LAST WEEK RECAP
A totally satisfying 44-10 pounding of the MSU Spartans highlighted the different trajectories of the two programs.
NEXT UP: @Indiana: 20th, 17.5
PREGAME SP+: Michigan by 2.4, Michigan Win Probability 55%
In an interesting coincidence, Bill Connelly’s SP+ model produced the same prediction (28-25 Michigan) that I came up with in my Season Preview in August. Another comparison for the Indiana game is Week 9 vs. Notre Dame. The Irish also ranked 20th overall in SP+, with the 13th Offense, and the 35th Defense.
Michigan Offense (34th) vs. Indiana Defense (34th)
Michigan comes off perhaps their most impressive offensive outing. The Wolverines have improved 38 spots, up from 72nd after the loss to Wisconsin. In three road games after Wisconsin, Michigan averages a 45% success rate and 5.9 yards per play. In 2018, the Wolverines managed a 47% success rate and 6.7 yards per play. This contest with Indiana presents the final regular season road challenge for Josh Gattis and the offense. Based on the matching SP+ rankings for Michigan’s offense and Indiana’s defense, Saturday’s matchup will likely come down to who can execute more cleanly. If the Wolverines can avoid major mistakes, especially turnovers, I expect them to move the ball and score consistently.
Michigan Defense (5th) vs. Indiana Offense (13th)
In last year’s 31-20 victory, the Michigan defense generated significant angst among the fan base. Even worse, the Hoosiers’ success versus man coverage can be pointed to as a blueprint for the Buckeyes 62-point domination the following week. We know these events triggered Don Brown’s 2019 evolution, making the test against Indiana particularly interesting. After dealing with the cost of significant change early in the season, the Wolverines’ defense is back into the top 5 nationally, including 5th in SP+. The 2019 game shifts to Bloomington and opposing offensive units have had some success in road games since Wisconsin. The Wolverines allowed a 35% success rate and 4.3 yards per play at Illinois, at Penn State, and at Maryland. Also, because of the game waiting in Week 14, the prep for this game may be a delicate balance between executing vs. the Hoosiers without tipping your hand to the Buckeyes again.
PREDICTION: I made a big deal out of the 2018 trend in home versus road performance. Michigan was +7.9 to the SP+ projections at home, and -7.1 on the road. That 15 point swing was particularly startling for me. So far In 2019 the Wolverines are +7.2 at home, and a much more reasonable +0.8 on the road. I think Michigan will continue to show their growth on the road and will improve that +0.8 number.
Michigan 31 Indiana 17 (PRESEASON Michigan 28 Indiana 25)
MICHIGAN RESUME UPDATE (11/19/2019), 8-2
- SP+ Overall: 10th (↑5), 22.4
- SP+ Offense:34th (↑9), 33.8
- SP+ Defense: 5th (↓1), 12.0
- SP+ Special Teams 49th (↑21) 0.5
- CFP Rank: 13th (↑2)
- AP Poll: 12th (↑2), 829
- Coaches’ Poll: 12th (↑2), 851
- By the Numbers: Comparing Harbaugh’s First 5 Seasons - February 14, 2020
- Michigan 27 Ohio State 56 – Week 14 Recap - November 30, 2019
- By the Numbers: Week 14 vs. Ohio State - November 27, 2019
- Michigan 39 Indiana 14 – Week 13 Recap - November 23, 2019
- By the Numbers: Week 13 @ Indiana - November 21, 2019
- Michigan 44 MSU 10 – Week 12 Recap - November 16, 2019
- By the Numbers: Week 12 vs. MSU - November 14, 2019
- By the Numbers: Week 11 Bye – Q3 Review - November 8, 2019
- Michigan 38 Maryland 7 – Week 10 Recap - November 2, 2019
- By the Numbers: Week 10 @ Maryland - October 30, 2019