The Big Ten Championship will be decided Saturday night as the Purdue Boilermakers (8-4, 6-3 in Big Ten) take on the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (12-0, 9-0 in Big Ten). This match will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
Purdue was able to edge out Illinois and Iowa to win the Big Ten West division. They come into this game on a three-game winning streak, including a 30-16 victory over Indiana in their last contest. In that win, Aidan O’Connell managed to throw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, while Devin Mockobee rushed for 99 yards and another score.
For Michigan, winning the Big Ten East came down to last weekend’s matchup against No. 5 Ohio State. With a 45-23 win, they secured the division and an opportunity to win the Big Ten Championship. In their win over the Buckeyes, J.J. McCarthy managed to throw for 263 yards and three touchdowns, while Donovan Edwards managed to rush for 216 yards and two scores.
The Wolverines are overwhelming favorites to win this one. They are -820 to win, while the Boilermakers’ moneyline sits at +550. The spread features Michigan as -16.5 point favorites (-110), and the over/under for total points is 51.5 (-110).
Boilermakers Look To Pull Off Major Upset
For most of the season, it looked like it would be someone else representing the Big Ten West, but a surge at the end of the season allowed them to overtake the field. Now, they will have their work cut out for them as they try to take down the No. 2 Wolverines.
The Boilermakers rank 72nd in the nation in scoring, averaging 26.1 points per game. Leading the offense is senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell. On the season, he has thrown for 3,124 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
O’Connell’s favorite targets have been wide receiver Charlie Jones and tight end Payne Durham. Jones has 97 receptions for 1,199 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Durham has 54 receptions for 550 yards and eight scores.
On the ground, freshman Devin Mockobee had led the ground game. He has rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns on 165 attempts.
Defensively, Purdue ranks 48th in the nation, averaging 25.2 points per game to opponents.
Wolverines Look To Stamp Their Ticket To National Championship Tournament
After finishing the regular season undefeated, the No. 2 Wolverines are in a prime position for a spot in the National Championship tournament. All they have to do at this point is avoid a massive upset, and they will be in.
To get to this point, Michigan has relied on an equally impressive defense and offense. On the defensive side, they rank second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 12.7 points per game.
Offensively, the team ranks fifth in the nation, averaging 39.8 points per game. Part of that offensive success has been thanks to a rushing game that averages 244.5 yards per game, good for sixth overall.
The run game is led by Blake Corum, who has rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Hampered by a knee injury, though, the team may have to look for production elsewhere. Exemplified by their last game, when Donovan Edwards rushed for over 200 yards, Michigan has other options on the ground.
Under center for Michigan is sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy. This season, he has thrown for 2,214 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just two interceptions.
Take Michigan To Win And Cover
Looking at the trends, Purdue is 7-2 in their last nine games, but they are just 2-9 in their last 11 against Michigan. They are also just 2-4 against the spread in their last six games.
For Michigan, they are undefeated in their last seven games against Big Ten West teams and last 14 games against Big Ten opponents. In their last 18 games overall, they are 12-5-1 against the spread.
As great as a turnaround it was for Purdue to end the season, they are just no match for Michigan in this one. The Wolverines have been dominating on both sides of the ball.
Expect that dominance to continue Saturday and take Michigan to not only win this one but to cover the 16.5-point spread (-110) as well.