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Indiana could be a tougher game for Michigan than people think

The Hoosiers are always a tough out for Michigan.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan Wolverines head into their contest with the Indiana Hoosiers as heavy favorites, with the spread being set at -20 in favor of the Wolverines. To be clear, Michigan should be the heavy favorite in this game. The Wolverines have looked like the much better team, and Indiana is 2-6 and in the midst of a very underwhelming season.

Michigan should win easily, but they have struggled against the Hoosiers in the past, and lost their 24-game win streak against them a year ago — one week after losing to Michigan State.

Indiana always seems to give Michigan a good fight no matter what the team’s records are. In 2015, Michigan needed two overtimes to defeat the Hoosiers. In a snowy 2016 contest, Indiana held a lead in the third quarter before Michigan was able to pull away. The Wolverines needed overtime again in 2017. Indiana held a third quarter lead in 2018 as well. You see the trend — Indiana plays Michigan tough.

“They play hard, coach Allen’s a phenomenal coach,” safeties coach Ron Bellamy told the media on Wednesday. “Those guys, they’ve lost six games, and you look at the opponents they’ve played and they lost to, outside the Ohio State game, Cincinnati, the Michigan State game, last week against Maryland, Week 1 against Iowa was a tough one for them. They play some formidable opponents and they’ve held their own. They’re dealing with a rash of injuries. This is a very competitive, good football team. Fundamentally sound, tough as nails, definitely take on the personality of their coach.”

Bellamy brings up a great point: Indiana has faced a gauntlet of a schedule. Out of their six losses, four of those teams are currently ranked, and three are in the top 10. One of their unranked losses came on the road to Penn State, which is obviously a difficult game. Indiana was right there with Cincinnati and Michigan State. The Hoosiers are going to come ready to play.

This game being sandwiched between Michigan State and Penn State makes things challenging for Michigan as well. It’s a classic spot for a trap game. Every game is a must-win game at this point. If Michigan can take care of business the next three weeks, it will set up a colossal showdown in Ann Arbor on Nov. 27 for The Game. It all starts with Indiana on Saturday.