RUSH OFFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #63 in rushing offense (167.8 yards/game) and #84 in rushing average (3.98 yards/carry). That’s on the heels of 2.6 yards/carry against Michigan State last week. Ty Isaac leads the squad with 61 carries, 365 yards, and 5.98 yards/carry, but a fumble last week got him removed from the game for a stretch and he seems to have been hampered by an injury for the past couple games. Meanwhile, Karan Higdon had 12 carries for 65 yards last week and ran hard. It’s anyone’s guess who gets the ball most in this game. On the offensive line, Michigan replaced right tackle Nolan Ulizio with Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who isn’t very good, either. On the other side of the ball, Indiana is #67 in rushing yards allowed (152.4 yards allowed/game) and tied for #39 in yards allowed per carry (3.61). Ohio State and Georgia Southern fared well against the Hoosiers, but Penn State and Saquon Barkley averaged just 1.05 yards on 37 attempts. Senior middle linebacker Tegray Scales (6’0″, 230 lbs.) and senior weakside linebacker Chris Covington (6’2″, 230) lead the team with 42 and 32 tackles, respectively. Overall, Indiana is #35 in tackles for loss, led by Scales (6.5) and Covington (4.0). Fifth year senior nose tackle Nate Hoff (6’2″, 310) is Indiana’s toughest defensive lineman. This is a stout front that will give Michigan’s soft offensive line issues.
Hit the jump for more on the matchup.
PASS OFFENSE vs. INDIANA PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #75 in passing offense (218 yards/game) and #98 in passing efficiency rating. Backup-turned-starter John O’Korn replaced Wilton Speight last week after Speight was lost for the season against Purdue, and O’Korn played decently until the rains came in the second half. O’Korn went 6/16 with 3 interceptions in the second half of the game. O’Korn also played poorly in the wind and snow against Indiana in 2016 in his only other start for Michigan, and the hope is that the weather is good for the remainder of the year. Michigan’s #1 wide receiver, Kekoa Crawford, has 7 catches in five games. Slot receiver Grant Perry operates as the top guy right now (18 catches, 224 yards, 1 TD), and O’Korn seems to have a good rapport with tight end Sean McKeon (14 catches, 179 yards). Michigan has allowed 16 sacks this season, which is tied for #109 in the nation. The right side is particularly vulnerable to pass blocking issues, and the backs aren’t very good at pass protection, either. Indiana is tied for #32 in sacks (14), including 3.5 from Scales, 2.5 from backup defensive end Allen Stallings, and 2.0 from 3-tech DT Jacob Robinson (6’4″, 285). Fifth year senior cornerback Rashard Fant (5’10”, 180) had 17 pass breakups last season and 22 in 2015, so even though he only has 3 so far this season, he’s a guy who can make a play on the ball. He and free safety Jonathan Crawford (6’2″, 203) each had 3 picks last season, but Crawford is the only guy to register an interception this year. Michigan has a questionable offensive line, a backup quarterback, and very little consistency at wide receiver, so this will be tough sledding against a decent defense.
RUSH DEFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan is #6 in rushing defense, giving up just 87 yards/game this season. The 2.62 yards allowed per rush ranks #5 in the country, only 0.3 yards behind #1 Washington. On a per carry basis, Michigan State had the most success of any team when they ran for 3.95 yards/carry last week, largely on the back of scrambling quarterback Brian Lewerke (15 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD). Inside linebackers Devin Bush (41) and Mike McCray II (34) lead the team in tackles. Defensive end Chase Winovich has 7.5 tackles for loss, and three guys are tied at #2 with 5.5 tackles for loss (Bush, McCray, and Maurice Hurst, Jr.). The Wolverines are tied at #21 nationally with 40 total tackles for loss. Indiana is #79 in rushing (148.8 yards/game) and #105 in average yards per rush (3.59). Morgan Ellison (6’1″, 225) leads the team with 358 yards and 5.19 yards/carry. Meanwhile, quarterback Peyton Ramsey averages a respectable 3.49 yards/carry, even counting sacks against him. The offensive line averages 305 lbs., but they’re fairly young – only one player is even in his fourth college season. Indiana runs a lot of inside zone, which makes sense, considering the personnel.
PASS DEFENSE vs. INDIANA PASS OFFENSE
As good as Michigan is against the run, they’re statistically even better against the pass. Michigan is #2 with just 126 yards allowed per game and #4 in passer rating against them (note: MSU is now #2 after giving up just 1 TD and grabbing 5 INTs so far this year). Overall, Michigan is #1 in total defense by more than 15 yards. Sophomore cornerback Lavert Hill has stepped up as Michigan’s top cornerback with 5 pass breakups and 1 pick returned for a touchdown. The Wolverines are tied for #11 in sacks, despite going sackless against Michigan State last weekend. Winovich (5.5) and Bush (4.5) lead the team in sacks, and that’s not mentioning one of the best interior pass rushers in the game, Maurice Hurst, Jr. Indiana is #46 in passing offense (259.6 yards/game) but #81 in passing efficiency. Redshirt freshman quarterback Peyton Ramsey (6’2″, 210) has taken over the QB position, and he has thrown 6 touchdowns against just 2 interceptions. He completes 68.5% of his passes, and he has a couple very good targets. Redshirt junior wideout Simmie Cobbs, Jr. (6’4″, 220) has 33 catches for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns; and senior tight end Ian Thomas (6’5″, 248) has 16 catches for 224 yards (15.9 yards/catch) and 3 touchdowns. Indiana is #67 in sacks allowed (11 so far), but 9 of those came in the first two games against Ohio State and Virginia, when the less mobile Richard Lagow was behind center.
- Indiana players recruited by Michigan include: DT Juan Harris
- Indiana players from the State of Michigan include: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s LB Kenny Arnold
- Running backs coach Mike Hart (RB 2004-2007), quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan (QB 2006-2009), and offensive coordinator Mike DeBord all played or coached at Michigan
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED . . .
- In a snow and windstorm last season, John O’Korn earned his only other college start at Michigan prior to last Saturday
- O’Korn went 7/16 for 59 yards and ran 6 times for 19 yards
- De’Veon Smith had perhaps his best game as a collegian, rushing 23 times for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns
- Michigan 20, Indiana 10
- Michigan runs for 110 yards
- Simmie Cobbs outmuscles Michigan cornerbacks for 80 receiving yards and 1 touchdown
- Michigan 20, Indiana 10
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