Rush Offense vs. Indiana Rush Defense
Michigan has struggled to run the ball the past three weeks. After topping 4.0 yards/carry for five straight weeks, the Wolverines have averaged 1.9, 3.7, and 3.6 yards/carry in the past three; that last number came against Rutgers, who didn’t sack quarterback Jake Rudock even once. De’Veon Smith leads the team with 524 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he made it through last week’s game without appearing to re-injure his ankle. He’s the bruiser and needs all the leg drive he can get. Meanwhile, Drake Johnson is the speedster and is averaging 4.9 yards/carry. Ty Isaac is back on the depth chart after two weeks of banishment for an undisclosed reason. Michigan is #66 in rushing yardage (172 yards/game) and #72 in rushing average (4.27 yards/carry). Indiana is #78 in rushing defense (174 yards/game) and #92 in rushing average against (4.73 yards against/carry). Indiana’s leading tackler is linebacker Marcus Oliver with 79. Next on the list is fellow linebacker T.J. Simmons, but the next three are defensive backs: strong safety Chase Dutra, free safety Jonathan Crawford, and cornerback Rashard Fant. Outside linebacker Zach Shaw, defensive end Nick Mangieri, and defensive tackle Darius Lathan share the team lead with 8 tackles for loss each. Indiana runs a 3-4 defense that can function a bit like a 4-3 with Shaw at the end position. Indiana manned up to hold Michigan State to 3.23 yards/carry, and the Wolverines aren’t any better at running the ball than the Spartans. Michigan will probably need to throw the ball to free up the running game.
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