FACTS & STATS: Site: Michigan Stadium (109,901) -- Ann Arbor, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Indiana 3-2, Michigan 4-0. Away Record: Indiana 0-1, Michigan 1-1. Neutral Record: Indiana 0-0, Michigan 0-0. Conference Record: Indiana 1-1, Michigan 1-1. Series Record: Michigan leads, 52-9.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams sporting identical 1-1 Big Ten Conference records meet in Ann Arbor on Saturday, as the Indiana Hoosiers come calling on the Michigan Wolverines.
Both squads suffered their first league loss last weekend, with the Hoosiers dropping a 42-28 decision at Michigan State, and the Wolverines falling in four overtimes at Penn State, 43-40.
Indiana had opened the season with five straight home games, logging a 3-2 mark, which included its first-ever win over Penn State in the league lid lifter on Oct. 5. The Hoosiers are one of the Big Ten's best offensive teams, but at the same time rank as one of its worst on defense.
Michigan took a 5-0 record into Happy Valley last Saturday, and despite taking control of the game in the second half, lost a hard-fought decision to the Nittany Lions in the longest game in either programs' storied history. The Wolverines are 4-0 at home this season, and they own the longest active home winning streak of any BCS conference club at 18 in a row.
Michigan has won 17 straight, and 32 of the last 33 meetings with Indiana to take a commanding 52-9 lead in the all-time series. The Hoosiers' lone win during the span was back in 1987.
Indiana generated 351 yards of total offense last week against Michigan State, the bulk of which came through the air (259). The run accounted for only 92 yards, but did produce a pair of TDs. Meanwhile, the Spartans rolled up 473 total yards, including 238 on the ground. For the Hoosiers, Tevin Coleman ran for 79 yards, although 64 came on a TD run just over a minute into the contest. Nate Sudfeld had a lackluster outing, completing 14-of-30 passes for 137 yards with no TDs. Tre Roberson also saw action under center, and he was more efficient in hitting 11-of-17 passes for 122 yards, two TDs and an INT. Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn combined for 11 catches, 125 yards and a score.
For the season, Indiana is now averaging 41.7 points and 504.3 yards per contest, both of which rank the team in the top-three in the Big Ten. With Sudfeld (.615, 1,604 yards, 13 TDs, six INTs) and his talented receiving corps led by Latimer (35 rec., 544 yards, three TDs) doing their best to keep the Hoosiers relevant, the team sits atop the conference in passing offense (331.5 ypg, 18 TDs). Coleman ranks fifth in the league with 557 yards, and he is tied for first with eight rushing TDs.
Mark Murphy paced the Indiana defense with 11 tackles in last week's loss to Michigan State, but the Spartans churned out 238 yards on the ground and scored four rushing TDs. They got another 235 yards and two scores from the pass, all while dominating the time of possession battle by nearly 15 minutes.
The Hoosiers are giving up 32.8 points and 456.0 yards per game, the former ranking them 10th in the conference, and the latter dead last. They have been especially lax against the run, yielding a league-worst 216.5 ypg on the ground while surrendering the second-most rushing TDs (12). With IU also ranking last in the Big Ten in time of possession, the defense has been busy thus explaining why 15 guys have logged double-digit tackles, including five with at least 41. David Cooper and Tim Bennett lead the way with 45 stops apiece, while John Laihinen has 3.5 of the unit's 12 sacks, and Greg Heban two of its five interceptions.
After falling behind Penn State in the first half, the Wolverines battled back after intermission to grab the lead, but the Nittany Lions kept coming and were able to force overtime, four of them in fact, before finally sending the Maize and Blue to its first loss of the season. Not surprisingly, the final stats were nearly identical for both teams (389 yards for Michigan, 390 yards for Penn State), although the Wolverines held the ball for nearly 13 minutes more, but were just 4-of-18 on third-down conversion attempts. Devin Gardner threw for 240 yards, with three TDs and two INTs, and he was also instrumental in the ground game, amassing a career-high 121 yards on 24 carries. Fitzgerald Toussaint was stymied to the tune of 27 net yards on 27 totes (1.0 ypc). Jeremy Gallon finished with seven catches for 95 yards and a TD, while Devin Funchess turned his four grabs into 112 yards and two scores.
The Michigan offense is averaging 39 points and 395.7 yards per tilt, with Gardner being personally responsible for the bulk of that production. The redshirt junior has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,276 yards, and while his TD-to-INT ratio isn't good (11-10), he paces the UM ground attack with 439 yards and six TDs. Toussaint is hot on his heels with 424 yards, and he has one more TD. Gallon is the team's top receiver with 31 grabs for 462 yards and five scores, although Funchess is closing the gap with 408 yards and four TDs.
In last week's heartbreaker at Penn State, James Ross III paced the Michigan defense with 10 tackles, and Frank Clark was credited with two of the team's four sacks, while also getting in on the scoring with a 24-yard return of a fumble (one of his two recoveries in the game) at the beginning of the third quarter. When the dust had finally settled, the Wolverines allowed the Nittany Lions 305 yards and three TDs through the air, but they did a solid job against the run (85 yards), despite permitting a pair of rushing scores.
Michigan's opponents are scoring 23.3 ppg this season, but they have had difficulty producing much on the ground (89.5 ypg, two TDs) -- the yardage allowance ranking the Wolverines fourth in the Big Ten. They have proven to be an opportunistic bunch, ranking third in interceptions with nine. Blake Countess has four himself, and the unit as a whole is tied for third in sacks with 14, with Clark and Cameron Gordon logging 3.5 and 3.0 sacks, respectively. Ross III and Desmond Morgan sit atop the team's tackles list with 42 apiece.
Indiana is sure to put its best foot forward in an attempt to upset the Wolverines on their home field, but with the bad taste of defeat still lingering expect Michigan to be fired up to get back on track. Gardner should be able to exploit the Hoosiers' weak defense, but a better effort from Toussaint will be needed as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 38, Indiana 24
Saturday, October 19, 3:30 p.m. (et).