4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Michigan

1. Turnover margin
Indiana and Michigan have been the Big Ten’s two most error-prone offensive teams through the first five games. The Hoosiers are dead-last in the conference margin, having committed seven more turnovers than they have takeaways. The Wolverines are second-worst in the league at minus-five. Michigan is coming off an especially ugly performance in last week’s loss to Michigan State, committing five turnovers — three of which were interceptions by John O’Korn. Although IU has merely four takeaways this season, coach Tom Allen has identified 30 that could or should have gone Indiana’s way. The Hoosiers will need at least one or two on Saturday.

2. Defensive struggle
Michigan presents the best defense Indiana will see all season. Meanwhile, IU’s defense could present continued problems for the Wolverines’ topsy-turvy offense. Which unit wins the day? Under defensive coordinator Don Brown, Michigan has scored six defensive touchdowns during the past season and a half. During that same span, the Wolverines have posted 160 tackles for loss (8.8 per game) and 64 sacks (3.5 per game). Indiana will be hoping to get one or both of cornerback A’Shon Riggins and hybrid safety Marcelino Ball back in action. Defensive tackle Nate Hoff is expected to play.

3. Kickin’ it with the specialists
Indiana’s Griffin Oakes and Michigan’s Quinn Nordin are among the top kickers in the conference. They might be needed on Saturday. Oakes, IU’s most productive kicker in program history, is 5-for-5 on the season after an inconsistent 2016 campaign. On the other side of the field, Nordin is fourth nationally with 2.4 field goals per game. Nordin has converted 12 of his 14 field goal attempts this season and is 19th nationally in scoring (10.0 points per game).

4. Who helps Ramsey?
Indiana’s freshman quarterback will need assistance. IU’s offensive line has gelled in recent weeks, but is it up to the challenge against Michigan’s quick and athletic defensive front? Can the Hoosier O-line create enough of a push to get traction for running backs like Morgan Ellison? In the passing game, keep an eye on tight end Ian Thomas, who is second among Big Ten tight ends with 254 receiving yards. His three touchdowns are tied for second in the league among tight ends and tied for fourth nationally.