Throughout the season during game week, we will be taking a look at what Michigan's opponent that Saturday has done so far and what the team looks like. With the game against Indiana being a week ten opponent, we automatically go to the Hoosiers' loss to Iowa and their five game losing streak.
Indiana Overview: Can't Win A B1G Game
Ricky: Indiana started the season strong with four straight wins, but Big Ten play hasn’t been kind to the Hoosiers. They’ve posted an 0-5 record against conference teams, but have been competitive in four of those games. The Hoosiers gave Ohio State and Michigan State scares, lost a heartbreaker to Rutgers and fell apart in the second half vs. undefeated Iowa last week. Michigan is rolling at 7-2, but there’s always a possibility for a trap game. Does Indiana represent that to you?
Zach: In three of the five losses for Indiana this season, the differential was at least eight points or less. That also includes a 21-20 halftime score against Michigan State on the road. The problem with Indiana is that they somehow refuse to successfully finish games in their favor. Imagine if they were able to knock off both Ohio State and Iowa, we could have witness a Top 25 matchup this weekend when Michigan rolls into Bloomington. The Hoosiers are 3-3 at home this season, with the losses coming at a combined 18 points. Being that they’re a more competitive and lively team at Memorial Stadium, it could be a trap for Michigan if they don’t play their cards right for four quarters. With that being said, the Indiana defense has been a nightmare this season, a scapegoat for their close defeats, what’s the leading cause of their woes?
Ricky: I think the leading cause of their woes is fourth-quarter play. Indiana has allowed 427 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and the numbers worsen for its passing defense, which ranks 127th in passing yards allowed (881 yards) in the final 15 minutes of play. That’s why you were able to see Ezekiel Elliott and Connor Cook lead their teams to victory late. Offensively, Indiana is an above-average team, ranking 48th in rushing offense and 31st in passing offense amongst FBS teams. The Hoosiers also boast an experienced quarterback in Nate Sudfeld, who is entering his career third game against the Wolverines. We know how Michigan has struggled against experienced quarterbacks(ie: Travis Wilson, Cook, Matt Leidner) this season. Do you expect the same against Sudfeld?
Zach: Michigan has allowed just 159.4 yards per game through the air, good for fourth in the country. But Indiana’s offensive unit isn’t a pushover though, ranked in the top 30 in total offense and passing. If Indiana finally wants to collect a Big Ten win, it’ll depend on the experience and talent of Nate Sudfeld. Putting points on the board hasn’t been an issue for Indiana, but the Wolverines have allowed the fewest red-zone opportunities to opponents in the country this season, according to Bleacher Report. Pushing the agenda to Michigan’s offense, will we see Jim Harbaugh elect to run up the score again? Or will it be a low scoring affair from Jake Rudock and company?
Ricky: Will Indiana celebrate being down 19 at halftime? I think if Indiana finds a way to enrage Harbaugh, then yeah, pedal to the metal on that scoreboard. I’m expecting a rather quiet game if Michigan can pull away early. Rudock was electric against Rutgers and has earned lots of praise as of late, but I’m really interested to see if the running game can make a dent against Indiana’s defense. Zach, will the running game return to its pre-Michigan State effort or will Rudock have to lift Michigan again?
Zach: Indiana’s rush defense is not bad. Not good, but not bad, currently ranked 76th in the country with 174 yards per game. Michigan’s running back unit could reciprocate it’s pre-MSU attack like you said, or it could walk out of Bloomington with a quiet performance. It won’t matter because Jake Rudock will have a field day against Indiana’s secondary. Opponents have been able to throw over 300 yards a game against the Hoosiers, dropping them back to sixth-to-last in the FBS. It’ll be a record breaking game for Rudock on Saturday
Recap: Iowa 35, Indiana 27
Indiana battled undefeated Iowa and gave a good fight, but lost its footing in the fourth quarter, falling 35-27.
The Hoosiers trailed 21-20 early in the fourth quarter but weren’t able to stop Iowa’s balanced offense, which scored touchdowns on its following two drives.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard battled a back injury but lifted the Hawkeyes late with his 10-yard touchdown pass. He finished the game 19-for-31 passing for 233 yards.
Akrum Wadley powered Iowa’s running game, rushing for 120 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. LeShun Daniels Jr. added 78 yards and two scores on 23 carries.
Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld looked sloppy against Iowa’s defense, posting a 37.9 quarterback rating. He completed 16-of-37 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Detroit product Desmond King picked off Sudfeld for his eighth interception of the season. He is now tied for Iowa’s single-season record.
Jordan Howard posted another strong game for Indiana, rushing for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Iowa improved to 9-0 (5-0 Big Ten) with the win, while Indiana dropped to 4-5 (0-5). The Hoosiers are on a five-game losing streak.
Nate Sudfeld, Quarterback
Sudfeld’s passer rating of 146.3 ranks in the Top 40 in the FBS, throwing for over 2,200 yards and 15 touchdowns. That’s with missing the entire Penn State game and most of the Ohio State game due to injury. He’s coming off his worst statistical performance against Iowa last week, finishing with a passer rating under 100 for the first time this season.
Jordan Howard & Ricky Jones, Running Back & Wide Receiver
Rutgers’ offense was unnoticed at the Big House last week, finishing with 97 yards passing without their star wide receiver Leonte Caroo. This make it crucial for the specialists on offense for Indiana to provide a reasonable impact in order to make it a competitive game. Howard is at 961 rushing yards this season while Jones surpassed 700 yards receiver last week.
Nick Mangieri, Defensive End
Mangieri was one of 32 players to earn a spot on the 2015 Hendricks Award Midseason Watch List, given to the top defensive end of the season. Mangieri has recorded a tackle in every game this season but two, along with seven sacks.
Zach: Rudock throws for the most passing yards of his career with Michigan this Saturday.
Ricky: Indiana's fourth quarter woes transfer over to the first as their offense can't contain Chris Wormley and co.