At the start of each week, Land of 10 will break down the postseason implications, and projections, to come out of the Michigan Wolverines’ latest contest …
What happened: The Wolverines (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) were pushed at Indiana (3-3, 0-3) but didn’t break, pulling out a 27-20 overtime in Bloomington. The Michigan defense continues to look one of the nation’s best (278 total yards allowed), but the passing attack continues to be one of the Big Ten’s worst. Thanks to battering mix of tailbacks led by Karan Higdon (200 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns), Michigan extended its winning streak against the Hoosiers to 22, though the last two meetings in Indiana ended in overtime.
What it means: An ugly win beats a pretty loss any dang day of the week, but this one could be tough to watch — and even tougher to process. Until a Wolverines passer can make defenses pay for crowding the box, Michigan’s offensive strength — its power run game — is going to find the sledding awfully tough against the likes of Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. And all three matchups are still yet to come.
Projected record: Massey Ratings — 9-3; TeamRankings.com — 8-4
Projected postseason destination: Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla., versus an SEC opponent.
Cheapest seat on TicketCity.com as of Sunday: $96
Up next: at Penn State on Saturday. The No. 2 Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) are coming off a bye and coach James Franklin’s ears are still burning after the 49-10 hurting the Wolverines put on his club last September. It’s strength vs. strength with the stifling Michigan D facing Heisman Trophy front-runner Saquon Barkley and fearless quarterback Trace McSorley, but Penn State’s defense has been one of the nation’s best-kept secrets so far. If there is a corner to turn for John O’Korn and his targets, there’s no time like the present.