Michigan vs Purdue Big Ten Championship Prediction Game Preview

Michigan vs Purdue Big Ten Championship prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Championship Week, Saturday, December 3

Michigan vs Purdue Big Ten Championship Prediction Game Preview

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Michigan vs Purdue How To Watch

Date: Saturday, December 3
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
How To Watch: FOX
Record: Michigan (12-0), Purdue (9-3)
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Why Purdue Will Win

Michigan is playing for fun.

Last year the Wolverines had to beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship to cement a spot in the College Football Playoff. Here’s the big difference – the 2021 team was 11-1, this one is 12-0. Last year’s team had to win, this one can lose and still – almost certainly – be in.

That doesn’t mean Michigan won’t care, and it would sure like to be a back-to-back Big Ten champion, but from star RB Blake Corum’s season-ending knee injury, to star DT Mazi Smith facing a felony weapon charge that was filed this week, to coming down off the high of rocking Ohio State 45-23, there’s a chance the full focus and intensity might not be all there.

Think 2021 Georgia. Of course it wanted to beat Alabama, but it didn’t bring its A game to the SEC Championship, and the other side cranked up the intensity to win with the College Football Playoff possibly on the line. What’s Purdue’s motivation? How about the Rose Bowl as the 2022 Big Ten Champion?

There’s one other big difference between this year’s Big Ten Championship and last year’s version. Purdue will bring the offense Iowa didn’t.

The passing game hasn’t ripped it up lately, but it’s been steady, effective, and it’s been able to come through when needed. Turnovers aren’t an issue over the three-game winning streak to get here, the running game hasn’t been bad, and QB Aidan O’Connell has been around long enough to not be fazed by the big setting.

The offensive line is good at keeping everyone in the backfield clean, the defense has been great on third downs and getting off the field, and …

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Why Michigan Will Win

The Michigan running game should work.

It took a while to get going against Ohio State last week, and not having Corum for more than two carries appeared to be an issue. Donovan Edwards took over late and finished with 216 yards and two scores, QB JJ McCarthy hit the big plays, and the team pulled off the shocker.

Was it totally crazy that Michigan beat Ohio State? A little bit, but it was how. It came up with the home run shots the Buckeyes are used to hitting, and more than anything else, Michigan was just … Michigan.

Very, very, very consistent, all year long the Wolverines would start a little slow, let the offensive line go to work, and then the avalanche rolled over opponents time and again.

Michigan was down 20-17 at halftime, the defense held up, the O line took over, and Edwards tore off a 75-yard touchdown run, an 85-yard scoring dash, and that was that.

Purdue’s run defense is fine, but nothing amazing.

It’ll hold up early, and it’ll get in the backfield here and there, but the yards will come from the Wolverine backfield. Purdue allowed a season-high 215 rushing yards to Indiana last week, got hammered on by Iowa for over five yards per carry, and …

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What’s Going To Happen

Michigan isn’t going to turn the ball over enough to matter. The offense has given it up only six times all year without an interception in the last five games.

Like always, the other side will look like it has Michigan in a little bit of trouble.

Purdue will throw well, it’ll get out to a lead, and there will be enough big plays on both sides of the ball to get the social media world buzzing. And then Michigan will go Michigan.

The amazing offensive line will take over, two good scoring drives will come, the defense will clamp down, and the Wolverines will pull away late on the way to the Big Ten Championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl as – at worst – the 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

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Michigan vs Purdue Big Ten Championship Prediction, Line

Michigan 34, Purdue 17
Line: Michigan -16.5, o/u: 52.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Michigan vs Purdue Big Ten Championship Must See Rating (out of 5): 4

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Story originally appeared on College Football News