Both of these programs are on the rise in the Big Ten East division. The Hoosiers come in with a 7-3 overall record and a 4-3 record in conference play after having their four-game winning streak snapped last week. Indiana will look to rebound against a Michigan team that is suddenly on the rise after what appeared to be a lost season in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines have won three straight, including victories over No. 8-ranked Notre Dame and in-state rival Michigan State. Can the Wolverines keep their momentum alive with a road win in Indiana against the Hoosiers on Saturday?
Michigan used a dominant second half to pull away for a 44-10 victory at home against little brother Michigan State last weekend. Shea Patterson had his best game as a Wolverine, throwing for 384 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions to help Michigan dominate the Spartans, who had won eight of the last 11 meetings in the series, including two straight at the Big House. Ronnie Bell caught nine passes for 150 yards while Donovan Peoples-Jones caught four balls for 48 yards and a score on the day. The defense also played well, limiting the Spartans to only 220 yards of total offense and forcing two turnovers in the win.
Patterson has been tremendous for the Wolverines during their current three-game winning steak. He’s thrown for six touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes during that span. The 6-foot-2 senior has thrown for 2,157 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only four interceptions this season while adding another five scores on the ground.
Indiana snapped a four-game winning streak last week with a 34-27 loss on the road versus No. 9-ranked Penn State. Peyton Ramsey completed 31-of-41 for 371 yards and a touchdown while Ty Fryfogle caught five passes for 131 yards and a score in a losing effort for the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers had a chance to cut into the lead in the third quarter but opted for a controversial fake punt on a 4th-and-1 from the team’s own 44-yard line. Indiana didn’t convert and Penn State scored two plays later to widen the gap to 13 points. Indiana outgained Penn State 462 to 371 in total yardage but two costly turnovers ultimately cost the Hoosiers. One of those turnovers ended star wide receiver Whop Philyor’s night after he was helped to the locker room following a helmet-to-helmet hit that caused him to fumble the football.
Patterson leads Michigan to win vs. Michigan StateThe Wolverines climbed two spots in the College Football Playoff rankings this week, moving up to No. 13 from No. 15 last week. While the move isn’t significant, Michigan enters the week as the fifth-ranked Big Ten team behind Ohio State (No. 2), Penn State (No. 8), Minnesota (No.10) and Wisconsin (No. 12). The Big Ten title is out of reach for the Wolverines but they can still earn a potential trip to the Rose Bowl with a big win against Ohio State to close the season next weekend. That makes this week’s matchup against Indiana a bit of a trap game for the Wolverines, who are peaking in time for a strong finish.
Michigan has improved since its loss to Penn State, beating two of its rivals (Notre Dame and Michigan State) to regain some of the swagger that made them preseason favorites to win the Big Ten. Patterson is playing his best football of the season, which has also opened up the ground game for Michigan. Zach Charbonnet leads the team in rushing with 589 yards and 11 touchdowns while unheralded sophomore Hassan Haskins has also emerged as a valuable contributor out of the backfield in recent weeks. Through the first five games of the season, Haskins carried the ball just 14 times for 64 yards. Since then, he’s carved out a considerable role in the Wolverines’ offense, rushing 64 times for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense has been flashing improvements as well. Since the loss to Penn State, the Wolverines defense has surrendered only 3.4 yards per game, which marks their lowest mark in any three-game stretch this season. For the season, the Wolverines have allowed only 16.4 points (11th in FBS) and 261.5 yards of total offense per contest (5th in FBS), including only 154.8 passing yards per game (4th in FBS).
Hoosiers drawing interest from Music City BowlAfter a pair of 5-7 seasons, the Hoosiers are finally going bowling under head coach Tom Allen. With a 7-3 record and two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Indiana has a chance to win eight games for the first time since the 1993 season. Reports have already started to surface that Indiana has drawn “major interest” from the Music City Bowl. According to Zach Osterman of the Indy Star, the Music City Bowl will have a representative in Bloomington this week to scout the team’s senior day matchup against Michigan.
Indiana lost redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr. to a season-ending injury following their win against Northwestern but the offense still functioned at a high-level last week thanks in large part to quarterback Peyton Ramsey. The junior has started four games and played in eight this season for the Hoosiers, throwing for 1,673 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions while completing 72.7 percent of his passes. Ramsey also finished last season as the starter, throwing for 2,875 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions as a sophomore in 2018. He threw for a season-high 371 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing) in last week’s loss to Penn State.
Ramsey could be without one of his top targets this week, as Indiana’s leading receiver Whop Philyor is questionable for the Michigan game after suffering a concussion last week. Philyor is on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding receiver. The 5-foot-11 junior has caught 61 passes for 863 yards and three touchdowns for the Hoosiers so far this year.
“They’re really good up front. I’ve always thought Peyton Ramsey is a terrific quarterback,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said on wolverineswire.usatoday.com. “He played against us as a true freshman and played really well. He’s played a lot of good football [and is] a very experienced quarterback now.”
Philyor is part of an offense that is averaging a healthy 33.3 points and 448.0 yards of total offense per game, including 314.3 yards per game through the air. On defense, Indiana has surrendered only 21.4 points and 316.3 yards of total offense per contest but they were unable to clap down when it mattered last week.
- Wolverines are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Wolverines are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- Hoosiers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight-up loss.
- Hoosiers are 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.