Indiana faces Michigan in the final home game of 2019. The Hoosiers have forced overtime against Michigan the last 2 contests in Bloomington. Heading into this game, these teams appear to be more evenly matched than it has been for a long time. This notion bears out when using Bill Connelly’s SP+ ratings. This appears to be the closest these teams have been statistically since at least 2005, beating the 2014 season where Michigan finished 5-7.
It was another game that Indiana played well enough to beat a Big Ten blue blood, but another game they ultimately fell short. It’s hard to take solace in that but there’s little time to dwell as Michigan comes to town. We’ll quickly review the Penn State game before turning our attention later this week to the Fighting Harbaughs.
The 2019 Indiana offense is much improved. And while some of that improvement is rightfully due to the talented play of Michael Penix, it’s clear the transformation goes beyond the Florida freshman.
Kalen DeBoer deserves a lot of the credit. His play calling has, much more often than not, been outstanding. But there’s also been an improvement from Peyton Ramsey, something that will be very important in these final 4 games, including the bowl game.
Indiana heads to Penn State this weekend in a battle of top 25 teams. Using Bill Connelly’s SP+ ratings, the gap between these two teams is nearly as small as it was during the middle of the Penn State sanctions in 2013 and 2014. Having noted that, this year’s Penn State team has a rating as good as the 2017 PSU team that went 11-2, won the Fiesta Bowl and finished #8 in the country. The gap between these teams isn’t shrinking because the Nittany Lions are in turmoil but rather due to a much improved Indiana team. That’s encouraging regardless of Saturday’s outcome.
It took an extra week, but the win against Northwestern propelled Indiana into the top 25. And really, what’s a week when you’ve been waiting 25 years?