There is not much more to be said heading into this game that has not already been said this week. This week is another experiment in if momentum exists in college football in either direction and if can be stopped by getting back on the field. For the Michigan Wolverines, that comes in the form of regaining the positive vibes that they left the field at Minnesota a few weeks ago with.
The challenge only gets more difficult this week with a trip to take on the undefeated Indiana Hoosiers, who still have not put together a complete football game despite being 2-0 on the year.
Indiana is the team with all the positive momentum coming into this game with the first 2-0 start in Big Ten play since the 1991 season. Despite all of this, the Hoosiers are staring a 59-9 all-time deficit to the Wolverines and are hoping to snap a 27-game losing streak in the series. And it certainly appears they have the goods to do it, led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and an Indiana offense that still feels like it has that next gear to unlock.
It has been a quiet week for Michigan after the outrage from fans and pundits alike coming off of last week’s loss to Michigan State. For some, it signals the potential start to the end of an era in Ann Arbor, while others believe that it could simply be an oversight of a rival. It was troubling regardless and we are going to find out about this group’s mental stability on Saturday.
What these two teams play for in Bloomington on Saturday is the right for their game against Ohio State to be consequential. If Michigan falls to 1-2, you can pretty much kiss that goodbye. Indiana gives itself a chance to do something special if it is able to win this game on Saturday.
Things being quiet in Schembechler Hall this week (which is admittedly understandable given the loss to MSU and the backdrop of a close presidential election) might be just what the doctor ordered. It felt like the Wolverines got high on their own product against Michigan State, so the bucket of cold water thrown on them over the last seven days could sober them up and make them realize that these games are played on the field, not through press clippings or Vegas odds.
I expect this to be a close game like the two games in Bloomington prior to last season were with the possibility that this one goes to overtime. If Michigan is going to pull this one out, we will have to see offensive balance similar to what we saw in the first game of the year with the rushing attack leading the way. Indiana is 10th in the conference in run defense at 185.5 yards per contest, so surpassing that number might be where Michigan’s best chance to win that game is.
However, Indiana has a good secondary and already has five picks on the young season. With Michigan’s receivers struggling to get separation down the field through the first two weeks of the year, I would expect the Hoosiers to pack the box to try and stop the run like MSU did. It will be incumbent upon Josh Gattis to call a creative game that keeps Indiana off balance.
Michigan’s goals are still ahead of them despite the disappointment of last week. At this point, anyone investing any amount of energy simply has to have their fingers crossed that last week’s loss to MSU lights a spark that puts Michigan into The Game with only one loss. There could very well be losses that come between now and then, but I am picking Michigan this week.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Indiana 28
Date: Nov. 7, 2020
Location: Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Television: Fox Sports 1 (Joe Davis and Brock Huard on the call)
Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, FuboTV (free trial link here)
Radio: 950 AM in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, see affiliate stations here
Spread: Michigan -3.5, over/under set at 54 points (Vegas Insider)