The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines look to keep their undefeated streak to begin the season intact on Saturday when they go on the road to face Indiana. The Wolverines started the season with one of the easiest nonconference schedules in the country, tearing through Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn (three teams with a combined record of 3-12) before running into some trouble in Big Ten play.
Michigan struggled at home against Maryland 34-27 two weeks ago, and while it was never in danger during last week's 27-14 win at Iowa, the offense continued to slow against tougher competition. Will that be the case at Indiana? The Hoosiers defense hasn't been outstanding to start the year, but it's faced a more difficult path than Michigan overall. Indiana started the year 3-0, including a 23-20 win over Illinois that looks better every week but has dropped two straight since. The Hoosiers were blown out on the road by Cincinnati in a 45-24 loss two weeks ago and lost by 14 last week at Nebraska. Perhaps returning home will do the Hoosiers some good.
Michigan vs. Indiana: Need to know
Michigan has dominated this series: Indiana beat Michigan 38-21 in 2020 in a result that stood out for different reasons. First of all, it was the first time Indiana had beaten Michigan in football since 1987, ending a 24-game losing streak to the Wolverines. Second, that 24-game losing streak wasn't anything new for the Hoosiers when it comes to playing Michigan. These schools met on the football field for the first time in 1900. Michigan won the game 12-0, and few meetings afterward were ever that close again. The teams have met 70 times overall and Michigan has won 60, often in blowout fashion.
J.J. McCarthy has a top-five passing efficiency: The nature of Michigan's offense, and the fact it's played in so many blowouts to start the season, doesn't have quarterback J.J. McCarthy throwing often -- his 84 pass attempts don't even rank in the top 100 nationally -- but when he does throw, he's been effective. McCarthy's passer efficiency rating of 186.94 ranks fifth nationally among qualified QBs, just behind North Carolina's Drake Maye and one spot ahead of Tennessee's Heisman candidate, Hendon Hooker. McCarthy is completing 78.6% of his passes for 10.1 yards per attempt with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Last week against Iowa was his worst performance from a yardage perspective (155), but he still completed 75% of his passes and threw a touchdown. Michigan is still a run-first team, but McCarthy's effectiveness in the passing game makes it more difficult for opposing defenses to key on stopping the run.
Indiana has lost 10 of 11 Big Ten games: I mentioned Indiana's win over Michigan in 2020. That was one of Indiana's biggest wins in a long time, and it came in one of Indiana's greatest seasons. The Hoosiers finished 2020 with a 6-1 record in the Big Ten, with the sole loss coming by a touchdown at Ohio State. Things have fallen off a cliff since. The Hoosiers' 23-20 win over Illinois to open the season is the only Big Ten game they've won since, and their 10 losses have come by an average of 23.6 points.
How to watch Michigan vs. Indiana live
Date: Saturday, October 8 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium -- Bloomington, Indiana
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Michigan vs. Indiana prediction, picks
Considering the history between these programs, and Indiana's overall struggles in the Big Ten, it's hard to bet anything other than the Wolverines. While the Michigan defense struggled with Maryland, the Terps' offense is much more explosive than the Hoosiers. Indiana's offense hasn't shown much of anything so far this season, and it's difficult to anticipate it'll put things together against the Wolverines. I expect Saturday's meeting to be another in a long line of Michigan blowout wins against Indiana. Prediction: Michigan -22
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