Friday, October 1, 2010

Replogle's Return Fuels IU's Prospects

Here’s all you need to know about Indiana’s chances of beating No. 19 Michigan today and, perhaps, alter the direction of the program for the next decade:

Tyler Replogle is back.

The senior linebacker missed last Saturday’s win over Akron as a precaution for a concussion and he still leads the team in tackles. In two games he has 19. Safety Mitchell Evans and linebacker Leon Beckum both have 17 in three games.

Replogle is the key to IU’s defense. He’s the tough-minded soul of a unit that has not played to its coach’s belief. That has to stop. Replogle has to lead the way be word and deed.

If that sounds like too much pressure for a guy who is not the second coming of Ray Lewis, well, somebody has to step up and no defensive player fits the role as well as Replogle.

With him IU can beat Michigan. Without him, it ain't happening.

The Hoosiers, of course, can’t beat Michigan by just defense. They have to score, punish with the run, control with the pass. They need balance and imagination and the tenacity to take the Wolverines’ best shot with a better shot of their own.

The game looks to be a sell-out, and that’s as it should be. This might not be a perfect football team, it has flaws and areas of weakness and inexperience. But it has enough to win with, certainly at home in front of a raucous, supportive crowd.

This is the moment, the team and the opponent. It’s time, at long last, to show these are the new, for real Hoosiers.

It’s time to win.

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