Friday, October 1, 2010

Indiana preview

Tomorrow, Michigan heads into Bloomington, Indiana, to take on the mighty (but not that mighty) Indiana Hoosiers. Last year's thriller was one more feather in the Tate Forcier Heisman cap as he led Michigan to a last-drive win with a bum shoulder. Unfortunately, it was Michigan's last win against a I-A opponent. But you know all that. Let's look at the numbers:
Passing105th nationally
264.75 YPG
50st nationally
231.50 YPG
Rushing53rd nationally
135.25 YPG
2nd nationally
331.25 YPG
Scoring64th nationally
23.00 PPG
11th nationally
41.25 PPG
Passing20th nationally
161.33 YPG
11th nationally
304.33 YPG
Rushing92nd nationally
177.00 YPG
96th nationally
113.00 YPG
Scoring43rd nationally
19.33 PPG
10th nationally
41.33 PPG
Indiana has one of the more potent passing attacks in the country, led by senior quarterback Ben Chappell. Chappell is completing 72% of his passes and has thrown 9 touchdowns to zero interceptions. The point being that he's been remarkably efficient running Indiana's pistol offense. Unfortunately for Michigan, despite the hot start, their defense (particularly the secondary) is just as cavernous as we all feared. UMass shredded Michigan through the air and Notre Dame would have too if Dayne Crist wouldn't have been horribly concussed on the first drive of the game. But alas, karma is just and Michigan is 4-0.

On the other side of the ball, Indiana's rush defense is horrendous, especially given the cupcake schedule they've faced (Towson, @Western Kentucky, Akron). If Michigan can't run rings around what appears to be the worst rushing defense in the Big Ten, 2010 is going to shape up to be something ugly. Granted, Michael Shaw is out for the game, and much of the non-Denard rushing duties are going to fall on Vincent Smith and Michael Cox's shoulders, but that shouldn't make too much of a difference against what should be a really poor defense.

Prediction: I'm much more pessimistic about this team than most of the Michigan blogosphere and see this as a very real trap game. Though Indiana's offensive numbers are definitely a little better than they should be given the strength of their schedule, completing 72% of your passes is not something to toy with. Michigan is going to be in for a serious fight in this game, one that they could, in my eyes, very easily lose.

Then again, Indiana's defense looks to be even worse than Michigan's, and given Denard's ability to run roughshod over, well, everyone, Michigan should be able to score at will. As always for this team, winning the turnover battle will be key. If Michigan gives Indiana too many chances to score, they will lose this game. Michigan will have to score on basically every possession because I don't see them getting a whole lot of defensive stops. On the other hand, if they can get a few bounces in the turnover department, this game could get out of hand and see playing time for Forcier and Devin Gardner.

Expect a lot of the nickel package we saw last week with Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott in the game, trying to defend the mass of deadly Indiana receivers. Offensively, expect more of the same. I suspect Michigan will show one or two different plays/sets that work resoundingly, but otherwise, it'll be a lot of QB off-tackle and bubbly bubble screens.

Michigan will get a stop or two in the first half and go into the second with a decent lead. The inability to kick field goals is probably going to make this game a little hairier than anyone would like, but in the end, Michigan pulls it out and wins, albeit closely. Michigan 42-38


Anonymous said...

whoa....good prediction

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