Michigan football travels to Indiana this week ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press poll and already having won two more games than last season.
Asked how the Wolverines are different this season than in 2014 when they went 5-7, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson began by suggesting they might not have been far from this level under former coach Brady Hoke.
“They were last year, what, top two, three, four in most defensive stats?” Wilson said. “Prideful team.”
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He credited new head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff with “cleaning up” the Michigan offense, which was widely viewed as an underachieving unit in the later years of the Hoke era while the defense was in the top 20 in both rushing yards and passing yards allowed last season. The Wolverines were 27th in scoring defense and 62nd in pass efficiency defense.
This year they are in the top three in rushing yards, passing yards and total yards allowed as well as No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 1 in pass efficiency defense.
The offense is 10 more points and almost 40 more yards per game.
“I think as probably they've cleaned up their offense, there's probably more team unity, team synergy, where I think last year it was some of their issues,” Wilson said. “The way they played offensively they struggled, took the air out of the team, the defense.”
He compared the Wolverines to No. 8 Iowa, a team that beat Indiana 35-27 last week.
“They've got it going in all three phases and complementing each other,” Wilson continued, referring to Michigan. “They're good in many areas, but the defensive strength — it was a really good defense, now it's being complemented the way the offense is playing.”