With a bowl spot already secured, the Indiana Hoosiers will try to score a win over a ranked team this week as they welcome the no. 13 Michigan Wolverines to town. Game time is at 3:30 EST on Saturday, November 23 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Current betting odds have Michigan favored by 9.5 points on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 53.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 13 college football odds.
The Hoosiers find themselves in unfamiliar territory this season, having qualified for a bowl game by the end of October. Indiana has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the Big Ten this season. At 7-3 and with a bowl game already wrapped up, the Hoosiers would love to add a win over a ranked team to their resume. They came close against Penn State last week, ultimately losing 34-27. If the Hoosiers can pull off an upset this week, take care of rival Purdue next week, and then win their bowl game, they could have the first 10-win season in program history, giving Indiana a lot to play for late in the year.
The Wolverines are in a similar position. They are out of the running in the Big Ten title race and the College Football Playoff conversation. At 8-2, Michigan is also assured of a bowl game this season. That leaves the Wolverines looking to pad their win total and reach 10 wins for the fourth time in Jim Harbaugh’s five seasons at his alma mater. There’s also the little matter of Michigan’s rivalry game with Ohio State next week. The Wolverines will want to be sharp for that game but avoid looking past Indiana.
It’s also worth mentioning that Michigan has a 23-game winning streak against Indiana at stake in this game. While they haven’t met every season during this time, the Hoosiers haven’t knocked off Michigan since 1987. Of course, Indiana has managed to push the Wolverines to overtime in each of their last two visits to Bloomington, which should give the Hoosiers some confidence that they can take down Michigan this time.
This feels like a classic trap game for Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off a rivalry game against Michigan State and it’ll be hard for them not to look ahead to next week’s matchup with Ohio State. Indiana has proven this season that they’re not a team you can overlook. With the home crowd behind them, I think the Hoosiers will push this game into the fourth quarter and at least beat the 9.5-point spread.
Despite losing to Penn State last week, the Hoosiers proved that they’re as good as their record indicates. Backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey had one of the best games of his career, completing 31 of 41 passes for 371 yards. Keep in mind that Ramsey has more experience than most backup quarterbacks. He’s seen plenty of high-level defenses in his career and won’t be the least bit intimidated to face the Wolverines.
Indiana will also be eager to establish their ground game with running back Stevie Scott. Michigan, of course, is great defensively and has stuffed the run against every team they’ve played outside of Wisconsin. However, the Hoosiers saw a stout run defense last week against Penn State and will know what they’re up against. Plus, Indiana is unlikely to abandon the run, even if they have limited success. That will force the Wolverines to focused on stopping Scott, who’s a powerful back capable of breaking tackles and making something out of nothing.
Meanwhile, I’m still not sure if I’m buying Michigan’s late-season offensive surge. At times, the Wolverines have been able to beat up on lesser teams, skewing some of their offensive numbers. The Michigan rushing attack has been solid all season but not necessarily explosive. In fact, the Wolverines don’t even rank among the top-100 nationally in rushing yards per game. November games in the Big Ten typically require a reliable running game, which is one area where Indiana has the edge in this game.
I also remain a little bullish on quarterback Shea Patterson. To be fair, he’s coming off a huge game against Michigan State with four touchdown passes and 384 yards passing. However, he’s also been held under 200 yards passing in four of his last six games. On the season, his completion percentage is below 60% and he’s not producing the kinds of numbers I would expect considering the talent Michigan has at wide receiver. With a rather mediocre running game, Michigan needs more out of Patterson than they’re getting most weeks.
In the end, I’m just not crazy about Michigan having to cover more than a touchdown on the road. The Hoosiers have surely had this game circled on their schedule all season while the Wolverines will be tempted to look past Indiana. With Indiana’s running game and quarterback, they have enough to make this a close game. I’m not sure if the Hoosiers can get their long-awaited win over the Wolverines, but I do like Indiana’s chances of beating the spread.