Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 05, 2007 Tony Nicolette's Gliac Column

Game of the Week

#24 Hillsdale (4-1, 4-1) at Indianapolis (3-1, 4-1)

As I mentioned above, Hillsdale has not been as crisp on the road as they would like. The Chargers are 1-1 away from Muddy Waters, and gave up 41 points in each affair. Based on the way UIndy's defense has been playing lately, I don't think it's a stretch to surmise that if the Greyhounds score 41 on Saturday they'll be in pretty good shape. With that said, UIndy hasn't had to slow down a team scoring even close to 45 points a game since they lost to Tech back in Week Two. The Chargers are clipping along at 45.6 per heading into Saturday.

Much has been made of these two QB's, and the match-up should be entertaining. I'll be more interested to see how each team is able to run the ball. Will the injury-plagued 'Hounds be able to keep up the solid production they have enjoyed? Will Hillsdale be able to establish enough of a ground game to keep the UIndy defense honest so Mark Nicolet to do what he wants?

Hillsdale Keys:
- Stop the run. UIndy has been successful running the ball, despite the fact that they are down to their sixth and seventh string guys having to get carries. Because of that success, Casey Gillin hasn't had to throw the ball very much. Not only are the RB's dealing with injuries, but the top two/three WR's are all out as well. If UIndy has to throw (especially in a pressure situation), will the untested receivers be up to the challenge? HC might be well-served to find out.
- Keep opposing offense off the board. So far, this has been a big problem on the road. It can't be this weekend for Hillsdale to win.
- Generate turnovers. Hillsdale is a league best +10 in turnover margin. Indianapolis is a league worst -6. Exploiting that might be a good idea.
- It's been a magic season thus far for Mark Nicolet. Another great game (almost pedestrian for him at this point) will certainly put the Chargers in position to claim the victory.

UIndy Keys:
- Get pressure on Nicolet. No one really has yet this year, and making him react vs. doing what he wants will be important.
- No mistakes. Gillin and company have done well at that thus far, and Hillsdale doesn't need any help with short fields.
- Run the ball. Hey, NMU had one guy get over 300 yards against them. Despite the injuries, UIndy has had success at this anyway. Having some more this week is imperative. Long drives keep Nicolet off the field.
- Homecoming - Loud crowd, etc. All right, I've beaten that to death and you all get it.

Prediction: These are two teams that are playing at a pretty high level at the moment. Both have shown the ability to play good defense, and each has a potent offense. With that said, I just think that Hillsdale has way too much firepower. If they can avoid the turnovers and sub-par defense that plagued them in their last two road games, I think they just have too much for UIndy. It won't be a gimme, however. Hillsdale 35, UIndy 27.

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