The most stressful Michigan Wolverines football game week is here.
No, it’s not Ohio State. No, It’s not Michigan State. It’s actually the Indiana Hoosiers (kind of kidding, but also sort of serious).
Never has there been a more stressful and gray hair-inducing 23-game win streak in the history of college football. The Wolverines have won this one consecutively speaking for a longer amount of time than a fair amount of people that will read this preview. That said, it has been far from dominant.
Indiana tends to sneak up on teams and give them a scare, but there will be no sneaking up on anyone this year for the Hoosiers. Indiana sits at 7-3 on the year and is on a quest to finish a season with nine wins for the first time since 1967. Jim Harbaugh teams in particular are used to scares from the Hoosiers with the last two meetings in Bloomington coming down to overtime.
Indiana routinely is one of the toughest and most unique offenses to prepare for in the conference, records be damned. Don Brown defenses have struggled on the road at times and against some of the better playmakers he finds his unit matched up with. Slot receiver Whop Philyor fits that bill, but he is currently still in the concussion protocol after suffering a brain injury last weekend at Penn State. Peyton Ramsey gets the start at quarterback and the offense has not skipped a beat since he took back over for the injured Michael Penix.
The Michigan defense is due to come back down to earth a bit after a trio of standout performances in their last three games, meaning the offense is once again going to be be a key to start this game in a road environment. Another slow start might not be what the doctor ordered if they hope to come out of this game with a victory.
Michigan wins if: The offense continues to roll and the run game has a strong performance. Indiana is fourth in the Big Ten in passing defense, so do not expect another near-400 yard performance out of Shea Patterson. If Philyor plays, Michigan has to be much better on him than they were on KJ Hamler in the game at Penn State.
Indiana wins if: Brown’s defense is not able to slow down Indiana’s unorthodox attack and Michigan digs a hole for itself with turnovers and drives that end quickly. Defensively, the Hoosiers will look to reverse a Michigan trend of taking care of the football recently and hope they revert back to their early-season blunders.
Prediction: Michigan 34, Indiana 24
The Wolverines do not see this as a trap game and this certainly does not feel like one despite Ohio State on the schedule for next week. Everyone in Schembechler Hall is as on high alert for the Hoosiers and the problems they present as they were for Michigan State last week and some of the trickery that could cause it to be a closer game. Indiana is a far better football team than the ones that the Wolverines have struggled with in recent years and Harbaugh and the staff should have them ready to go in this one. I see this being a close game until the fourth quarter when Michigan puts them away.
Teams: No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 B1G) at Indiana Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3 B1G)
Date: Nov. 23, 2019
Location: Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe on the call)
Radio: 950 AM in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, see affiliate stations here
Spread: Michigan -9.5, over/under set at 54.5 points
What are your predictions for Saturday’s game? Sound off in the comments below with your score and why.