IU Insider Blog: A winnable Michigan Game?

Indiana hasn't beaten Michigan in football since 1987 and then before that it was 1967. But Michigan's four-overtime loss to Penn State last week has some IU fans wondering if another streak could be coming to an end.

If you watched the Michigan-Penn State game Saturday (or listened like I did as I was driving home from East Lansing) one thought had to cross your mind at some point.

Indiana can beat this team.

Now whether the Hoosiers will or not obviously remains to be seen but listening to Michigan struggle against a team that Indiana throttled the week before had to have given the Hoosiers some confidence.

At the very least, perhaps the Big House won't be nearly as imposing this weekend with the knowledge that the Wolverines lost to the Nittany Lions.

Now of course, history will not be on Indiana's side Saturday in Ann Arbor. But let's face it. When you have a program that has enjoyed just one winning season in the last two decades history is rarely going to be on your side. At least in Big Ten games.

Michigan has defeated Indiana 17 times in a row. In the 16 years I've been covering IU, the Hoosiers are 0-9 against the Wolverines.

But I can say this. The last time Indiana defeated Michigan was Oct. 24, 1987. The game was at Memorial Stadium and I was there.

I was a student at IUPUI at the time and had gone down to the game with my wife and two or three other couples. I remember Greg and Linda Bowman and Mike and Debbie Hastings were two of those couples. I remember it was a cold, dreary day and the game was played in mist-like conditions. I remember we had stopped by the Varsity Shop in the basement of Assembly Hall before the game and picked up a couple of rain ponchos.

My friend Greg picked up a new IU cloth cap and I remember the red from the cap got wet and bled all over his clothes. It's funny the things you remember.

But what I remember, too, was the shock that Indiana fans that the Hoosiers had finally gotten over on Michigan. At that time, Michigan had won 15 games in a row and the last time IU had won was in the '67 Rose Bowl season. So do the math, Michigan has won 32 of the last 33 meetings against Indiana in a span of 45 seasons.

So why do I think Indiana has a chance?

Let's don't forget that just two weeks ago Indiana was hosting a Penn State team that was 16-0 all time against the Hoosiers. And let us also not forget that the same Penn State team that lost to Indiana 44-24 just knocked off Michigan in four overtimes.

Even if you argue that Michigan should have won and just didn't make plays against the Nittany Lions in overtime, the fact remains that Penn State played the Wolverines straight up and kept it close. That wasn't the case the week before in Bloomington.

You could also argue that in Indiana's play-one-good-game-followed-by-one-bad-game season to date that the Hoosiers are due for that one good game.

At the same time you could argue that the last time Indiana won at Michigan was 1967.

So there's plenty of ammunition on both sides.

One thing we know for certain is that Indiana is not going to catch Michigan looking past the Hoosiers. The Penn State loss took care of that.

My guess is it's going to be a pretty entertaining game come 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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