Michigan Wolverines suffered a terrible loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions last week and while I’m sure their still upset about it, this is not the time to dwell on it. If your Michigan you should be looking to fix your mistakes and move forward to this Saturday’s game, so you don’t suffer another big upset.
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This Saturday the Michigan Wolverines square off against the Indiana Hoosiers. Coming into this game the Hoosiers are 3-3 and there is no doubt that Michigan is better the team but we know the better team doesn’t always win. Michigan has a chance to be upset again but if they follow certain steps they should be able to come out victorious in this game.
While Michigan may be the better team, no one can deny that Indiana has been competitive this season. They challenged Missouri earlier this season and they also have a nice win against Penn State. Wolverines defensively must be ready to step up because if its one thing Indiana can do, it’s score thee ball. Wolverines must be prepared to slow down this offense if they want to win. It all starts with slowing down the run game and to do that you must contain running back Tevin Coleman.
If they can slow down Coleman they should be able to make Indiana more of a one-dimensional team and then slow down quarterback Nate Sudfield. Michigan must do a better job of creating pressure on quarterbacks because if you give Sudfield all day in the pocket he will burn the Michigan secondary. The main key for Michigan defensively is to bend don’t break, meaning, Michigan may not be able to stop them from marching down the field consistently but if they can contain them in the red-zone and force them to settle for field goals, they should be in good shape.
Offensively they must not turn the ball over and they must get off to a good start. The best way to get off to a good start is to initiate the running game. Michigan’s running game has been extremely inconsistent this season and they must do a better job. If the Wolverines are able to add balance to the offense with the running game it will take pressure off of quarterback Devin Gardner. However for Gardner and the running game to be productive, the offensive line must step up. Gardner is constantly not given time in the pocket and no holes are being open up for running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green. If the offensive line steps up, you will see a more productive Michigan offense.
Now getting back to Devin Gardner and his tendency to turn the ball over when pressured. While I feel for Gardner since he doesn’t have a consistent offensive line, that’s no excuse to continue to force passes and turn the ball over. Gardner needs to be prepared to get the ball out early and if he doesn’t see anything open, he needs to be prepared to scramble or throw the ball away. I also feel for Gardner to be successful, Michigan’s receiving core must step up. The main person Gardner can count on to get open and make plays is wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. Tight end Devin Funchess has began to emerge as another great target but he must do a better job of catching the ball. Against Penn State, Funchess had two receiving touchdowns when in reality he should four touchdowns but unfortunately he dropped two touchdowns passes. That’s unacceptable, those are game changing moments. Going into this game Michigan’s receiving core such as Drew Dileo must do a better job of getting open and catching the ball.
Overall, I think Michigan wins this game but I don’t think it will be by much. I honestly think this could go down to the wire, because Indiana is a tough team but mainly because I can’t trust Michigan to step up on both sides of the ball. If Michigan follows the steps above and limits bad mental errors, turnovers and penalties they should come out on top but as I said earlier it may not be by much.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com