An early look at WMU — IU a 1-point favorite

After overcoming a 17-0 deficit at Ball State last year to win 24-23, Indiana still hasn’t lost to a MAC football team in three decades since falling to Miami of Ohio in 1977.

But oddsmakers have the Hoosiers (1-0) as just a one-point favorite this Saturday against a Western Michigan team (0-1) that last year made a bowl game for the first time in 18 years. The Broncos (8-5 last year) lost to Cincinnati, 27-24, in the first International Bowl in Toronto.

Last year, Indiana blew out Western Michigan 39-20 in the season-opening game in Bloomington. That game, with IU gaining 323 yards of total offense and Western Michigan 289, could have been much closer if not for a 66-yard interception return by Chris Phillips and an 86-yard punt return by Tracy Porter helped the Hoosiers win handily.

The challenge in Kalamazoo at Waldo Stadium (capacity just over 36,000) will be somewhat similar to the Ball State game last year in that both games mark the only time a Big Ten football team has visited these MAC schools, making it a big day for the home crowds.

The Broncos are 9-1 at home over the past two seasons with the only loss coming on a 60-57 5OT game against Ball State in 2005.

In Western Michigan’s season-opening 62-24 loss to third-ranked West Virginia, the Broncos biggest problem was defense, allowing WVU 542 yards of total offense, 316 on the ground and 226 in the air.

One IU-related note from that game: The Rivals.com site that covers West Virginia sports gave a game ball to WVU freshman safety Sidney Glover. Glover, along with Indianapolis safety Jerimy Finch, were the two biggest fish to wriggle back off the hook after giving IU verbal commitments to be part of its 2007 recruiting class.

Rivals.com reported that Glover made four unassisted tackles in the open field during the Western Michigan game and looks like he will provide strong depth in the WVU defensive backfield as a true freshman.