No. 7 Michigan will play host to Indiana inside The Big House on Saturday night, and it will be trying to do something it hasn't had to do in a very long time: avoid a second-straight loss to the Hoosiers. Yes, 2020 was packed with many strange and unusual events, but perhaps none was rarer than Indiana beating Michigan in a football game.
When the Hoosiers knocked off the Wolverines 38-21 in Bloomington last season, it was the first time they'd beaten Michigan since 1987, ending a 24-game Michigan winning streak in the series. The last time the Hoosiers won consecutive games against the Wolverines was in 1959 when Indiana followed an 8-6 (eight to six!) win in 1958 with a 26-7 win.
Of course, winning games nobody expected was Indiana's brand last season, but the Hoosiers have not been able to repeat the feat in 2021. While the Wolverines are ranked in the top 10 and sit at 7-1 on the season, Indiana is 2-6 and needs to win out to reach a bowl game.
Michigan vs. Indiana: Need to know
Michigan's College Football Playoff hopes are still alive: While losing to rival Michigan State last week certainly hurts, it didn't ruin Michigan's season. The Wolverines weren't punished much by the selection committee, as they debuted at No. 7 in the season's first set of rankings. That bodes well not just for how the committee sees Michigan now but how it might see it in the future. With games remaining against Penn State and Ohio State, the Wolverines have plenty of chances left to impress the committee and could still win the Big Ten. Of course, none of this matters if they can't beat Indiana first.
The Wolverines need to get their ground game back on track: Michigan hasn't run the ball well lately for a team that's viewed as a strong rushing team. In their first three games against nonconference opponents, Michigan rushed 1,051 yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 7.15 yards per carry. The story has changed significantly in Big Ten play. While they're 4-1 in the conference, the Wolverines have rushed for only 868 yards and 10 touchdowns in those five games while averaging 4.09 yards per carry. It's hard to imagine this team winning out of it doesn't get its run game in order.
Indiana hasn't gone winless in the Big Ten since 2011: I bring this up because the Hoosiers are 2-6 on the season, but both of those wins came outside the Big Ten. They're off to an 0-5 start in the conference, with those five losses coming by an average of 21.4 points per game. The good news for Indiana is that while they've got a big mountain to climb in Ann Arbor this weekend, the rest of the schedule gets a bit easier on the other side.
How to watch Michigan vs. Indiana live
Date: Saturday, November 6 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium -- Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Michigan vs. Indiana prediction, picks
While I don't like Indiana's odds of winning two straight in this series, I'm pushed towards the Hoosiers on the spread because of Michigan's problems rushing the ball. Indiana's defense is not great, and it hasn't forced as many turnovers as last year, but it's been solid against the run. It ranks 28th nationally in Total Rushing EPA on defense and 63rd in success rate. That's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's enough to think the Hoosiers will be able to keep the Wolverines offense within three scores. Prediction: Indiana (+19.5)
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