UM vs. Indiana: Another test for UM's vaunted 'D'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down Saturday's Michigan-Indiana game at Memorial Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC / WWJ 950, WTKA 1050).

Hoosiers to watch

Jordan Howard, RB: The Alabama-Birmingham transfer is ninth nationally and second in the Big Ten in rushing (137.3 yards). He’s helped lead the Hoosiers to an average 185.8 yards, fourth in the Big Ten. In the loss to Iowa last week, Howard had 174 yards rushing and two TDs against a team that was holding teams to 85.8 yards and had allowed one rushing TD. Howard has seven TDs and five 100-yard games.

Chase Dutra, S: The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder is coming off a second straight game with double-digit tackles (10). A redshirt sophomore, Dutra has three double-digits tackle games this season. But this has been a tough season defensively for the Hoosiers, who are ranked at the bottom of the Big Ten in total defense.

Nate Sudfeld, QB: The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder is second in the Big Ten in total offense (281.3 yards) and first in passing (278.6). He leads the Hoosiers high-powered offense that leads the Big Ten (460.9 yards). Sudfeld was bothered last month by an ankle injury, but hasn’t missed a beat. Sudfeld is Indiana’s career TD record-holder with 49.

Intangibles

Third-down woes: While Michigan is ranked No. 2 nationally in third-down percentage defense, Indiana has struggled. Michigan State converted 13-of-20 and Iowa converted 7-of-14.

Defensive test: Indiana ranks first in the Big Ten in total offense and No. 2 in passing offense, which will be a test for Michigan’s top-ranked defense, which has allowed six TDs in 16 red-zone trips.

Busy day: Last week, CB Jourdan Lewis set Michigan’s season record for pass breakups (19) and leads the nation in pass breakups (2.1 average). The Hoosiers will provide the biggest test for the Wolverines.

Home away from home: The Hoosiers typically have not been a great draw at Memorial Stadium, and when the Wolverines visit, it has felt like a home game for Michigan. That might explain Michigan’s 16-1 record at Memorial Stadium.

Knowing the stakes: Michigan remains in the hunt for the Big Ten East title with three games left, and the players know a Michigan State loss at Ohio State would help. WR Amara Darboh said the players are taking a playoffs approach as they head into the final stretch (Indiana, Penn State and Ohio State).

Facts and figures

*Indiana had gone 14 straight games with at least one turnover until last week’s loss to Iowa. In terms of turnover margin, Michigan is minus-three.

*This game, the 18th between Michigan and Indiana in Memorial Stadium, will be no different than the previous 17 for this reason – the Wolverines have been ranked for every game (15th this season).

*Nine players have scored rushing TDs for Michigan. Lead TB De’Veon Smith has a team-best five, and QB Jake Rudock has four.

*Jim Harbaugh is making his Memorial Stadium coaching debut, but has played there twice before as Michigan’s quarterback (1985 and 1986).

*Much has been made of Michigan’s red-zone defense, but the offense has converted on 36-of-38 visits to the red zone. Michigan has 27 TDs and nine FGs.

Jim Harbaugh will make his coaching debut at Memorial Stadium where he played as UM quarterback in the mid-1980s.