The Wolverines return to Ann Arbor to take on the Indiana Hoosiers at 4:00pm on FS1 for their final home game of the season after taking down Rutgers in New Jersey in a rather routine route, 42-7. Indiana picked up their second win in conference play last week, defeating Maryland in Bloomington 34-32. Head Coach Tom Allen has reigned in the tempo a bit from the breakneck speed of the Kevin Wilson days, but the offense still likes to move quickly and their spread attack has some elements that the Wolverines will see again the following week in Columbus. Much like in 2016, the Wolverines enter the game ranked 4th and a week away from a potential top ten matchup against the Buckeyes that should decide the Big Ten East.
Offensively, the Hoosiers are a slightly pass-leaning spread attack. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey has put together a solid season from a statistical standpoint, completing 67% of his passes for over 2300 yards and 17 scores while adding 266 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns. He spreads the ball around through the air. 7 Hoosiers have over 20 receptions for the year. For comparison, the Wolverines have 3. Donovan Hale paces the team in receiving yards at 425. On the ground, bruiser Stevie Scott leads the charge with 894 yards on 178 carries, 8 of which went for touchdowns. Overall, they average just over 28 points a game, basically middle of the road for the Big Ten. Expect the Wolverines to turn up the pressure from last week’s effort and add a few in the sack column and also add to Ramsey’s 11 interceptions.
On defense, the Hoosiers have struggled. Allowing 30 points a game on the season, the team is 75th in the nation against the pass and 79th against the rush. Jonathan Crawford and Dameon Willis Jr pace the team in tackles with 55 and 51 respectively from the safety and linebacker positions. While they give up plenty of yards, they’ve also forced 24 turnovers on 11 interceptions and a nation leading 13 fumble recoveries. The Wolverines have only turned the ball over 7 times on the season, tied for 3rd best nationally. Which of those trends holds will play a big role in determining how tight this game is. Look for Michigan to try to reestablish the run after being slowed by Rutgers last week.
Like the 2016 matchup, snow is expected to fall for most of the afternoon. Indiana hung around in that game, giving the Wolverines a bit of a scare before their massive showdown in Columbus. Unlike the 2016 matchup, John O’Korn is not playing quarterback for the Wolverines. Michigan appears on a mission in 2018 and won’t slip up before getting to Ohio State. Karan Higdon will get back on track as he says goodbye to Michigan Stadium, Chase Winovich will get back in the sack column in his final home game, and Donovan Peoples-Jones will again lead the receivers in yardage.
Matchup to Watch
Michigan Front 7 v Indiana Offensive Line
One of Indiana’s known strengths heading into the season was their offensive line. With their spread attack being built on rhythm, winning this battle and getting to Peyton Ramsey will be key.
Final Score Prediction
Michigan 41 Indiana 10