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INDIANA at MICHIGAN: Game preview, odds, how-to-watch, and more

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Did you know Tom Crean married into the Harbaugh family?

NCAA Football: Maryland at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Indiana Hoosiers (5-5 [2-5], #81 S&P+) at Michigan Wolverines (9-1 [7-0], #4 S&P+)

When? Saturday, 11/17/18 4:00 PM, Ann Arbor, MI

Channel? FS1

Vegas? Michigan -28

S&P+ Projection? Michigan -28.6


So the Hoosiers do have some life left in them. Sure it took four turnovers, a host of injuries to an already one-dimensional Maryland offense and a Indiana needed a late field goal to avoid a massive collapse but it’s Indiana. They weren’t going to do it any other way!

Last week’s win was obviously big for bowl game purposes largely because this week had been written as a loss for weeks. Sure it’s Indiana against a ranked team. Sure Indiana hung with Michigan in the snow in Ann Arbor that one time before blowing it late. Sure they should have beaten Michigan in each of the last two home games in the series. But this Michigan team is different. And this Indiana team isn’t.

Onto the numbers!

Four Factors

- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
INDIANA (#86 offense) 1.02 (121st) 44.3% (43rd) 30.6 (42nd) 3.98 (114th) 6 (19th)
MICHIGAN (#4 defense) 1.02 (12th) 29.3% (2nd) 24.3 (4th) 4.59 (73rd) 7 (15th)
- - - - - -
MICHIGAN (#21 offense) 1.15 (82nd) 47.0% (21st) 32.8 (12th) 4.81 (48th) 7 (15th)
INDIANA (#75 defense) 1.20 (79th) 42.3% (77th) 29.4 (73rd) 5.14 (114th) 6 (19th)

The further Indiana gets into the season, the uglier the numbers look. And they look particularly ugly put up beside Michigan.

The most stark decline we’ve seen this season is the passing defense. The Hoosiers looked alarmingly inept against a Maryland passing offense that had been alarmingly inept prior to last week. In their defense, a new quarterback was brought into the game that brought a different look but that’s no excuse for many of the mistakes the Hoosiers were making.

The other alarming stat to takeaway from last week’s game is that Maryland was 8-of-15 on third downs while Indiana was 3-of-12. I’ve noted in the past the seemingly unsustainable level both sides of the ball were playing on third downs and last week could be the sign of a slippage.

The Opponent

Hoo boy is Indiana in for a tough match-up. Michigan’s defense is the real deal and are constructed in a way to destroy Indiana.

The Wolverines are first in the nation in passing defense S&P+. They are seventh in not allowing big plays, first in opponent completion percentage and first in sack rate. On passing downs, they are first in not allowing big plays, first in sack rate and first overall. On blitzes, they are second in success rate and second in sack rate.

Michigan is just mediocre at rushing defense, ranking sixth overall in the nation in S&P+. They are seventh in explosiveness and third in success rate at an absurd 34.8 percent.

In layman’s terms, Michigan gets you off schedule on first and second down, typically facing a 3rd-and-8 on third downs, then pick you apart through the air defensively. On the ground, they’re merely incredible instead of elite.

Offensively, Michigan is nothing to scoff at. Only once, the opening week against Notre Dame, has Michigan failed to score at least 20 points. The last two weeks have been identical 42-7 beat downs, one against Penn State in possibly the most impressive showing of the year and one against Rutger in a non-conference game.

The passing offense, led no longer by John O’Korncob, is seventh in the nation with Shea Patterson throwing just three interceptions compared to 17 touchdowns. Relatively speaking, the only weakness is that the passing offense is only average in explosiveness. But Patterson has a 66.7 completion percentage to make up for it.

The offense is also first in the nation in third-down yardage with an average third-down distance of 5.7. And, as a result, they are fourth in the nation in third-down success rate.

Things to Watch

  • Michigan LB vs. Indiana OL - As state, Michigan has a sack rate that ranks first in the nation. The top two leading sackers, though, are linebackers Josh Uche (7.0) and Devin Bush (4.5). The offensive line and pass protection has struggled this season and will have its biggest test of the season.
  • Takeaway vs. Turnovers - The key for Indiana last week was taking the ball away and not turning it over. For an offense as limited as the one Indiana has, they can not give away possessions against any team and especially Michigan.
  • Staying healthy - The main thing for this game is to keep everyone healthy for the Purdue game, which is a much more winnable game. Don’t mail it in but avoid injury risks this week.

Prediction

I fear this won’t be close. It’ll come late enough in the evening that you’ll be able to find basketball on somewhere. Michigan 38, Indiana 7.