W. MICHIGAN: Four Days and Counting

Bloomington - Tim Hiller is the big name to know off Western Michigan's roster, but there are plenty of other players who are cause for concern as IU prepares for Saturday's match-up with the Broncos...

Tim Hiller, QBWestern Michigan returns 14 starters from a team that went 9-4 last season and earned a berth in the Texas Bowl, but there's no dispute about who is the most important player on the roster. Hiller is a fourth-year starter who is on pace to become the all-time MAC record holder in passing touchdowns. He's a big (6-4, 235 pounds), strong-armed quarterback who threw for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns a year ago while throwing for at least 300 yards seven times. He's had some of his best games during his career against Big Ten teams, throwing for at least 300 yards in three of four games against the Big Ten. The lone exception was last week's 31-7 loss to Michigan when Hiller was 22-of-38 for 258 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Juan Nunez, WR – the team's third-leading receiver a year ago with 57 receptions, Nunez has stepped to the forefront as Hiller's No. 1 target in 2009. He's coming off a huge game against Michigan, catching seven passes for 151 yards and a 73-yard touchdown. He's not a big target at just 6'0" and 172 pounds, but he has great speed and he'll create some big challenges for an IU secondary that yielded nearly 300 yards through the air in last week's 19-13 win over Eastern Kentucky. Expect Indiana to play plenty of zone in an effort to prevent the Hiller-to-Nunez big play possibilities, but there will be occasions where IU will have to go man-to-man in an effort to put some pressure on Hiller. In those situations, expect to see Ray Fisher matched up with Nunez since he's capable to matching his speed.

Austin Pritchard, LB – After missing all but one game of the 2007 season due to an ACL injury, Pritchard returned to the field last season and earned first-team All-MAC honors by 86 tackles and 12 ½ tackles for loss. Pritchard suffered the injury in WMU's '07 opener against West Virginia, which kept him off the field for the following week's 37-27 loss to IU in Kalamazoo. He's coming off an 11-tackle, one forced fumble effort last weekend against Michigan, and he'll be a major concern for the Hoosier coaches as they try to come up with a way to run the ball. Pritchard isn't a player that Broncos' Coach Bill Cubit will look to blitz with very often, but he'll be around the ball whenever the Hoosiers run the ball or throw intermediate range passes. He's going to get his share of tackles no matter what the game's outcome, but IU has to do a good job of keeping him from making most of those right around the line of scrimmage.

Doug Wiggins, CB – Remember him? Two years ago, Wiggins decided to transfer from Miami (Fla.) after playing in four games as a true freshman and then getting suspended for the remainder of the season. The 12th-ranked cornerback in the nation coming out of high school, Wiggins narrowed his list of transfer possibilities to Indiana and Western Michigan before deciding to join the Broncos. He sat out last season and is now in his first season as a starter. Wiggins totaled nine tackles against the Wolverines, second only to Pritchard's 11.

Coming Up
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Monday – Four Names to Know
On Tuesday – Three Big Concerns
On Wednesday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – One Bold Prediction

Peegs.com Top Stories