Western Michigan: Five Days and Counting

Fresh off a 48-point win against Indiana State, the Hoosiers go on the road Saturday for a match-up against one of the MAC preseason favorites, Western Michigan. HoosierNation.com begins its preview of this weekend's contest with five numbers to note about this match-up...

316 – rushing yards Western Michigan yielded in its season-opening 62-24 loss at West Virginia Saturday. In the Broncos' defense, West Virginia ranked second nationally in rushing a year ago when it averaged 303.0 yards/game, a total that trailed only Navy's 327.0 yards/game. Western Michigan gave up some big plays in the run game as well, with WVU tailback Steve Slaton scoring on a 58-yard run and quarterback Patrick White scoring from 38 yards out. Indiana managed only 71 yards rushing on 28 carries in its 39-20 win over Western Michigan in last year's regular season opener, so expect IU to try to do a much better job on the ground this time around in Kalamazoo.

14 – receptions for WMU wideout Jamarko Simmons in the West Virginia contest. Those 14 receptions went for 144 yards and two of the Broncos' three touchdowns. Simmons is a well known commodity to the Hoosiers. In last year's match-up Simmons caught seven passes for 99 yards, although IU did manage to keep him out of the end zone. He's a huge, physical wideout at 6'2" and 234 pounds, and he'll be a load for IU's top corner – Tracy Porter – to handle. He caught 61 passes for 668 yards and two touchdowns a year ago, and generally catches the ball underneath and then looks to break tackles and turn those passes into big plays.

2 – Quarterbacks who saw extended against West Virginia. Sophomore Tim Hiller beat out Thomas Peregrin during fall camp, but struggled in the opener and was benched early in the third quarter. The 2005 MAC freshman of the year who missed the entire 2006 season with an injury, Hiller struggled in his return to the field. The 6-5, 228-pounder was 16-of-25 for 160 yards but was responsible for three turnovers, including a pair of costly interceptions. Peregrin, meanwhile, was 9-of-17 for 71 yards and one touchdown. Indications are that the two will battle it out in practice this week for the right to start against the Hoosiers. Don't look for a quarterback rotation, though, as WMU Coach Bill Cubit said he plans to pick one based on practice this week and go with them as the starter.

117 – penalty yards for the Broncos last week. Western Michigan was flagged 15 times, which made their task against the third-ranked Mountaineers that much more difficult. The Broncos' penalties ran the gamut, although their most common infractions were holding (3), false start (3), pass interference (2), personal foul (2) and delay of game (2). This isn't necessarily anything new for Cubit's team, which was flagged eight times for 91 yards of penalties in last year's match-up with IU. In 2006 WMU was flagged 84 times, ranking them ninth for fewest penalties in the 12-team Mid-America Conference.

4 – losses for Indiana against Mid-America Conference foes all-time. The Hoosiers are 29-4-1 all-time against MAC teams for an .868 winning percentage. That's the best winning percentage IU has against any Division I conference. Three of those wins have come against WMU, a team that the Hoosiers are unbeaten against. A Bill Mallory-coached team topped them in 1995 24-10; Cam Cameron and Antwaan Randle El beaten the Broncos 45-30 in 1998; and Terry Hoeppner's Hoosiers prevailed 39-20 a year ago. The only MAC teams with wins over IU are Ohio (1929) and Miami, Ohio (1954, 1966, 1977). That makes it 30 years since the Hoosiers have lost a game to a MAC foe.

What's coming up:
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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