Matchup of the Week: Peyton Ramsey against Michigan’s man defense

The Michigan Wolverines are set up for a trap game against the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday with a looming game against Ohio State coming up in a couple of weeks.

The Hoosiers play the Wolverines tough every time the two teams meet. The last five games in the series have been decided by two touchdowns or less. However, Michigan is in the midst of a 23-game winning streak.

Indiana has slowly but surely been trying to copy Ohio State in their game plan against Michigan, especially over the last two seasons. A big reason for that because of QB Peyton Ramsey. Now a junior, Ramsey has found a way to get things done in the air and on the ground against the Wolverines over the past two seasons.

Now, his numbers won’t jump off the page, but he is what has kept the games so close over the past two seasons. In 2018, Ramsey threw for 195 yards thanks to plenty of crossing routes in a spread offensive system. Michigan’s man-to-man defense really struggled throughout the majority of the game, and the Wolverines even trailed at halftime 17-15.

It was a hard fought game for the whole second half, but Michigan’s defense took advantage of a fumble and a couple of turnover on downs around mid-field to win the game.

This season, the Michigan defense is clearly not as strong as last year’s team, and they run the same flawed system defensively. Along with that, this is the best Indiana Hoosiers team that has come out of Bloomington in years.

It seems like the Hoosiers will be without their top receiving target Whop Philyor due to a potential concussion he sustained in practice this week. While that is a big blow, there are plenty of other target for Ramsey to hit. While Philyor has over 850 receiving yards on the season, there are four other players on the team with at least 350.

Ramsey is coming off a career day when the Hoosiers nearly upset Penn State as he was 31-41 for 371 yards and 3 TD’s (including two on the ground). The Indiana QB has become exactly the kind of mobile quarterback that can absolutely burn Don Brown’s defense.

Throughout the course of Brown’s tenure we have seen his defense have fits against mobile quarterbacks. Every single season with Urban Meyer as the head of the OSU program, Meyer made sure his QB had designed runs out of their system when they played Michigan. We even saw it last season from the least athletic quarterback he has had in Dwayne Haskins who ran the ball seven times for 35 yards in the crushing blowout last season. While it may not be super impressive numbers, he converted some key first downs with his feet. The fact that Haskins could move the chains just added another element of difficulty to the Buckeyes offensive scheme with another weapon that Brown had to try and figure out how to stop.

Now, Ramsey could be used in the same capacity and this Michigan defense is going to need to be in tip-top shape to slow him down. If not, there could be an upset brewing in Bloomington this weekend.

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Author:

Daniel Plocher