Indiana emphasizing ‘confidence’ as No. 17 Michigan looms

Indiana University football stadium. (WISH Photo/Marcus Collins)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — 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 break-through 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. It has 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 break through 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 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 (break through) is going to happen. When it does, we’ll go after bigger goals.”