The best chance at redemption is the next one. And Michigan will get a good chance to redeem itself a bit in week three as it heads on the road to play another top 25 team.
After Michigan lost as the #13 team in the country last week, Indiana sits in that position now, as the Hoosiers boast wins over Penn State and Rutgers. It’s really questionable just how good Indiana actually is but this should be a good barometer for both teams.
Here’s what to watch in the 2020 Michigan – Indiana matchup:
1. Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde
Which Michigan team will show up? Will it be the world-beaters of week one or whatever the hell that was in week two?
Indiana is maybe good? They beat Penn State in a wild game that included an accidental touchdown from the Nittany Lions and an extremely questionable call on the game winning two-point conversion from Indiana’s QB Michael Penix. And then they handled Rutgers, who was coming off a big win over Michigan State.
Nothing makes sense in the Big Ten to start this season besides OSU being the best team in the conference. So it’s hard to say how this game is going to go. Plenty of people picked this upset in the offseason but Michigan hasn’t lost to the Hoosiers since the year before I was born.
After such an embarrassing loss to MSU in week two, it’s hard to see the team and coaching staff come out flat again against a less talented opponent.
Simple as that. All eyes will be on the cornerbacks. That includes Michigan fans and the Indiana football team because if they watched a minute of game tape, they know that’s a weakness for this defense.
Vincent Gray will get his chance to redeem himself. Gemon Green will as well. Jalen Perry should get some more time. But the main name to watch here is going to be Dax Hill. If the starters struggle, don’t be surprised to see him go out wide to lock up Indiana’s top receiver and the Big Ten’s best name, Whop Philyor.
3. Defensive Rebound
Indiana is 13th in the conference in total yards per game. Only outgaining Rutgers, the Hoosiers are averaging just 279.0 yards per game and is dead last in rushing the football. This should (SHOULD) be a great opportunity for this beat-up defense to rebound from week two and lock up the Hoosiers.
A big factor here may be whether or not Michael Barrett and/or Cam McGrone are back from injury. Both left the game last week and are questionable still. If they can’t go, Anthony Solomon, Adam Shibley, and Kalel Mullings are the names to watch.
4. Run to Victory
Indiana has the #3 pass defense in the Big Ten after two weeks, only giving up 182.0 yards per game, which means this could be a tough matchup for Joe Milton and the young receiver core. That is why Michigan may need the running game to really bounce back and lead the way for the offense.
Giving up 185.5 yards a game on the ground, Indiana was gashed by Penn State for 250 yards and two touchdowns (including a game losing TD) on 53 carries. This is set up to be a track meet with Milton and the four horsemen all getting several carries. We may see who starts to separate from the pack too.
This is a great opportunity for Michigan to bounce back a bit and get technically another top 25 win for the resume. Luckily the staff can’t possibly underestimate a second opponent in a row because Indiana always seems to give the Wolverines hell in these matchups.
What will you be watching for? Who do you think will win? Score predictions? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports