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October 19, 2013

Keys To The Game: U-M vs. Indiana

Keys To The Game

The Basics
Quote of the Week
The Teams: Michigan (5-1) vs. Indiana (3-3)
The History: Michigan holds a 52-9 all-time advantage in the series and has not lost to the Hoosiers since 1987.
The Depth Charts: Indiana and Michigan
The Place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
The Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Michigan -11
The Broadcast: BTN
The Updates: Follow the game on The Fort or follow us on Twitter: Borton, Balas, Spath, Reid and Sullivan.

"Offensively, they're lead by their quarterback. He leads the team in rushing, but he's not really a running quarterback. He does a nice job of going through progressions and scrambling out to extend plays. They have two great receiving threats in Gallon and Funchess, who's a kid we tried to recruit here. He's a great player.

"Defensively, they're very good up front, with Clark, Black. Quality players up front. They're really stout."

-- Indiana coach Kevin Wilson breaking down the Wolverines.
The Essentials
By the Numbers
  • Game Preview: TheWolverine.com speaks with Indiana play-by-play commentator Don Fischer, who has called Hoosiers games for more than 40 years, about Saturday's game. Click here to listen to the podcast.
  • Staff Predictions: What do the staff members of TheWolverine.com think will happen Saturday afternoon? Click here to find out.
  • Matchups: TheWolverine.com takes a look at the most important matchups on the field, including the battle at the line of scrimmagae and the secondary vs. Indiana's pass game. Click here to read the rest.
  • Roundtable: The staff of TheWolverine.com discuss the biggest issues facing the Michigan football team. Click here to read the story.
31: The number of passing plays of 20 or more yards the Hoosiers have racked up offensively (ninth nationally). The Wolverines are 59th nationally in passing plays of 20-plus yards surrenered (19).
216.5: The number of rushing yards per game that Indiana has given up this year. The Hoosiers rank No. 110 nationally in rushing defense, which could be big, considering the Wolverines are fighting through their own struggles in the running game.
331.5: The Indiana offense's average passing yards per game (No. 13 nationally). The Wolverines will give up some yards through the air - but they have to stay in front and make solid open-field tackles.

Five Players To Watch
1. The Interior Offensive Line: The Wolverines interior offensive line has been one of the main sources of criticism this week, after giving up 11 tackles for loss against the Nittany Lions. Before the Minnesota game, the coaches mixed things up, moving redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow from left guard to center and placing redshirt sophomore Chris Bryant at left guard. Redshirt junior Joey Burzynski replaced Bryant in the middle of the Penn State game - and true freshman Kyle Bosch and redshirt freshman offensive tackle Erik Magnuson, who has been taking reps at guard in practice, are vying for playing time at left guard, as the Wolverines try to find the best starting five they can.

2. Thomas Gordon, fifth-year senior strong safety: With the Hoosiers' propensity to throw downfield, the Gordon and sophomore free safety Jarrod Wilson are going to be very important in this game. They have to be there to lend support to cornerbacks Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor and Courtney Avery, because Indiana can sling it around. The Hoosiers have 83 passing plays that have covered at least 10 yards (which ranks seventh nationally).

3. Nate Sudfeld, redshirt freshman quarterback: The Hoosiers had a serious quarterback competition in the fall, and most pundits suspected either redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson, the 2012 starter before a broken leg sidelined him, or junior Cameron Coffman, who was effective in replacing Roberson last year. But Sudfeld won the job and has been lighting up offenses, passing for 267.3 yards per game with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He's going to be slinging it around all afternoon.

4. Devin Funchess, sophomore tight end: Is Funchess still technically a "tight end"? If he has a few more games like last weekend's, in which he lined up all over the field and beat several cornerbacks while split wide, he might need a new title. The Wolverines have searched for another weapon in the passing game besides fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon, and they may have finally found it. Funchess' progress will force defenses to lighten up on Gallon, who has received a ton of attention in the last few weeks from opposing secondaries.

5. Cody Latimer, junior wide receiver: Latimer came into the game with huge expectations, but looked disappointing and catching just five passes for 73 yards in the Hoosiers' first two games. Since then, however, Latimer has exploded. In three of the last four games, he has racked up at least 136 yards through the air. Last week against Michigan State's stout secondary, he hauled in seven catches for 58 yards and a score.

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