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No. 23 Michigan-Indiana: College Football Preview

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No. 23 Michigan-Indiana: College Football Preview
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Matt and Zac Snyder of Bleacher Report and mittensportsreport.com break down this week's University of Michigan football matchup.

When Michigan Has the Ball...

Michigan's Passing Attack vs. Indiana's Secondary

Zac says: Michigan's passing game has had some ups and downs through the first three games of the '09 campaign. Fortunately, the downs have come when the running game has provided all the offense Wolverine fans could ask for. Tate Forcier has shown the ability to exploit any secondary when needed. Forcier's ability to throw with accuracy on the run makes him a threat from anywhere on the field. Advantage: Michigan

Matt says: The Wolverines didn't throw the ball much last week, but they really had no reason to put the ball in the air. The Michigan air attack hasn't left much to be desired, especially when Tate's in the game. Three of the four interceptions thrown by Wolverine quarterbacks have come from Denard Robinson and Nick Sheridan, which leaves Forcier with a more than solid five touchdown to one interception ratio. The Indiana defense grabbed four interceptions last weekend against Akron, but don't expect that to repeat this week. Advantage: Michigan

Michigan's Running game vs. Indiana's Front Seven

Zac says: Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, Michael Shaw, and Denard Robinson each average over five yards per carry. The Hoosier defense has been tough against the run so far this year, although that was against the likes of Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, and Akron. Michigan's running game was good enough to beat Eastern Michigan single-handedly. Unfortunately for Indiana, they are on par with Eastern Michigan in terms of talent. Advantage: Michigan

Matt says: The Michigan running game has proven to be the greatest strength of the team so far. How about some much deserved credit for an ever improving offensive line! Ranked third in the nation, Michigan averages 6.4 yards per attempt and just over 270 yards per game. The Indiana defense, on the other hand, has held opponents to only 2.5 yards per carry, which is good for sixteenth in the nation. So it appears to be strength versus strength in this matchup, but Indiana really hasn't been tested yet. Advantage: Michigan

When Indiana Has the Ball...

Indiana's Passing Attack vs. Michigan's Secondary

Zac says: Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell is a relatively big quarterback with a strong arm. The Michigan secondary may be the weak link of the Wolverine defense and will need to avoid getting themselves in trouble with penalties. Indiana's greatest chance for offensive success will be through the air. Look for the Hoosiers to challenge Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko early. Advantage: Even

Matt says: I dogged the Michigan secondary before last week's contest but they performed well against Eastern Michigan. Indiana should be a step above Eastern in the talent category, especially at the quarterback position, but I think the Wolverine pass defense is improving. Cissoko did get flagged for a big yardage pass interference call, but that may have been one of the worst calls in the history of the forward pass (though I'm sure Miami (FL) fans would disagree). Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher, and Mitchell Evans all sport averages on the plus side of 11 yards per catch, but Michigan simply can't allow that to continue. Advantage: Michigan


Indiana's Running Game vs. Michigan's Front Seven

Zac says: Indiana's ground attack is led by Demetrius McCray, who averages 5.4 yards per carry. The Wolverine defense has held two of their first three opponents to under a four yard per carry average. McCray has benefited from playing against lesser talent, a luxury he will not have on Saturday. Linebacker Jonas Mouton will be back from his one-game suspension to put the Michigan defense back at full strength. Advantage: Michigan

Matt says: Michigan held Eastern running back Dwayne Priest to 3.4 yards per carry, which is almost a yard and a half lower than his season average, but the quarterbacks were allowed to escape for big gains too often. That won't be a problem this week though. Ben Chappell isn't the type to run so the Wolverine front can key in on the pass rush when he has the ball. Advantage: Michigan

Bottom Line...

Zac (3-0) says: Other than against Purdue, Indiana may not play another game this year in which their talent comes remotely close to the level of their opponent. Indiana will find tough going in the Big Ten schedule, beginning with the revived Wolverines. I expect Michigan to play with something to prove all year long; the Hoosiers will be just another roadblock to run through. Final Score: Michigan 38, Indiana 13

Matt (2-1) says: I expect a similar game to what we saw last week against Eastern and in the season opener against Western. Indiana is closer in talent level to a MAC school than a Big Ten school (or at least what kind of talent Big Ten schools should have). Michigan is greatly improved over last year, but even last year's Michigan team could have beaten Indiana. Final Score: Michigan 42, Indiana 20

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