On the heals of another dramatic wins, I dug deep to try and quantify the most dire of Michigan situations that turned into wins from the last ten years. Some are big comebacks, a few are last second heroics. The WPA model is perfect in very late game situations, but it isn’t terrible so here are the ten games from ten seasons that Michigan won based on their lowest WPA during the game for any offensive play.
10. 2004 vs Minnesota, 21% chance of winning
Trailing by 4 with 3 minutes left at their own 13 yard line, Chad Henne led an 87 yard drive to take the lead and the defense held for the win.
9. 2011 at Northwestern, 21% chance of winning
Michigan started the second half trailing by 10 and faced an early 3rd and 11 from their own 19 before Denard hit Roundtree for a first down and Michigan went on to score the next 28 points and win comfortably.
8. 2005 vs Penn St, 17% chance of winning
Michigan took over at their own 40 trailing Penn St 18-10 with under 12 minutes remaining. A 60 yard TD drive with two point conversion and a subsequent Garrett Rivas 47 yard field goal gave Michigan the lead but it came down to that final second when Henne hit Manningham for 10 yards and the winning points.
7. 2010 vs Illinois, 11% chance of winning
In what would become the epic 67-65 swan song victory for Rich Rodriguez, Michigan trailed by a touchdown with five minutes left and had backup Tate Forcier in for an injured Denard Robinson. Forcier led Michigan to a touchdown with 1:47 left and the defense miraculously held. The defense got a final stop on a two point conversion in the third overtime.
6. 2012 vs Northwestern, 9% chance of winning
The punt return from Jeremy Gallon pushed the odds from 5% to nearly 9% but 53 yards later Gibbons trotted onto the field for a chip shot field goal and Michigan pulled it out for the win.
5. 2007 at Michigan St, 8% chance of winning
After a Spartan touchdown, Michigan took over at their own 21 facing a 10 point deficit with seven and a half minutes to go. A Greg Mathews touchdown would cut the margin to 3 in less than a minute. Michigan would force a punt and have a chance to take the lead from their own 35 with four and half minutes left. On 3rd and 12 Chad Henne hit Mario Manningham for a 31 yard touchdown to provide the final margin.
4. 2008 vs Wisconsin, 6% chance of winning
A lone bright spot in a dismal year. The low point came in third quarter with Michigan trailing 19-0. Kevin Grady would convert a 4th and 1 and Steven Threet would eventually hit Kevin Koger for 26 yards to put Michigan on the board. The odds would go back down to 7% before Brandon Minor ran for a 34 yard score, to cut it to a one possession game and bring Michigan’s odds up to 23%. John Thompson’s 25 yard interception return would give Michigan the lead they would hold the rest of the game.
3. 2011 vs Notre Dame, 5% chance of winning
5% is probably high for this one. This is a situation where the late game situations cause the calculator a bit of trouble. No matter what the actual odds where the situation was highly dire and only a Jeremy Gallon invisibility cloak allowed Michigan to pull this one out.
2. 2003 at Minnesota, 2% chance of winning
Michigan entered the fourth quarter trailing Minnesota 28-7. Before scoring 31 fourth quarter points to pull out the win with Garrett Rivas hitting a 33 yard field goal with 47 seconds left to give Michigan its first lead of the game.
1. 2004 vs Michigan St, 1% chance of winning
Down 17 with 8 minutes left at your own 11 yard line. It’s Braylon Edwards time.
