan is on a two game winning streak and looking for its third in a row today as they travel to Indiana. The last road game versus Minnesota was a little scary for the Wolverines. It took a goal line stop to get the win, so hopefully today will not be a similar game. Although it is possible because Indiana has a very talented, quick to score offense. The downfall for them is its defense. Michigan put up 49 points last week on Rutgers and honestly, can do the same today. Michigan needs to win today to stay alive in the Big Ten Conference championship race. Here is your last look at everything you need to know prior to kickoff.
What: #15 Michigan (7-2, 4-1) vs Indiana (4-5, 0-5)
When: Nov. 14, 2015 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana
Channel: ABC/ESPN2 Check local listings
Michigan leads the series 54-9 and has not lost to Indiana since 1987. Last year the Wolverines won 34-10, but the Hoosiers were without its starting quarterback.
Michigan took care of business beating down Rutgers 49-16. Indiana lost to #9 Iowa 35-27.
Players to Watch for on Michigan:
Quarterback Jake Rudock played a great game last week, throwing for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had several connections that gave them big yardage and easily moved the ball downfield. With the Hoosiers’ poor defense, he should be able to do the same thing this week. Rudock just needs to take care of the football and continue to play smart. The defense will have to watch Rudock in the pocket because he has good running ability as well. He scored a rushing touchdown on a spectacular leap three yards from the goal line.
Obviously, the Indiana coaching staff will try to be prepared for Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is one of the most exciting players in the country. He scored another touchdown last week when he took a screen pass and ran through the defense for around a 20 yard score. He will continue to be the punt returner as well as cornerback. Indiana might want to try to stay away from his side of the field.
Players to Watch for on Indiana:
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is a talented athlete who the Hoosiers will need to play some flawless football if they want to beat Michigan. He averages 278 yards passing per game and is the Hoosier’s all time leader in touchdown passes with 49. He has great decision making and that will need to be on display today as he faces a very skilled Michigan defense. A defense that is stingy when its opponents reach the red zone.
Running back Jordan Howard ran for 174 yards and scored twice last week versus Iowa. He will be trying to do the same today so he can take some pressure off the passing game. Howard is going up against a defensive front that has struggled a little these past three games, giving up some big rushing plays. The Wolverines will need to play aggressive and smart against this offense because Indiana can put a lot of points on the board and move the ball quickly.
The group that can make the difference in this ball game is Michigan’s defensive line. If these guys can plug the gaps in the line and shutdown the running game of the Hoosiers, then that will force Indiana into a lot of 3rd and long situations. The D-line will need to put heavy pressure on Sudfeld, forcing him to throw quickly and to throw some interceptions. I believe they will get a few sacks as this is a very talented group of pass rushers. If the front line does its job, the secondary will take care of the rest.
This game does scare me a little just because Indiana’s potential to score easily. Michigan has to tackle better than last week because they missed several tackles giving Rutgers more yards than they should have had. If they do that again this week, the Hoosiers will put the ball in the end zone instead of field goals. I believe the defense will play similar to the way they did in the first six games of the season, shutting down the run game and creating turnovers. I look for Rudock to have another big game throwing for three touchdowns, including one to Peppers. I think the game will be closer than we want at halftime, then Michigan will pull ahead in the second half. Michigan gets another conference win 38-21.