CENTRAL MICHIGAN: Two Days and Counting

Indiana doesn't want to go 0-for-2 against MAC teams this season, but it will have its hands full this weekend when it takes on Central Michigan (6-2/5-0). HoosierNation.com continues its day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with "Two Big Concerns" for IU this weekend…

How much luck will Indiana have running the ball? – Indiana wants to have balance offensively, but it's questionable how much luck it will have doing that this weekend. Central Michigan gives up an average of just 122 yards/game on the ground, and the Hoosiers have been held to under 100 yards rushing in three of its last four games. Other than its 141-yard effort on the ground against Illinois, the Hoosier ground game has averaged only 72.0 rushing yards/game against Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern.

Compounding the Hoosiers' problems is an offensive line that hasn't been nearly as good as many expected and has now been hit hard by injuries. Left tackles Rodger Saffold (knee) and James Brewer (ankle) have both been ruled out of this game, meaning the starting left side of the offensive line will include a true freshman in Justin Pagan and a redshirt freshman in Andrew McDonald. That duo has bounced around to various spots along the offensive line to try to shore things up due to various injuries, and as of Wednesday's practice it wasn't even clear which one would be at guard and which would be at tackle.

With that in mind, the question becomes whether IU will be willing to scrap the running game if it's not working and instead rely on the passing game to put points on the board. Teams have been throwing for nearly 280 yards/game against the Chippewas, and Indiana should be able to have success throwing the ball as well whoever is at quarterback.

Can Indiana's defense keep Dan LeFevour from single-handedly beating them? - Indiana has gone up against some very good dual-threat quarterbacks this season in Minnesota's Adam Weber, Illinois' Juice Williams and Northwestern's C.J. Bacher, among others. But the Chippewas' Dan LeFevour is every bit as good as any of them.

The reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year, LeFevour is completing two-thirds of his passes and leads the team in both rushing and passing. He hasn't kept pace with his record-setting 2007 season when he averaged more than 340 yards of total offense/game and totaled 46 touchdowns, but he's still one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the nation.

Like IU's Kellen Lewis, LeFevour has been slowed this season with an ankle injury. He missed a game and a half with an ankle injury suffered in the first half against Temple, but he returned in last week's 24-23 win over Toledo to complete 24-of-31 throws for 242 yards, and added another 25 yards rushing. He's expected to be ready to go for the IU game.

Indiana's true test against LeFevour will come on third down and whether or not it can keep him from coming up with big plays to move the chains. LeFevour is an extremely accurate passer who completed nearly 2/3 of his passes last season as well. But when faced with pressure, he's also more than capable of eluding a pass rush and scrambling for a first down as well. That's something Ball State's Nate Davis did a couple of times earlier this season as IU lost its first game to a MAC foe. IU will have to keep LeFevour from doing that this weekend, or it runs the risk of dropping a second game to a MAC team.

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


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