Bonus Overtime Chart
+42%-Gardner to Roundtree for 53 yards
+18%-Gardner to Roundtree for 17 yards in OT
+18%-Demens stonewalls Jones to end the game
+18%-Gardner to Funchess for an 8 yard TD
+11%-Gardner to Toussaint for a 28 yard TD
Interesting that none of the top 3 plays were touchdowns
-24%-Gardner intercepted by Dugar
-16%-Pat Fitzgerald come on down, your quarterback is the next contestant on questionable roughing the passer calls
-12%-Siemian to Fields for 21 yards on 1st and 20
-11%-Siemian to Dickerson right before half
-11%-Siemian to Jones to give Northwestern the lead 31-28
Michigan Rush Offense: +5 EV, +26% WPA
Michigan Pass Offense: +11, +64%
Michigan Rush Defense: –6, –9%
Michigan Pass Defense: –8, –44%
Special Teams: +10%
Devin Gardner: +22, +104%
Fitzgerald Toussaint: +1, +13%
Jeremy Gallon: +5, +10%
Roy Roundtree: +7, +65%
Kain Colter: +3, +22%
Trevor Siemian: +9, +41%
Venric Mark: +1, –1%
Dumb Punt of the Week
I really wanted to give this week’s award to our favorite big guy, Charlie Weis for his second half punt from the Texas Tech 38 while trailing but there was another big guy much more deserving. Terry Bowden and the Akron Zips trailed winless UMass by 8 in the fourth quarter and had a 4th and 6 at the UMass 33 yard line. Now a 4th and 6 is not an easy conversion. BUT YOU ARE AT THE 33 YARD LINE! And trailing by 1.5 possessions, in the fourth quarter. The Zips managed to pin UMass at their own 7, but still ended up losing by 8.
Terry Bowden is your Ron Zook Memorial Dumb Punter of the Week
Iowa is not good. Their offense has had one game with an EV+ above 2 (Minnesota) on the season. Their defense has been decent but their three worst performances have come over the last month. No matter who goes at quarterback for Michigan there should be enough firepower to outscore the Hawkeyes. By policy the pick comes from the season numbers but I would consider this score to be a bare minimum margin for Saturday.
Michigan 24 Iowa 10
this week's miniprogram.
EDIT: if it gives you and error, F5 it, it exists, scribd is just having one of those days
If Denard Robinson plays this weekend and in what would likely be the remaining two games of his collegiate career beyond Saturday, then this will definitely get updated (in this diary, to save space). I wanted to take a moment, however, to show folks graphically what Denard’s production on the field has looked like at a high level. What I have done is taken his game-by-game rushing and passing totals as well as rushing and passing touchdowns (data courtesy of MGoBlue’s archive) and charted them below.
One thing that should be pointed out is that what you see here, even if Robinson does not play again, is the production of the Wolverines’ 5thall-time rusher regardless of offensive position, and among quarterbacks, the 4thbest in terms of total passing yards, as well as the 4thbest in passing touchdowns and yards per pass attempt. Even at this juncture, certainly it is a storied career based on these numbers, forgetting how exciting he is to watch for just one second.
Indeed, if we see him out there on Saturday against Iowa, not only will it add to this data, but it will be one of the more poignant moments in Michigan football as it will be his last game in Ann Arbor. In looking at these numbers, it gave me a very clear perspective on just how electrifying he has been on the field. Of course, it is not just the numbers that will be missed, or the sheer athleticism, but the leadership and the personality and the fact that he has been the face of our University even to people who have never watched a snap of Wolverine football in their lives.
Prediction for Iowa: The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is Michigan 28 – Iowa 16 with a 78% Probable Win Expectation for Michigan. Michigan's offense continues to be excellent (4.81 PPPo) against poor teams (AFA, UMass, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern) but has struggled (0.90 PPPo) against every good team (Alabama, ND, MSU, Nebraska). Iowa is ranked #88 in OFEI and #30 in DFEI. Looks like FEI has it just about right this week.
Strength of Schedule: Michigan's SoS for Out of Conference games is much harder than the B1G games. This is quite unusual and because of the OOC Strength of Schedule, M is actually doing better in B1G games versus OOC for both offense (2.7 vs. 2.5 PPPo) and defense (1.3 vs. 2.0 PPPo). The defense had their worst game (2.8 PPPo) since Alabama.
Fremeau Efficiency Index: Michigan improved in both overall and offense FEI with defense basically unchanged. In the detailed chart below, GE represents the raw data for FEI before adjustments for opponents.
