Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek cornerback Shaquille (Shaq) Wiggins is a quickly-rising prospect in the class of 2013, earning ESPNU 150 Watch List and Future Top247 honors. He has a high interest in Michigan, and even had a visit planned for the Notre Dame game that unfortunately fell through, though as you'll see, that had no impact on his desire to come to Ann Arbor.
After an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this past summer, he earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines ($, info in header) to go along with offers from Ohio State, Cincinnati, Ball State, Ohio, and Toledo. Wiggins has already taken visits to Auburn and Florida this season, and also has interest from Clemson, Georgia, Illinois, and Mississippi State, among others. I caught up to Wiggins on the phone after his practice today to talk about his recruitment:
ACE: First of all, you've got an offer from Michigan. Are they an early favorite in your recruitment, and what other teams are recruiting you right now?
SHAQ: There's a lot of schools, including Indiana, Miami, LSU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee, Oklahoma - there's a few I could name.
ACE: Do you have an early favorites list? Where does Michigan stand with those schools?
SHAQ: Once my other offers stop coming in, I'll probably end up making a top ten or a favorites list then. But yeah, Michigan is one of my favorite teams.
ACE: I know you tried to come up for the Notre Dame game and that didn't end up working out, but have you had a chance to watch the Wolverines at all this season?
SHAQ: Yes, I watched the Notre Dame game, and I liked the way they played defense. I'm 100% sure I'm coming to the game, I think it's November 26th, when they play Ohio State. [Ed-Ace: He nailed the date off the top of his head after a football practice. Impressive.]
ACE: Who have you been in contact with on the coaching staff at Michigan?
SHAQ: Coach Mallory.
ACE: Have you been talking to any of the recruits who are currently committed?
SHAQ: Yeah, I talk to T-Rich [Terry Richardson] now and then. He congratulated me on making the ESPN Watch List, the top 150 watch list. That's about the only Michigan recruit I've talked to.
ACE: Focusing on your high school season, your team is 3-0 right now. What are your stats so far, and what are your goals for this season?
SHAQ: Well I'm trying to get at least eight [more interceptions] so I can get 13 picks. Right now I have five picks this season after the third game.
ACE: I know it's early on in the process, but do you have any idea about a timeline for your recruitment?
SHAQ: I would probably want to commit to a school during my senior [season] so I can get the recruiting process over with.
ACE: For people who may not be familiar with your game, how would you describe how you play on the field?
SHAQ: I would say I'm quick, with good man coverage, and I'm very physical at the line.
ACE: Are there any areas where you're looking to improve right now to get ready for the next level?
SHAQ: Yes. My overall cornerback coverage and just my overall technique, staying with the receiver and turning my hips.
Ohio lost, Michigan won. Depending on your thoughts on Notre Dame and Michigan State, either the stars perfectly aligned, or a two-for-three weekend isn’t something to complain about. Michigan enters the AP Top 25 this week, moving to #22, slightly in front of USC and slightly behind Clemson in voting. The Wolverines need to be aware they are facing a dangerous Aztec team, with veteran QB Ryan Lindley and RB Ronnie Hillman. Fortunate for Michigan, Coach Hoke knows the San Diego State team, and, fortunate for the Michigan secondary, speedster WR Dominique Sandifer is lost for the season with a knee injury.
As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas. We’ll also look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.
@ Vanderbilt (3-0) +1.5 Mississippi (1-2). Result: Vanderbilt 30 Mississippi 7.
@ Temple (2-1) +7.5 Penn State (2-1). Result: Penn State 14 Temple 10 [Props to Picktown GoBlue].
@ Cincinnati -34.5 Akron. Result: Cincinnati 59 Akron 14.
@ Toledo (1-2) +19.5 Boise State (2-0). Result: Boise State 40 Toledo 15 [Props to mfan_in_ohio for correctly predicting Boise State would cover].
Colorado State (2-1) +7.5 Colorado (1-2). Result: Colorado 28 Colorado State 14 [Props to PurpleStuff for correctly predicting Colorado to cover].
