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Michigan’s 2023 football opponent preview: Indiana

It’s never easy with this team, is it?

NCAA Football: Indiana at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan fans should know by now that no matter what Indiana’s record looks like, the Hoosiers never make it easy against the Wolverines. But just how much has changed in Bloomington over the last few months?

As we continue our opponent preview, we turn our attention to the Indiana Hoosiers.

Week 7 - Indiana Hoosiers

  • 2022 Record: 4-8 overall, 2-7 in Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Tom Allen, seventh season
  • Key Losses: DB Tiawan Mullen, LB Dasan McCullough
  • Key Additions: QB Tayven Jackson, DL Andre Carter

Indiana is coming off a bad season, going just 4-8 last year with two Big Ten wins. The Hoosiers have one of the toughest schedules in all of FBS this year (10th-toughest by ESPN’s FPI). Indiana returns just seven starters from last year’s team, with top players like Tiawan Mullen graduating and others like Dasan McCullough transferring.

The Hoosiers are looking to plug some of those holes through transfer portal additions. Their biggest question mark is at quarterback. Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby, the program’s only returning quarterback with Dexter Williams II not expected to play to start this season due to a knee injury, are both redshirt freshmen with minimal college experience. Those two have thrown 10 passes combined, to put into perspective just how green these guys are.

Head coach Tom Allen declined to name a starter at the close of spring practice, and it’s possible both quarterbacks could see reps early in the season. With Michigan catching Indiana at the halfway point, the Hoosiers certainly hope they’ll have a full-time starter by this point in the season, but it will require an inexperienced quarterback to elevate his game — or for Williams to return earlier than expected.

But Indiana will also need its running backs and pass catchers to execute. Cam Camper had multiple 100-yard games last season, but tore his ACL halfway through the season. His recovery and ability to be a top option will be crucial. Jaylin Lucas was an electric kick returner last season, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, and will get more reps in the backfield and as a receiver this season.

Indiana also lost a lot of production on the defensive side. Aaron Casey, the Hoosiers’ leading tackler last year, is back, but most of IU’s defense will be young players stepping up with a few transfer additions, like Western Michigan transfer Andre Carter.

Tom Allen called defensive plays last year, but he has relinquished that responsibility to new co-defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri, who coached at Duke from 2012-21 and worked with Jim Knowles at Ohio State as an analyst in 2022. That said, it’s unlikely the scheme materially changes with Allen still head coach.

Let’s face it — despite the IU program not in the best shape, there’s a chance we are all going to be on the edge of our seats for this game, because that’s how it always seems to go. On paper, this should be a relatively easy win for the Wolverines, but Indiana is the obvious trap game on the schedule every year. They always make it interesting.