The S&P Ratings (Also from Football Outsiders) is a play based analysis (rather than possession based) and M is ranked #19 overall, #18 in offense, and #27 in defense. The S&P ratings DO include games against non-FBS opponents (go figure).
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in FBS vs. FBS college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.
National Rankings: The rankings for offense and defense are based on scoring (yardage statistics are inherently flawed). These are simply raw numbers without any adjustments for opponent, garbage time, or anything else. The data is from TeamRankings and includes only games between two FBS teams.
FEI Details: Here are the FEI numbers for Michigan and their opponent ( Football Outsiders FEI ).
Points Per Possession: Cumulative PPPo is 2.6 for the offense and 1.6 for the defense. M finished 2011 outscoring opponents by almost a 2:1 margin with PPPo for offense of 2.8 and defense of 1.4. The 2 charts show the raw data for offense and defense with the number of possessions adjusted for "kneel downs" at the half or end-of-game (maximum deduction = 2).
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
(Click the image to view full size)
I cannot begin to express how much the universe tried to keep me from publishing this thing. All sorts of life obstacles kept pushing this to the side burner all week, and apologize for pushing back the reveal so late. The stories are not worth telling, but rest assured I will do my best to not get derailed next week.
On Thursday we salute a legend.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Preseason Prediction (Not Happening!): Michigan will end the year with a +8 Turnover Margin (TOM) or better (2011 was +7). The prediction for TOM for M for this year is based on the prediction that M will be a very good team again this year and is not based on the actual TOM of last year. (Very good teams will have a TOM of +5 or better.) Turnover Margin for the year is currently – 5.
Whew!: A spectacular last second catch by Roundtree and thoughts of brunettes by Gibbons saved Michigan from a second loss this year due to turnovers (ND was the one). At the end of regulation, turnovers had cost Michigan 8.1 expected points!
Michigan Football: Michigan had 30 pass attempts and 32 rushing attempts for a 51% run play percentage. This dropped M to a 62% run play percentage overall (ranked #16). NW is ranked #112 in passing defense and #28 in rushing defense – so, yeah. In 2011 M ranked #11 at 65% run play %.
Black forced a fumble that was recovered Bolden. Gardner threw the one pick that drew a collective SHIT from all of us. Michigan now has 16 different players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass.
For giveaways, Michigan is ranked #15 in fumbles and #9 in fumbles lost but remains at #124 in interceptions thrown %. Even if you take out the 4 interceptions thrown by Bellomy, M would still be ranked #123 in interceptions thrown %. The good news is that in B1G games, Robinson/Gardner have been much better with an interception % of 2.6% (which would be ranked #52).
For takeaways, M is ranked #82 in forced fumbles, #66 in fumbles recovered, #85 in takeaway fumble recovery %, and #83 in interceptions.
The folks at Football Outsiders – FEI are also doing weekly "Revisionist Box Scores" that strips out TOs, Special Teams, and Field Position. FEI calculates the value generated by each drive and then lost on the drive up until the turnover, as if the drive had concluded at that spot on the field. Thru Week #11, FEI has 16% of games where TOs were significant.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the line of scrimmage for the offense. Therefore, the impact of a TO also depends on the yard line where the TO is lost and the yard line where the TO is gained. Each turnover may result in an immediate lost opportunity for the team committing the TO and a potential gain in field position by the opponent. Both of these components can vary dramatically based upon the down when the TO occurred, the yards the TO is returned, and whether the TO was a fumble or an interception.
Here are the details for the game.
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO may directly result in lost EP for the offense but (B) only modifies the EP for the team gaining the TO because the team gaining the TO would have gotten another possession even without the TO (due to a punt, KO after a TD, KO after a field goal, etc.). The Net EP Gain must take into account the potential EP gain without the TO. The EP gain without the turnover is based on where the field position would have been for the next possession if the TO had not occurred.
The expected point calculations are based on data from Brian Fremeau at BCFToys (he also posts at Football Outsiders). Fremeau's data reflects all offensive possessions played in 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.