The Michigan Wolverines (7-2, 4-1) will look to maintain their momentum as they travel to face the slumping Indiana Hoosiers (4-5, 0-5) in a Big Ten Conference East Division matchup Saturday afternoon. Michigan has won the last 10 meetings dating back to 1999; that run includes a 34-10 win at home as a 7.5 point favorite on November 1, 2014 in the most recent meeting.
Michigan has won two straight after crushing Rutgers 49-16 at home last week to move into a tie for second in the Big Ten East. Indiana has lost five straight after starting the year 4-0; they were beaten 35-27 at home by #9 Iowa last week. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET and will be televised on either ABC or ESPN2 depending on where you live. Michigan is currently situated as a 13 point favorite with the over/under set at 56 points.
Michigan led 14-3 after the first quarter and expanded that advantage to 35-16 at the half; the Wolverines shut the Scarlet Knights out in the second half. The Wolverines more than doubled Rutgers’ offensive performance as they finished with 487 yards to the Scarlet Knights’ 225. Michigan finished with 25 first downs to Rutgers’ 17, held the ball for 33:04 and forced the only turnover in the victory. The Wolverines do need to tighten up a bit on special teams: Rutgers’ only touchdown came on a kick return.
The Wolverines enter this contest ranked just 92nd in the nation in passing offense (201 yards per game) and are 66th in the nation in rushing with an average of 171.9 yards per contest. Michigan is tied for 63rd in the nation in scoring offense by putting up 30.9 points per game while they are 1st in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 11.9 points per contest. Jake Rudock has completed 152 of 242 passes for 1,443 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions while adding 80 yards and four scores on the ground. Wilton Speight is 3 of 10 for 29 yards and a score as the backup. The run game is led by De’Veon Smith (120 carries, 524 yards, 5 TD) while Ty Isaac (30 carries, 205 yards, TD), Drake Johnson (43 carries, 210 yards, 2 TD) and Derrick Green (47 carries, 157 yards, 2 TD) all have contributed when given the opportunity. Amara Darboh leads the Wolverines with 37 receptions for 458 yards and three scores; tight end Jake Butt (31 catches, 418 yards, TD) and Jehu Chesson (23 catches, 259 yards, 3 TD) are the only other players with more than 12 catches. Kenny Allen has hit all 30 extra points and 12 of 15 field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards.
Indiana had their opportunities against the undefeated Hawkeyes but couldn’t come up with enough plays to escape with a win. The Hoosiers were outgained 467-407 in a game that both teams finished with 26 first downs. Indiana lost the time of possession battle 34:30 to 25:30 and committed the only turnover in the contest. The Hoosiers were within 21-20 early in the fourth quarter but gave up two touchdowns and couldn’t come back from that double digit deficit.
The Hoosiers are 31st in the nation in passing offense with an average of 275.1 yards per game and is currently 48th in the nation in rushing with 185.8 yards per contest. Indiana is putting up 32.4 points per game, putting them tied for 47th in the nation in scoring offense but they have to tighten up defensively as they allow 37 points per contest, which is currently just 115th in the nation as far as scoring defense. Nate Sudfeld is 158 of 263 for 2,229 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions; if he can’t go, Zander Diamont (15 of 31, 166 yards, 18 carries, 136 yards, 2 TD) would be the likely starter. Jordan Howard leads the Hoosiers with 158 carries for 961 yards and seven scores; if he can’t go, the Hoosiers will need Devine Redding (134 carries, 463 yards, 7 TD) to step up and make some contributions on the ground. Ricky Jones (team high 41 catches, 708 yards, 5 TD) and Simmie Cobbs Jr. (36 grabs, 552 yards, 3 TD) are the top two receiving threats for the Hoosiers. Mitchell Paige (33 receptions, 416 yards, 2 TD) is the only other Indiana player with more than a dozen receptions. Griffin Oakes has booted 34 of 37 extra points and 12 of 14 field goals this season with a long of 45 yards.
Michigan is 4-1 ATS in their last five after an ATS win and 6-2 ATS in their last eight in November. Indiana is 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight following an ATS loss, 3-10-1 ATS in their last 14 after allowing at least 450 yards, 0-4 ATS in their last four after a straight up loss, 0-4 ATS in their last four conference games and 0-4 ATS in their last four overall.
The bloom is off the rose from Indiana’s 4-0 start as they’ve dropped five in a row heading into this one. Michigan is playing very well at the moment and they won’t overlook Indiana but their defense will force the Hoosiers to make critical mistakes that will ultimately be converted into points. Give the points and take Michigan in this contest.