Week 12 Preview: #3 Michigan Wolverines vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Coming off a loss last week to Iowa, Michigan moves its eyes to Indiana. Michigan was worried after the loss to Iowa that their playoff chances would be hurt, and they had nothing to worry about. The latest college football rankings left the Wolverines as the number three seed. Michigan had to win out the rest of their games to make the playoffs in the first place, this just makes the last two games in the regular season more important.
Michigan plays its final home game against the Hoosiers in what should be another close game for the team. While Indiana is 5-5, they have given some teams a scare. They upset Michigan State when they were ranked, came close to beating Ohio State and Nebraska, but also lost to Rutgers, Maryland and Wake Forest.
What to Expect Against Indiana
Who will be the quarterback for Michigan? Nobody knows right now. Early reports came out saying after the Iowa game that Wilton Speight broke his collarbone and would be out for the rest of the regular season. Harbaugh came out and said that report was incorrect, saying Speight was “day-to-day.” So even though Speight isn’t ruled out, expect him to sit this week against Indiana. John O’Korn should be a fine replacement though. The battle for the starting quarterback job was tight between O’Korn and Speight before Speight pulled away. O’Korn has trust from his teammates and coaches that fans shouldn’t worry about him.
The running game may need to step up though if O’Korn starts. De’Veon Smith didn’t have a good performance last week, but Chris Evans shined. Evans may see some more carries, but Smith is still the starter. Smith will have to deal with a Indiana defense who is led by Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver in the linebacking core. Scales leads the team in tackles for loss with 15, while Oliver has 10.5. These men will be trying to stuff the offensive line and give them fits along with the defensive line.
No receiver stepped up last week as Butt, Chesson and Darboh all disappeared in the offense. Rashard Fant will be a problem for the Michigan receivers, as he leads the Hooisers with 18 pass deflections and 16 breakups, along with getting two interceptions. Whoever the quarterback is will need to avoid him as he will cause issues all day.
The offesnsive line couldn’t do much against Iowa, but they have an easier test on the defensive line this week. The best player on the defensive line for the Hooisers is Nile Sykes, as he has 15 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. Michigan shouldn’t have to deal with much besides Sykes and the duo linebacking core in Oliver and Scales.
The defensive line for Michigan needs to do a better job than last week. They did have a good amount of sacks, but the run game stayed alive for Iowa. Taco Charlton tweeted out saying his ankle is starting to feel 100 percent again, so he should be improved than he has the past few weeks. Even with a bad ankle he has still been dominant this year.
The worst part of the defense in the loss to Iowa was the linebacking core. Jabrill Peppers was quiet and it hurt his Heisman chances. The running game got through the defensive line and through the linebackers, which shouldn’t happen. Mike McCray wasn’t on his best game either as he will need to step up. Michigan will have to deal with Devine Redding who leads the team in carries with 190 for 901 yards and five touchdowns.
The biggest part of the defense for the Wolverines coming this week is the secondary. Indiana’s quarterback Richard Lagow has thrown for 2,866 yards and 17 touchdowns, but also 13 interceptions. While that is a lot of yards to worry about, the amount of interceptions should give the secondary confidence. Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis will have to deal with covering Nick Westbrook, who has 44 catches for 793 yards and five touchdowns, and Ricky Jones who has 43 catches for 713 yards and three touchdowns. Mitchell Paige leads the team in catches with 49, but only has 536 yards and two touchdowns. He will be a threat as well to watch.
Overall Indiana will put some points up on the Wolverine defense, but Michigan will be too much. Lagow will be the key because if he throws even one interception, Indiana’s chances are gone. Michigan will need to trust in John O’Korn if he starts and the offensive line will need to create holes for the running game as if the running game can’t get going, the offense falls apart. Michigan knows they are in a do-or-die mode and if they want that championship they need to win out and it starts with Indiana.
Prediction: #3 Michigan 35 – Indiana 21
Brandon Knapp covers the Michigan Wolverines, follow him on Twitter @BKnappBlogshttps://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/week-12-preview-3-michigan-wolverines-vs-indiana-hoosiers/https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20040878-mmmain.jpg?fit=620%2C412&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20040878-mmmain.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1AnalysisBig TenFootballNCAAFRecent PostsCFP,Indiana Football,Indiana Hoosiers,Jabrill Peppers,John O'Korn,Michigan,Michigan Football,Michigan Wolverines,Wilton SpeightComing off a loss last week to Iowa, Michigan moves its eyes to Indiana. Michigan was worried after the loss to Iowa that their playoff chances would be hurt, and they had nothing to worry about. The latest college football rankings left the Wolverines as the number three seed. Michigan had...Brandon KnappBrandon KnappKnappmb@outlook.comEditorBrandon is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sports Management. He loves the Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Red Wings, Lions, Tigers and Pistons, UFC, WWE and Video Games. Follow him at @BKnappBlogs on Twitter.MyFantasySportsTalk