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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 1:00 am

IU confident it can end decades-long losing streak

Associated Press


at Indiana

When: Noon Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington


Radio: 1250 AM

BLOOMINGTON – History is not Indiana's friend. Not against Michigan.

The Hoosiers haven't beaten the No. 17 Wolverines in 30 years. With Michigan coming to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, coach Tom Allen said he doesn't care. He continues to push the breakthrough theme, in this series and for the Indiana program.

“The word this week is confidence,” he said Monday. “It's doing the little things you're supposed to do, in the weight room, in practice, before practice, after practice, in the preparation. It's making competitive plays when the game comes down to it.”

Indiana (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) has had recent opportunities against the Wolverines (4-1, 1-1). Two years ago, it lost 48-41 in double overtime at Memorial Stadium. The Wolverines tied the game with a fourth-down touchdown pass in the closing seconds of regulation. Last season in Ann Arbor, the Hoosiers led 10-6 late in the third quarter before Michigan pulled out a 20-10 win.

Indiana's last victory over the Wolverines came 14-10 in 1987. The Hoosiers have lost 21 straight and 36 of the last 37 meetings.

Allen knows the history and is driven to change it.

“You don't do it by talking about it,” he said, “you do it by changing the way you prepare. To me, that's what this is about. A breakthrough is going to happen. When is up to the players.”

Michigan is coming off a 14-10 home loss to rival Michigan State. Indiana is coming off its first shutout victory since 1993, 27-0 against Charleston Southern. The Hoosiers have the nation's No. 2 defense in forcing three-and-out series. Michigan is No. 1 on three-and-outs.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh seems to be holding out hope Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight can return with to play this season after injuring his back.

Despite Speight having “some cracks in his vertebrae,” Harbaugh said Monday that “I don't know that he'll be out for the year.”

Speight was hurt in the first quarter of last month's victory at Purdue. Harbaugh reiterated he expects Speight to be out for multiple weeks.

Harbaugh will give John O'Korn his second straight start Saturday. O'Korn threw three interceptions in the loss to Michigan State in his first start of the season.

“Michigan is a program that expects to win,” Allen said. “There's no question they'll come back with a resurgence in focus. They'll probably be sharper and more detailed than ever.”

A victory would be a big step for an Indiana program seeking its first winning season since 2007.

“We know what we believe and what we want to do,” Allen said. “I want a team that is going to be tough. A team that is going to finish. That's what I want. That's part of the process. We know what the record is. We're not running from it. I believe a (breakthrough) is going to happen. When it does, we'll go after bigger goals.”