Five Keys to the Game: Michigan

Here are five keys that will be important for Indiana on Saturday to have a shot at knocking off Michigan in the Big House.

For every Indiana game this season we will have a Five Keys to the Game feature. Here is the one for Saturday’s game with Michigan.


1. GET THE PASSING GAME GOING EARLY:This was the No. 1 priority against Michigan State, too, but it stands to reason when it comes to true freshman quarterback Zander Diamont who will make his second career start against the Wolverines. Diamont had little to no success throwing the ball against Michigan State. In fact, at the end of three quarters, he had minus-2 yards passing. If it wasn’t for a 14-yard completion to Simmie Cobbs in the fourth quarter, Diamont could have had negative yards passing for his college debut. It’s important for Diamont to have some early success against Michigan, and even more than that, to complete a ball down field. He had a great deal of success as a high school quarterback and played with a lot of confidence. That confidence needs to be built through some down field throws early against the Wolverines.

2. GET TURNOVERS:Michigan turns the ball over. That has been one of its biggest problems all year long. On the flip side though, Indiana has recovered one fumble and come up with five interceptions total in seven games. That’s six turnovers in the first seven games of the season. Those statistics spell the words ‘unacceptable.’ If IU has any chance to pull off an upset in the Big House on Saturday it has to create multiple turnovers. In three Big Ten games this season, IU has one turnover. That needs to double or more on Saturday.

3. COLEMAN HAS TO COME UP BIG:The one constant in every game this season has been that Tevin Coleman has put up big numbers. He has broken big runs against every team IU has faced including a couple of defenses – Iowa and Michigan State – that were ranked high nationally against the run. Coleman sees another defense like that this week with Michigan although the Wolverines did give up big yardage on the ground to the running backs from Minnesota and Michigan State and Coleman may be better than both of them. But when your team has a small margin of error like Indiana does, you have to be able to count on the things that you always do well. And one of those this season is that Coleman will run for 100 yards or more and find the end zone a couple of times.

4. SPECIAL TEAMS MUST FLIP THE FIELD:The basic idea here is that again when you have a small margin of error to begin with you need to force the opposing team to have to go a long distance to score. So Griffin Oakes needs to kick the ball out of the end zone and Erich Toth has to pin Michigan inside the 20 when he punts. If they can do that, it gives the IU defense a better chance to be successful.

5. DIAMONT NEEDS TO GO DEEP:This piggy backs off of the first one but it really is true. Zander Diamont needs to go over the top and have some success down field. If all he does is sit back and throw safe passes the Michigan defense is going to have a field day. Diamont needs to throw the ball down field with success early and often against the Wolverines.

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