Washington State (2-1) +5.5 @ San Diego State (3-0). Result: San Diego State 42 Washington State 24.
@ Michigan (3-0) -29.5 Eastern Michigan (2-1). Result: Michigan 31 Eastern Michigan 3 [Props to Number 7 on correctly predicting Michigan would not cover].
Brightside correctly picked Duke (+8) at Boston College (Duke won 20-19). mfan_in_ohio correctly picked Miami (YTM) (-2.5) at home to Ohio (Miami won 24-6). M-Glow-Blue correctly picked Clemson (-3.5) to win at home to Auburn (Clemson won 38-24).
Number 7 had a pretty good week, correctly picking (1) USC (-17) at home to Syracuse (USC won 38-17); (2) Navy (+17) at South Carolina (South Carolina won 24-21); and (3) Clemson to win at home to Auburn.
I know the Watch is fired up to kick off college football this week with a trip to Daytona Beach for Hampton and Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night (7:30 PM EST/ESPNU).
Oklahoma State (#7) visits College Station and the 12th Man for a showdown against Texas A&M (#8) (3:30 PM EST/ABC). Arkansas and Coach Bobby Petrino are looking for revenge as the Crimson Tide escaped with a victory last year; Arkansas (#14) visits Alabama (#3) (3:30 PM EST). Florida State (#11) looks to rebound (and get healthy) but must first get by Clemson (#21) (3:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN 3). Top tier games will conclude with LSU (#2) and the Hatter visiting Morgantown for a matchup with West Virginia (#16) (8:00 PM EST/ABC).
Bowling Green (2-1) +6.0 @ Miami Ohio (0-2). Bowling Green has the 10th ranked offense (45th rushing, 10th in passing) in the country, having beaten Idaho and Morgan State, but losing on a missed extra point to Wyoming. Miami has the 12th ranked pass defense (54th overall, 100th rushing defense); should be an interesting matchup. Further, Miami’s offense is ranked 90th (108th rushing, 38th passing); Bowling Green’s defense is ranked 25th (30th passing, 43rd rushing). The home team is 1-5 in this series, since 2005, including three straight losses. Bowling Green had four losses by a touchdown or less last year; Miami had six wins by a touchdown or less last year (only Auburn had more). Stats say that Bowling Green should win more this year, and Miami win less. That trend should be proven with a Falcon victory in Oxford.
New Mexico State (1-2) +10.5 @ San Jose State (0-3).Can you believe the Aggies are 24th in passing offense? It helps having a quality WR like Taveon Rogers (249 yards 17.8/catch and 4 TD). San Jose State Coach Mike MacIntyre is 1-15 overall, but 7-9 against the spread. New Mexico State Coach DeWayne Walker is 6-23, but 10-16-2 against the spread. New Mexico State has won on the spread the past two meeting, both of which were decided by three points or less. Taking out the lopsided 2007 game (SJSU won 51-17), the average margin of victory in the series is SJSU by 9. I think SJSU gets the win, but I like NMST to keep this one close.
Missouri (2-1) +21.5 @ Oklahoma (2-0). Oklahoma has won 7 of the last 9 in this series, dating back to 1998, with an average margin of 14 (23 if looking solely at the Oklahoma wins). Coach Gary Pinkel is 7-9 against the spread against ranked teams since 2006 (5-11 straight up), having beaten (and covered as a dog) last against Oklahoma (36-27). Coach Bob Stoops is 13-11-1 against the spread against ranked teams since 2006 (18-7 straight up), but only 3-4 against the spread when playing a second ranked team back-to-back. Oklahoma has the 44th ranked defense (20th rushing, 87th passing); Missouri the 16th ranked defense (11th rushing, 54th passing). Oklahoma the 19th ranked offense (44th rushing, 20th passing); Missouri the 12th ranked offense (10th rushing, 40th passing). The matchup of Missouri’s pass defense and Oklahoma’s pass offense concerns me a bit, but I think Missouri should keep this within 3 TDs.
