McCarthy Leads Michigan into Bloomington to Face Struggling Hoosiers
Michigan continues its soft open to the 2022 schedule by facing off with the Indiana Hoosiers on the road this weekend. Indiana is 3-2, 1-1 coming into the contest, but has dropped it’s last two games. Including last week to Nebraska. The same Nebraska that fired its coach two weeks ago.
The Hoosiers have had what some would call a tough time against Michigan in recent years. They’ve only defeated the Wolverines once since 1987. That came at home in 2020 which is infamously dubbed as the “Covid Year.” So some of you may not even count it.
This is the last tune-up before Michigan starts playing some respectable teams with the Penn State game looming next week. But for now, let’s stay in the present and preview this week’s showdown.
Time for J.J. to Ball Out
Indiana has the worst pass defense in the Big Ten. Yards given up per play, per game and total passing touchdowns against the Hoosiers rank dead last. This should be a great game for McCarthy and the receivers to put up video game like numbers. Michigan hasn’t had a receiver break the 100-yard barrier in a game this year. I got a hunch that streak ends this weekend.
You can’t take the Hoosiers pass defense too lightly, though. They are actually ranked 3rd in the Big Ten in sacks this year. Which doesn’t make any sense. Regardless, this will be the best offensive line they’ve faced all season and add McCarthy’s scrambling ability, I think Michigan will be just fine.
One streak I am curious about is running back Blake Corum eclipsing 100-yards for the third straight game. I’m not as confident in that one because after seeing fellow back Donovan Edwards healthy last week I’d like to see him get more carries against Indiana. He only ran the ball five times last week, compared to 29 for Corum. The Wolverines have been winning. And Corum has been doing great. I’m not saying put the horse completely in the barn. Just give him a few more water breaks.
On the Hoosier defense freshman linebacker Dasan McCullough leads the team with four sacks. The Bloomington, IN native will have to be dealt with coming off a strong game last week. He had five tackles and one sack against the Cornhuskers.
His fellow linebacker Cam Jones has been all over the field this year racking up a team-high 54 tackles. The senior brings a veteran presence to the defense and won’t be rattled facing a top team in the country at home.
Michigan DBs will be Tested
This is another game where the Michigan pass defense is going to see a lot of action. Not only does Indiana have the second worst rushing attack in the conference, but they’ll likely be down early in the game. Hoosier quarterback Connor Bazelak leads the fifth ranked passing attack in the Big Ten. He doesn’t turn the ball over much with five interceptions on the season. However, the Missouri transfer has only completed 52.8 percent of his passes.
Michigan cornerback D.J. Turner has looked good in coverage this season, especially recently. He had a terrific pass breakup against Iowa that he nearly picked off without a lot of grass in front of him. He’ll need the big guys up front to keep getting home to the quarterback.
Edge rusher Mike Morris leads the team with four sacks on the year and picked up two more last week. Freshman lineman Mason Graham continues to impress up front and should have another easy outing with the Hoosiers offensive line.
One guy to keep an eye on is junior linebacker Jaylen Harrell. His numbers don’t catch your eye but when you watch the game you tend to find him always near the ball. He does a great job stuffing the run and will occasionally cause havoc when rushing the passer.
Players to Watch
Michigan – TE Luke Schoonmaker
You probably won’t hear many fans yelling Schoon on the road. But the senior tight end has really stepped up his game in Erick All’s absence. Schoonmaker has 11 receptions for 117 yards in the past two games. He certainly doesn’t have that get away from the cop’s speed. Shout out Gus Johnson. But he always finds a way to get open.
Indiana – WR Cam Camper
The leading receiver on the Hoosiers didn’t play last week due to illness. But head coach Tom Allen sounded optimistic he’ll be back this week. Camper has over 200-yards more than the next highest receiver on the team. And that’s in only four games. He averages over 12.7 yards per catch and has had more than 93 yards in three of his four games played.
Michigan is favored by 22.5 points, and I would take them to cover the points. The over/under is set at 59, and I’ll go under. I don’t think Indiana scores enough to help the total get that high.
Michigan 38 Indiana 17
Photograph of J.J. McCarthy by Detroit Free Press