Staff Score Predictions: Michigan At Indiana
Michigan is a 9.5-point favorite over the Hoosiers, which is pretty substantial given how Indiana has played and with U-M being the road team. Making the right pick this week is trickier than it was last week and Indiana has a knack for making it even trickier than that. Here's how we see it playing out...
I actually think Michigan has finally figured it all out on offense. The defense has been good for a while, and the running game has been dominant at times, but last week was the first time that things worked well through the air.
Granted, it was against Michigan State, who has allowed several quarterbacks to have a career day this year, but I was very encouraged by what the passing attack looked like. The bubbles, RPO game and intermediate routes were all on display and allowed U-M's athletes to shine.
If Michigan can get any sort of balance with an effective run game and an explosive passing game, coupled with a dominant defense and a playmaking special teams unit, Indiana could be in trouble at home. I think we'll see some semblance of that allowing Michigan to control the game. I don't think they'll completely shut down the Hoosiers, because they are competent on offense, but I expect the Wolverines to cruise for a conference road game.
Michigan 31, Indiana 13
Having watched Indiana several times this season, two things have stood out to me. First, they have an impressive array of skill position talent (especially when Michael Penix is in the lineup, which he no longer is). Second, they have played one of the softest schedules in the conference. Half of the Hoosiers' opponents are currently ranked 86th or worst according to S&P analytics, and that doesn't include an FCS foe analytics don't consider and Nebraska (69th). And in that Nebraska game that the Hoosiers came back to win, Adrian Martinez did not play. In fact, Dylan McCaffrey's younger brother, Luke, was the Huskers quarterback that day.
But make no mistake, Indiana has the skill to take advantage of some matchups in space if Peyton Ramsey is given time. However, games are ultimately won and lost in the trenches, and it's there that Michigan holds the largest advantage in the game.
The only time this season Indiana faced an opponent who could dominate them up front was against Ohio State, and that was a blowout. Indiana has improved since then, and Michigan isn't as explosive as the Buckeyes, so this one won't precisely follow that precedent. Yet in the end, Michigan is too physical, while Indiana gets a backdoor cover touchdown.
Michigan 31, Indiana 24
Even though this game should scare everyone because of Michigan's recent struggles against Indiana and where it is sandwiched on the schedule, I think the way that Michigan is playing in all three facets, and the way that the coaching staff has embraced their best players allows for Michigan to win this pretty easily tomorrow. I don't think the game will ever be in doubt in the second half.
Michigan 35, Indiana 17
What say you? How do you see the game playing out and what's your score prediction? Comment below!!!