Southern Miss (2-1) +3.0 @ Virginia (2-1).Virginia and Southern Miss last met in 2009, with Southern Miss winning 37-34, but failing to cover the 14-point spread. Virginia Coach Mike London is 3-2-1 as a favorite against the spread, and 6-8-1 overall against the spread. Southern Miss Coach Larry Fedora is 15-13 as an underdog against the spread, and 20-18-1 overall against the spread. This is an improved Virginia (38th rushing offense, 45th passing) team with solid RBs in Perry Jones (173 yards 4.1/carry and 1 TD) and Kevin Parks (249 yards 6.1/carry and 5 TD). Michael Rocco (652 yards 61.1% completion, but 4 INT to 1 TD) will need to improve his play at QB before the Cavaliers have a truly balanced offense. Southern Miss is 14th against the run. Take the Golden Eagles to cover and win.
@ Pittsburgh (2-1) +7.0 Notre Dame (1-2).The Watch stayed away from the Notre Dame/Michigan State game last week, with good reason. The Irish bring in the 36th offense (27th passing, 61st rushing); the Panthers bring the 61st offense (52nd passing, 52nd rushing). Neither defense is much to write home about, as the Pittsburgh defense is ranked 96th (119th passing, 23rd rushing) and Notre Dame is ranked 58th (97th passing, 30th rushing). Pittsburgh is transitioning to a spread offense under Todd Graham, from the previous pro-style offense under Dave Wannstedt. Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly is 9-7 at Notre Dame (6-6-4 against the spread, 4-5-2 as a favorite against the spread). Coach Todd Graham is 0-3 against the spread at Pittsburgh (26-24-3 at Tulsa against the spread and 6-6-1 at Tulsa as an underdog against the spread). As long as Turnover Tommy Rees (5 INT, 2 Fumbles, 2 Fumbles lost) is addicted to turning the ball over for the Irish, opponents have a shot at winning. Irish should pick up their second win of the season, but Ray Graham (419 yards 5.3/carry and 6 TD), Devin Street (236 yards 15.7/catch and 1 TD), and Tino Sunseri (658 yards 62.5% completion and 3 TD, but 4 INT) should keep it closer than the 7-point spread.
Army (1-2) -4.0 @ Ball State (2-1).Ball State’s record is deceiving, in that they have beaten two teams that very well could be ranked 100 or greater at the end of the season (Indiana, 27-20 and Buffalo 28-25). They also got smoked by South Florida, 37-7. Army has played a pretty representative scheduling, losing at Northern Illinois (49-26), a close one at home to San Diego State (23-20), and a surprise win against Northwestern (21-14). Ball State is ranked 95th on defense (72nd against the run, 104th against the pass); Army is ranked 70th on defense (92nd against the run, 38th against the pass). Ball State is ranked 91st on offense (55th rushing; 91st passing) Army is ranked 55th on offense (2nd rushing; 120th passing). Trent Steelman has attempted a mere 22 passes this year (roughly 7 per game). Look for him to attempt more than 7 passes against a poor pass defense. Where Army does their damage is on the ground, with QB Trent Steelman (302 yards 4.6/carry and 7 TD), SB Malcolm Brown (248 yards 9.9/carry and 1 TD), RB Raymond Maples (157 yards 4.9/carry), and FB Jared Hassin (115 yards 3.7/carry). Look for Army to cause big damage to Ball State in the run game and easily cover in Muncie.
Rocky Long is 3-0 straight up at San Diego State (65-69 at New Mexico, from 1998-2008). Coach Long is 27-37 on the road, 6-14 against BCS teams, and 1-8 against the top 25. Since 2006, Coach Long is 21-18-2 against the spread and 10-9-1 as an underdog against the spread.
Brady Hoke is 50-50 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 25-15-2 against the spread as a favorite and 40-23-2 overall since 2006.
San Diego State’s defense is ranked 80th (36th passing [186 yards/game], 98th rushing [197 yards/game]). Michigan’s offense is ranked 62nd (93rd passing [177 yards/game], 19th rushing [226.7 yards/game])
San Diego State’s offense is ranked 41st (77th passing [207.3 yards/game], 24th rushing [220.7 yards/game]). Michigan’s defense is ranked 76th (26th passing [172 yards/game], 103rd rushing [202.5 yards/game]).
