Sam Brief: Northwestern 31, Indiana 27
I’ll be eager to see how Northwestern’s reeling secondary handles Indiana’s spread offense—the second-ranked passing offense in the Big Ten. But at the same time, Northwestern’s offense is on fire. They’ve scored 92 points in two games, and while I don’t expect Northwestern to gain almost five football fields of yardage like they did last week, I expect the Wildcats to post 30+ points again behind what has suddenly become a truly balanced offense (25+ carries from Jackson, 200+ yards from Thorson). That’ll be just enough against a solid Indiana team.
Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 28, Indiana 27
After picking Northwestern to lose to Iowa and Michigan State, I’ve learned my lesson. The offensive line has proven to be competent again, and the offense has flourished a result. This trend should continue Saturday; Indiana only has nine sacks this season, which is 13th in the Big Ten. Both teams should be able move the ball fairly well, but I expect Northwestern to execute better in the redzone. In a back-and-forth game, Northwestern will find a way win to win late, and a Jack Mitchell extra point will be the difference.
Zach Pereles: Northwestern 30, Indiana 27
A team that loves to spread the field comes to Evanston to visit a team missing three of its four top corners. Said team has also improved drastically on the defensive end.
But I’m still rolling with the Wildcats. The offense will keep this team afloat and Northwestern gets another timely stop (similar to the Iowa game) to preserve a huge win on homecoming. Look for another huge game from Justin Jackson.
Josh Burton: Indiana 27, Northwestern 24
Unfortunately, I think this is where the winning streak ends for Northwestern. The secondary is even more banged-up than usual, and has to face an Indiana team with at least a decent — albeit turnover-prone — passing attack led by Richard Lagow.
The Hoosiers, since beating Michigan State three weeks ago, got shelled by Ohio State and nearly came back to beat Nebraska, so Kevin Wilson’s team is definitely more formidable in years past. On Saturday, in a game that will come down to a fourth quarter field goal, Lagow’s arm will be too much for Northwestern’s second-unit defensive backfield.
Zach Wingrove: Northwestern 31, Indiana 28
Echoing what everyone else has said, this is Indiana team is a scary matchup for Northwestern. My initial reaction earlier in the week was that the Wildcats would be able to keep their momentum going and win this one by multiple scores, however I’ve since pivoted my stance in favor of a more a back-and-forth game as Caleb mentioned. The difference for me will be the play of Northwestern’s defensive line, who has been excellent these past two weeks. With the (likely) loss of Trae Williams for Saturday, there’s even more pressure on the d-line to get pressure on Lagow and limit the amount of time he has to sit back in the pocket and pick apart the Wildcats’ secondary. I think both teams struggle to finish drives in the first half but get their offenses going late in the game, however I believe the difference will be a Jack Mitchell field goal at the end of the game to give Northwestern its third straight victory.
Tristan Jung (random number generator): Northwestern 26, Indiana 2
This would obviously be amazing if it actually happened.
Josh Rosenblat: Indiana 31, Northwestern 27
Just seven days ago, Northwestern put up 54 (!) points on the road at Michigan State, a defensive power in the Big Ten over the last handful of seasons. So the Wildcats won’t break 30 against Indiana — a program that has become known for its spread offense and inability to stop anybody? Indiana boasts the second best defense Northwestern has faced so far this year according to S&P+, a rating metric based on play-by-play data efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives and turnovers. But will Pat Fitzgerald, Mick McCall and the offensive staff realize their need to attack and take risks in order to score points on the Hoosiers, much like they did at Iowa and at Michigan State the last two games? Or, based on Indiana’s “brand” and the fact that they are favored at home cause the offense to shrivel back up into its conservative shell and fail to generate the big plays necessary for Northwestern to win?
Ian McCafferty: Northwestern 38, Indiana 35
As pretty much everybody has already said, this is going to be a close game as these two teams are pretty evenly matched. There are going to be a lot of points scored and it’s going to come down to the last minute for better or for worse. Either Jack Mitchell is going to hit a game winner, or Indiana is going to miss a game winning kick. You could honestly talk me into picking either of these teams, but Northwestern is coming off back to back big wins while Indiana has lost three straight. Momentum can’t always be counted on for the win, but that’s how close these two teams are.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 27, Indiana 24
These are two teams trending in opposite directions. Indiana has dropped their last two, respectfully to Ohio State and Nebraska, but their potent offense wasn’t able to keep up with either AP Top 10 team. Northwestern has a chance to move to 3-1 in conference play. At Ryan Field, on homecoming, I think they make the most of it. Justin Jackson should run wild with the improved offensive line play, and Austin Carr will find the endzone for the sixth consecutive week. A young, unproven Northwestern secondary seals the game with an interception on Indiana’s final drive.