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October 31, 2014 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-31
Note:
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Breakdown: Ground game key vs. Hoosiers

November 1, 2014: Indiana
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By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
While Michigan football coach
Brady Hoke said Monday his team
isn't focused on making a bowl
game, there's little else for the
Wolverines to aim for. Needing
three more wins to qualify
for a postseason bid, the quest
begins Saturday when Michigan
hosts Indiana in its annual
Homecoming game.
Last year's matchup was a
shootout that Michigan won,
63-47, in which then-redshirt
junior quarterback Devin
Gardner accounted for five
touchdowns and almost 600 yards
of offense. And while this year's
game could be a barnburner, this
time, both teams sport struggling
quarterbacks, so the ground game
should dictate the matchup.
Here's a breakdown of
Michigan's meeting with the
Hoosiers.
Michigan pass offense vs.
Indiana pass defense
Here's the thing: if this is going
to be a shootout like last year, it
begins with the passing offense.
Gardner has had a mostly down
season that includes having not
thrown for over 200 yards in a
game while throwing just six
touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
But the flashes of greatness have
been there and will be needed
Saturday in order for Michigan
(1-3 Big Ten, 3-5 overall) to keep
up with Indiana's high-powered
offense.
Last week against Michigan
State, junior wide receiver Devin
Funchess had several bad drops,
including a pair in the end zone.
Gardner and the passing offense
will need Funchess to show his
big-play ability to move the ball.
On the other side, Indiana's
defense is suspect at best, giving
up 34.9 points per game -105th
in the country. The Hoosier
secondary allows 283 yards per
game and has forced six turnovers
through eight games.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan rush offense vs.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner will need to do some running of his own, beit designed or improvised, if he hopes to spark a stagnant offense.

Indiana rush defense
Since sophomore Derrick
Green was ruled out for the season
in early October, Michigan has
struggled with running the ball.
The Wolverines average 4.4 yards
per rush behind a questionable
offensive line. Sophomore
running back De'Veon Smith and
redshirt junior Justice Hayes
have taken the bulk of Green's
work, and Smith has scored in
three of'his last four games.
Michigan's protection will
need to look out for defensive
tackle Bobby Richardson, who
leads Indiana (0-3, 3-4) with four
sacks on the season. But overall,
the Hoosier defensive front is
hardly daunting, so Smith and
Hayes should be able to make
some plays.
Edge: Michigan
Indiana pass offense vs.
Michigan pass defense

Due to injuries, the Hoosiers
are starting freshman Zander
Diamont, their third quarterback
of the season. Two weeks ago
against Michigan State, Diamont
made his first career start and
threw for 11 yards on 5-of-
15 passing. While he's sure to
improve on that performance,
the young quarterback remains a
question mark.
Michigan's secondary has been
up and down this season. The unit
ranks seventh in the conference
in pass defense, allowing 209.9
yards per game. Freshman
cornerback Jabrill Peppers
remains sidelined by an apparent
leg injury, so a combination of
redshirt junior Blake Countess,
sophomore Jourdan Lewis and
senior Raymon Taylor will man
the secondary.
Edge: Michigan
Indiana rush offense vs.
Michigan rush defense

This is the key matchup to coveragehasbee
watch. Indiana running back the season. Indi
Tevin Coleman, who is on pace Oakes has been
to run for more than 2,000 yards but the Hoosie
this season, leads the nation in unit hasn't prods
rushing, yards per carry, 100- and has yet tor
yard games and yards from impact.
scrimmage. The junior averages Edge: Michig
an absurd 8.8 yards per carry and
has rushed for at least 100 yards Intangibles
in every game this season.
Michigan's rush defense has Both teamsi
been its strength all season, keep their hope
save for last week's debacle berth alive. It's
against Michigan State's Jeremy Michigan Stadi
Langford. The Wolverines are Big House to be,
16th in the country in rush and former pla
defense, allowing just 109.3 yards excitement. Bu
per game. Something has got to will be positive.,
give here. the student sect
Edge: Indiana pledged to wear

ensolid formostof
ana kicker Griffin
good on kickoffs,
rs' special-teams
uced any big plays
make much of an
an
need this one to
es of a postseason
Homecoming at
m, so expect the
filled with alumni
ayers to generate
it not everything
All eyes will be on
ion, as many have
white in support
ic Director Dave
Michigan 27,

Special teams
Senior kicker Matt Wile has
significantly improved since his
slow start, and Michigan's kickoff

of firing Athlet
Brandon.
Edge: Push
Prediction:
Indiana 21

GOING AS DAVE BRANDON OR BRADY HOKE FOR HALLOWEEN?
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SFootballSaturday, October 31, 201

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