WIN, LOSE OR DRAW: Western Michigan

Part two of a 12-part series outlining Indiana football’s opponents this season.

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OPPONENT: Western Michigan

DATE: Sept. 12

TIME: Noon

TV: Big Ten Network

TICKETS: Click here.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Western Michigan’s official site.

Media guide

Coverage from the Kalamazoo Gazette, the local newspaper.

HISTORY VS. INDIANA: Indiana is 4-0 alltime. The last meeting came in 2007, with a 37-27 win at Western Michigan.

WHO ARE THEY: The Broncos are one of the better teams in the Mid-American Conference. The 2008 Texas Bowl participants were picked second (to Central Michigan) in the MAC’s West Division in a preseason media poll. The offense is “multiple” and returns seven starters, including standout quarterback Tim Hiller and four offensive linemen. It’s a 4-3 defensive set, but two linemen and two linebackers are all that is returning. Bill Cubit is in his fifth season as head coach. He was previously offensive coordinator at Stanford, Rutgers, Missouri and Western Michigan.

OFFENSIVE STAR: Hiller, a senior, is a 6-foot-5, 228-pound gunslinger with plenty of experience. He started five games as a true freshman in 2005, sat out 2006 with an injury and has started every game during the last two seasons. He threw for 3,725 yards in 2008, completing 64.9 percent of his passes. Thirty-six touchdowns to 10 interceptions, as well. He’s one of 33 quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s best quarterback. The Western Michigan media relations staff has even created a website, WhereIsTimHiller.com, for him.

DEFENSIVE STAR: Senior linebacker Austin Pritchard was first-team All-MAC as a junior, finishing up the season with 86 tackles, 12.5 for a loss. Fifth-year guy who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 233 pounds. Had seven tackles against Nebraska, and a career-high 17 at Central Michigan.

WHY INDIANA WILL WIN: Western Michigan is clearly a team that will need to replace most of its defense. Those that do return are not stars, but just solid pieces of the puzzle. Indiana’s pistol formation is just quirky enough to throw off the Broncos, and create confusion on the field. If Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell is on his game, he could throw for a lot of yards and Indiana could have a great day.

WHY WESTERN MICHIGAN WILL WIN: Hiller is a tremendous quarterback with a rifle arm. The last time Indiana played a similar MAC team, it saw Central Michigan’s Brian Bruner throw for 485 yards and four touchdowns. The Indiana pass-rush will be important against four experienced linemen, as well as stopping senior running back Brandon West (1,026 rushing yards and 38 receptions in 2008).

NOW YOU: Call it — win, lose or draw? Well, ok, just win or lose. State your reason, as well.

14 comments

  1. Lose. Hope I’m wrong, but Tim Hiller and that offensive attack is too good. Chalk up another MAC win over the Hoosiers.

  2. I think we’ll find out how much improved our defense is after this game. I think its pretty much a toss-up, but because of that I’ve got a bad feeling about this one. It could set a bad tone for the rest of the season, much like what happened with Ball State last year.

  3. Again I would like to think “win likely”, but this game reminds me so much of last year’s BSU game too. I know some WMU fans that really think we were lucky to win the last time and that they will get even this time. There is NO question that they are a very good program in their league.

    It is very difficult to predict without having seen any games at all except the spring practice and I know it is fence-straddling, but I’m going to call this one a toss-up.

    We should do this again between the non-conference and BigTen season.

    Questions–Is practice open to the public? Will there be an end of camp scrimmage open to the public?

  4. WMU fans always seem to think we’re “lucky” to win.

    31-3 in a half isn’t “luck”.

    WMU opened as 11 point dogs at Michigan. Would we be 11 point dogs at Michigan?

  5. IU wins 30-27 same type game Iu gets out early and WM adjust [IU’s D gets tired] and comes back in 2nd half, but not quite enough again.

  6. Indiana comes away with a win. I think Indiana will have to much on the defensive side. Western Michigan will have one to many turnovers.

  7. It’s a (sad) joke that there is so much uncertainty and chatter about whether we will beat a MAC team. It’s like this past basketball season: “How will we match up against Lipscomb and Northeastern? Is there any way we can sneak by IUPUI?”

    I hope someday we can be talking about the Ohio State or Wisconsin games this way.

  8. This will be a tough game against a tough, well coached opponent in WMU. We should win our first game without too much difficulty (1-0). This one will be a real test but, even if we lose, if we can stay healthy; we should beat Akron the following week. (2-1).

  9. Western fan here; I don’t think you guys got lucky in the last game, but our coach screwed up replacing our qb for three strait possessions in the second quarter. With out that series of fumbles and the points you turned them into it’s a very different game. Not saying the outcome would have changed just that it might have because the game would have played out differently.

  10. Another Bronco fan here, I also don’t think it was luck that the Hoosiers won in ’07, but understand why others think so. You have to admit when IU wins it is not very pretty. All in all this year I am hoping for a good game, WMU’s defence is untested and could turn out to be a suprise. But unless the bronc’s D proves to be much better than expected I give the edge to IU and expect a hoosier win by 7+ pts.

  11. @WK

    Should beat Akron? Do you know anything about college football?

    Akron is loaded with talent this year (i.e. better than WMU) and we’re going there to play in their new stadium that was engineered for crowd noise.

    I don’t want to upset any fellow Hoosiers… but the MAC is going to own us this year, and we’ll be 1-2 after three weeks. I wish it could be different, but I don’t think it will be.

  12. Lose. Western offense is too much this year. The rookie defense will gain some much-needed experience in the Michigan game. Hopefully I’m wrong.

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