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Keys to Victory: Indiana

The Wolverines are looking to improve to 6-0.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

So far, so good for the Michigan Wolverines this season, as the team is 5-0 and has been ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll for five straight weeks.

The Wolverines will look to earn a road victory in Bloomington today against Tom Allen and the Indiana Hoosiers. Here’s what they need to do to improve to 6-0.

Let J.J. sling it

We can expect a lot of points from Michigan through the air, considering Indiana has given up the 14th-most passing yards per game in all of college football.

But running the ball has been Michigan’s bread and butter all season long; they have an excellent offensive line and Blake Corum has been one of the best running backs in the country.

The average football fan knows a good running game can help set up the passing game. J.J. McCarthy hasn’t had to do much passing-wise to win these last few games for Michigan, but I’d like to see them air the ball out and see McCarthy total more than his season high of 229 yards.

Get after the quarterback

As great as things have been for Michigan’s offensive line, the same cannot be said for the linemen on the other side of ball. Michigan’s pass rush has been far from consistent, but they were able to collect four sacks in the 27-14 win over Iowa last week, with two of those sacks coming from Mike Morris.

The Hoosiers don’t have the offensive line Michigan does, and they haven’t played a run stopper like Mazi Smith all season long, who should be able to plug up gaps and make life hard for Indiana’s interior offensive linemen.

The Wolverines can secure the victory if they can force some 1- or 2-yard runs on 1st and 2nd down so they can rush the passer with full force on 3rd and longs.

Get some interceptions and bust out the buffs

Indiana no longer has Michael Penix Jr., as one of the most fun college football quarterbacks to watch is now part of #Pac12AfterDark with the Washington Huskies. The Hoosiers replaced Penix with Connor Bazelak, a Missouri transfer who has appeared in 29 games in his collegiate career. In those games, Bazelak has only thrown just nine more touchdowns (31) than interceptions (22).

That’s not a great ratio and as our Dan Plocher said earlier this week, players like Rod Moore will be watching Bazelak’s eyes and looking to corral a key takeaway to swing momentum or seal the victory for the Wolverines. If they can pick off Bazelak more than once and bust out the interception buffs, Michigan spread bettors should be a little bit richer around 3:30 p.m. today.