Michigan vs. Purdue: Prediction and preview
Michigan vs. Purdue brings an interesting B1G Championship Game matchup to Championship Weekend. The two sides will face off for the conference title with kickoff set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Michigan vs. Purdue preview
That matchup between Michigan and Purdue brings a level of uncertainty to both teams in the B1G Championship. The two sides have not faced since 2017, and both sides have experienced significant turnover since then.
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Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Brohm did face each other in that game, a 28-10 Wolverine win in West Lafayette, but that is where the familiarity on both sides ends. Charlie Jones might recall facing Michigan in last year’s championship game as a member of Iowa. However, that experience is unlikely to be very useful this time around.
Entering the game, Michigan is a heavy favorite and that is not a surprise to anyone. DraftKings has the Wolverines at -16.5 for the matchup, and that’s likely due to the balance of Jim Harbaugh’s squad.
In 2022, the Wolverines have a top-10 unit on both sides of the ball while averaging 39.8 offensively and allowing just 12.7 points per game defensively. That type of balance has given Michigan an elite point differential that will pose problems for any team in the country.
As for Purdue, the Boilermakers roll into Indy as the last team standing in the wild B1G West. And while Jeff Brohm’s squad is likely outmanned on paper, few will count out the magic of Purdue ahead of this one.
The Boilermakers boast an elite record of all-time upsets of top-3 ranked teams, and they’ll go all out to pull another one off this Saturday.
In terms of the style matchup, these two teams could not be more opposite. Harbaugh has perfected the ground-and-pound in back-to-back years with the Wolverines while Brohm wants to toss the ball around the yard with his veteran quarterback in Aidan O’Connell.
As for X factors in this matchup, there are two good ones, both on the offensive side of the ball. For Michigan, watch the play of dual-threat QB JJ McCarthy. While the Wolverines make their living behind their elite offensive line, it was McCarthy’s downfield throwing that came up big against Ohio State.
As for Purdue, the Boilermakers are bound to get their yardage through the air, either by efficiency or volume. However, their X factor offensively is RB Devin Mockobee.
Mockobee has rushed for over 800 yards as a redshirt freshman and emerged as Purdue’s top running back option. Additionally, Mockobee has rushed for 75+ yards 6 times (4 games over 100 yards) with Purdue going 5-1 in those games.
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With how Michigan is able to defend the ball, Purdue will need Mockobee to get things going a bit if the Boilermakers want to pull off the stunner.
Michigan vs. Purdue Prediction
It is not hard to imagine this game being closer than the 16.5-point line for a few reasons. Michigan remains motivated, but consider that this is the biggest game Purdue has played in a very long time.
Additionally, Jeff Brohm has shown a propensity to dial up some playcalling magic in big games, and he’ll have guns blazing on Saturday. But even in the event of some magic going down, it’s hard to see a scenario where Purdue pulls off the shocker.
Prediction: Michigan 38, Purdue 27