Indiana Daily Student

IU football has one last chance for statement win against No. 12 Michigan

<p>Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey prepares to throw the ball Nov. 16 at Beaver Stadium. Ramsey threw for 371 yards and completed 31 of 41 pass attempts in the loss to No. 9 Penn State.</p>

Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey prepares to throw the ball Nov. 16 at Beaver Stadium. Ramsey threw for 371 yards and completed 31 of 41 pass attempts in the loss to No. 9 Penn State.

Following No. 12 Michigan’s win over Michigan State last week, senior quarterback Shea Patterson got caught looking two weeks ahead to the Wolverines’ matchup against Ohio State in his postgame interview, forgetting about their matchup against IU this weekend.

“We’re going to enjoy this win but in the back of our minds we got one more big one to go,” Patterson said.

Patterson would back-track and correct himself mentioning the team’s upcoming matchup against the Hoosiers but the mistake was made.

Being overlooked is nothing new for IU football.

It’s easy to overlook a team that often struggles to reach bowl-eligibility, but the Hoosiers have threatened to ruin team’s days when overlooked.

Playing a then-No. 25 Michigan State, the Hoosiers let their upset bid slip through the cracks as they allowed the Spartans to march down the field for a game-winning touchdown. 

Following that defeat, IU head coach Tom Allen sat stoically and plainly stated, “We’re for real. We ain’t going anywhere.”

Since then, Allen has been right.

IU went on to rattle off four-straight Big Ten wins — including a win on the road in Lincoln, Nebraska — and fell just short of upsetting No. 9 Penn State in University College, Pennsylvania.

Now IU has one last chance to get a signature win this season as No. 12 Michigan comes to Bloomington.

“Got a big opportunity with our seniors,” Allen said. “(Michigan) is playing their best football, watching them on film that last couple of days. A really impressive football team, physically and athletically and just doing a lot of great things in all three phases, they have got talented specialists. An excellent quarterback and stable of running backs. And, boy, really impressive receiver core.”

Michigan’s offense starts with Patterson and he’s been the type of quarterback IU has struggled to defend this season.

He’s an athletic quarterback that is a capable passer completing 59.1% of his passes for 2,157 yards and 16 touchdowns and has only thrown four interceptions.

Just like Michigan State’s senior quarterback Brian Lewerke and Penn State’s Sean Clifford, Patterson doesn’t look to run but has the ability to do damage with his feet. This season, Patterson has rushed the ball 69 times for 81 yards and five touchdowns.

“Him and Johnny Manziel are two of the best in terms of when they escape the pocket, they keep their eyes downfield,” IU defensive coordinator Kane Wommack said. “He does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield and always looking to extend drives to throw the ball and not just scramble and rush.”

Who Patterson is throwing to is just as big of a problem for IU’s defense.

The Wolverine’s receiving core is a deep group of big and talented players that can cause matchup issues against IU’s weakest defensive group.

Sophomore receiver Ronnie Bell leads Michigan’s receivers with 37 receptions for 621 yards but has yet to break the goal line this season.

Behind him are three more receivers that would likely headline most other team’s receiving corps in junior Nico Collins, junior Tarik Black and junior Donovan Peoples-Jones who all have more than 20 catches and over 260 yards apiece.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolverines are no slouch either as they enter the week as the fifth-ranked defense in the country allowing only 261.6 total yards per game and a mere 4.04 yard per play.

Michigan’s linebackers have the deadly combo experience and talent with seniors Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow anchoring the edges besides Indianapolis, native sophomore Cameron McGrone, who are three of the Wolverines’ top five leading tacklers.

As a result, Michigan ranks inside the top-20 in rushing defense allowing only 2.78 yards per rush this season, a category the IU offense ranks 84th in as they’ve only been able to earn 3.83 yards per rush.

With such a dominant defense facing the Hoosiers this week, as good as junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey looked against Penn State last week — completing 31-of-41 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown — the third-year starter might need to play even better if IU is going to score enough points to stun the Wolverines.

“We got a great chance to finish out a home slate for this season,” Allen said. “That's important to us and it's always about how you finish.”

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