Specific Predictions For The Michigan/Indiana Game

Here are 10 things I think we'll see in Bloomington on Saturday.
Publish date:

Per CBSSports, here are the college football odds from William Hill and trends for Indiana vs. Michigan:

  • Michigan vs. Indiana spread: Wolverines -3
  • Michigan vs. Indiana over-under: 54
  • Michigan vs. Indiana money line: Wolverines -160, Hoosiers +140
  • MICH: RB Hassan Haskins has rushed for at least 60 yards in five of his past eight games.
  • IND: WR Whop Philyor has at least 65 receiving yards in six of the eight games with Michael Penix at QB. 

This game is really giving me a lot of trouble when it comes to making predictions. Which Michigan team is going to show up? Is Don Brown going to stay in man to man all day? Is Josh Gattis going to open up the playbook? Who's in and who's out? Is Daxton Hill going to shadow Whop Philyor like he did Michigan State's Jayden Reed?

All of those unknowns make it tough to guess how the game will play out, but here are my best shots at forecasting some specific happenings...

Player Predictions

Joe Milton will throw at least two touchdown passes

I'm not sure this is a prediction as much as it is a necessity, but I see it happening. Milton tossed just one touchdown pass in the opener against Minnesota, and despite throwing the ball 51 times against Michigan State, never found pay dirt. Josh Gattis needs to use Milton's strengths and push the ball down the field and call the game aggressively with the intention to score on big plays. It legitimately felt like Michigan wasn't even trying to get into the end zone against Michigan State at times. If that approach changed, Milton will throw some TD passes.

A Michigan running back will carry the ball at least 10 times

Again, not as much a prediction as it is a hope. So far, Hassan Haskins leads the team in carries with just 14 through two games. Against Michigan, Haskins, Zach Charbonnet, Chris Evans and Blake Corum carried the ball eight, five, three and five times respectively. That's simply not enough for any one ball carrier and is not an effective approach. Jay Harbaugh needs to ride one back more than any one else and sprinkle the others in based on situation or to give the bell cow a breather.

Ronnie Bell will score a touchdown

Bell has caught 64 balls as a Wolverine but has only found the end zone three times. He's gotten so close so many times, including in the opener against Minnesota where the turf monster got him. Bell is reliable, great after the catch and has phenomenal body control. It's time for him to get into the end zone.

Daxton Hill will keep Whop Philyor in check

I full expect Hill to shadow Philyor all day just like he did with Reed against Michigan State. Reed finished the day with just one catch for 18 yards against Michigan. Philyor is a weapon, so I'm not sure he'll be held down like Reed was, but I see a day where he has four catches or less for 60 yards or less and no touchdowns. Hill has been billed as one of the best cover men in the Big Ten and so far he's lived up to it.

Jalen Mayfield will not play

It sounds like Mayfield suffered a pretty bad ankle sprain last week and will miss Saturday's game. That could result in a pretty big shuffle along the offensive line. Does Andrew Stueber slide out to right tackle after battling Mayfield for the spot last year? Does he stay at guard in order to insert Karsen Barnhart at RT? Is Chuck Filiaga going to get bumped for the youngster Zak Zinter? It sounds like with Mayfield out, offensive line coach Ed Warinner is ready to experiment a bit. I'm not sure this is the best week for it, but Mayfield's bad wheel is forcing Warinner's hand a bit.

Team Predictions

The Michigan defense will record at least three sacks

After not getting to Rocky Lombardi once last week, this defensive unit is likely on fire heading into Saturday's contest. Indiana's Michael Penix is very mobile and tough to contain, but the defensive line and linebackers should all be actively trying to get hits on the quarterback after we saw what an average QB can do with time last weekend. Kwity Paye, Aidan Hutchinson, Cam McGrone, Josh Ross and Michael Barrett are too good to whiff on sacks two weeks in a row. 

The Michigan secondary will pick off a pass

Gemon Green has gotten his hands on two or three balls that could've been caught, but so far no Wolverine corners or safeties have picked off a pass. Linebacker Josh Ross snagged one against Minnesota, but everyone needs to see if the cover guys in Michigan's defense can take a ball away. If the Indiana coaches watched the MSU tape, they'll be challenging U-M's corners downfield, creating opportunities for the defensive backs to make some plays.

Michigan will score first

I don't know why, but I actually see Michigan getting off to a fast start in this one. It was such a slow, herky jerky game against Michigan State that I think Josh Gattis is going to go for the gusto early. I don't know if he'll keep his foot on the pedal, but I see U-M striking first and early.

Indiana's Stevie Scott will rush for 100 yards

Scott went for 139 yards as a true freshman against the Wolverines but was then kept in check last year. This year, he's basically the only Hoosier carrying the ball with 41 totes through two games. He's been corralled so far averaging, just 3.37 yards per carry, but he's better than that number. We saw Minnesota's Mohamed Ibrahim go for 140 yards on 26 carries against Michigan in the opener and I actually think Scott's day will be similar. I don't think he'll go off, but I see him going over 100 yards and being pretty effective throughout the day. 

Michigan will cover the spread

I feel the same way about this game as I did for the opener against Minnesota. As low as I am on Michigan after the loss to Michigan State, I still don't see the Minnesotas, Indianas, Marylands, Purdues and Illinoiss of the worlds beating Michigan. There's a reason Indiana hasn't beaten Michigan in 33 years — they don't have the same kind of talent and aren't as good. Period. I know Indiana beat Penn State and has a 13 by their name, but I still see U-M winning by at least fou