This season is going in opposite ways for Northwestern and Indiana. The problem for the Hoosiers is that they play in the East division and still have to play Penn State and Michigan. That shouldn’t stop them from winning this game as -11.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 43.5 as of Wednesday.
For the first time in a long time, it appears that Indiana is a level above the mediocre teams in the conference. It’s won its last three games, two of them coming on the road.
Even in the loss at Michigan State, the Hoosiers put up 31 points on the road. Now they get a Northwestern team who can’t seem to move the ball, scoring 13 points in the last three games.
It doesn’t help that the Wildcats haven’t had any freebies in a while, but you have to fault them for scoring 10 points at Nebraska, especially after the Hoosiers dropped 38 points on them last week.
The Indiana offense is the best unit in this game and has moved the ball on everyone outside of Ohio State. Northwestern can only win games via its defense and that hasn’t been enough, allowing 159.4 rushing yards per contest.
IU will try and lean into that number with running back Stevie Scott and his 5.1 yards per carry. That being said, most of this offense’s success has been because of the two quarterbacks.
Michael Penix and Peyton Ramsey have combined for a 69.7% completion rate on 8.2 yards per pass for 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
While Northwestern has a good pass defense according to the numbers, it hasn’t exactly played a lot of high-level quarterbacks.
Indiana should move the ball fine, but the question is what Northwestern can do on the other side. The Hoosiers have been fine defensively, but again, a lot of that is because of schedule and even then they gave up 40 points to MSU and around 30 to both Maryland and Nebraska.
Of course, Northwestern’s offensive numbers are some of the worst in the country. Aidan Smith has started the last few games, but his numbers are worse than Hunter Johnson’s, completing less than 50% of his passes on 3.9 yards per attempt for one touchdown and six picks.
Drake Anderson and Isaiah Bowser aren’t bad options in the backfield, but the Wildcats are averaging 3.4 yards per carry as a team because opponents know they can’t throw the ball.
Even if you like Northwestern in this game, it’ll be hard to throw money at their quarterbacks with a combined two touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That’s as bad as it gets and playing on the road probably won’t help.
Northwestern is 7-1 ATS in its last eight road games against a team with a winning home record, while Indiana is 5-1 ATS in its last six home games against a team with a losing road record. In this meeting, the home team has covered five of the last seven meetings.
Our Pick – Indiana -10.5