San Diego State and Michigan have met once, with Michigan winning 24-21, but failing to cover the 20-point spread.
On paper, Michigan and San Diego State look awful similar, both having good run offenses and suspect run defenses. San Diego State was gashed by Army’s run offense (403 yards 5.3/carry and 3 TD), but had Ronnie Hillman bail them out (117 yards 6.9/carry and 2 TD). San Diego State did hold Washington State to just 51 yards on the ground (82 without sacks), for a 1.8/carry average, while Ronnie Hillman pounded it out on the ground again (191 yards 6.0/carry and 4 TD). Michigan gave up 198 yards on the ground to Notre Dame, for a 6.0/carry average and 1 TD; the Wolverines followed that up with another subpar performance giving up 207 on the ground to Eastern Michigan for a 4.5/carry average.
Assuming Michigan can get the passing game going and step up on defense against the run, they should cover. I’m going out on a limb, saying Denard should be able to spread the ball around more, topping 200 yards passing, but the Michigan run defense will again struggle against a good RB in Ronnie Hillman.
San Diego State +10.0 @ Michigan.
Michigan 31 San Diego State 28
Synopsis for Turnovers: For the third week in a row, M had a positive turnover margin. The game had a total of 3 turnovers. Michigan lost 1 but gained 2 from EMU, leaving M with a TOM of +1 for the game and +6 for the year.
Interestingly, all the TOs occurred within the first 17 minutes of the game.
For the first time in 3 games, turnovers did not impact which team won the game.
|Adjust for TOs||-3.4||0.0|
|Score Without TOs||27.6||3|
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: Remember the table below includes the WMU game and will NOT be the same as the (incorrect) NCAA Rankings. DRob continued his TO problems with an interception and a fumble (the fumble was recovered by M). Interceptions are ranked #94 Nationally a slight improvement over the #100 ranking last week. Overall, M remains at Numero Uno in turnover margin (for the second week in a row).
|TO Lost||TO Gained|
|M Natl Rank||N/A||1||94||44||N/A||3||18||5||1|
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the yard line that the offense is at (which seems fairly obvious in retrospect). 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.
Here are the details for the EMU game.
|Qtr||Time||Down||LOS||TO Lost By||EP Lost||TO Gain By||Spot||EP Gain||EP Gain W/O TO||Net EP Gain||Total EP Diff|
EP Differential: + is M advantage, – is M disadvantage
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO directly results 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.
Here is a summary chart of Yard Line vs. Expected Points:
|Yard Line||M 0-5||M10||M20||M30||M40||50||V40||V30||V20||V10||V5||V1|
Details for Turnovers: Here is overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
|TO Lost||TO Gained|
so, this developed out of trying to solve a few problems common to attending a game at the stadium (or watching at home) and grew into a sort of cheat sheet / mini program. i am looking for input about this, such as layout, content, info, ways to improve it, etc. i am willing to put these up each week if there is interest.
problem 1: in response to the larger, non-wallet friendly, ticket sizes, i have taken to using a clear press pass envelope on a lanyard to carry tickets into the game. sometimes these comes with ticket packages or bowl tickets(?). you can wear it around your neck, i choose to tie it around my belt loop and put it in my pocket.
problem 2: university programs are expensive, hard to handle in a tight stadium and get ruined laying on the ground, therefore, especially early in the season, i am often lacking some piece of information that would be really important just then; jersey number, eligibility, opponent info, etc. they used to give out those free ones, but i don't see them anymore.
solution: all vital info about michigan football printed on one sheet that can be folded to fit into the clear press pass or back pocket that is free.
click on link to view pdf
There has been a lot of angst on the board over offensive play calling, whether Borges can adjust to the player personnel on hand, the spread vs. power & manball, protecting Denard, his passing skills and ability in the pocket, whether or not a "go-to" running back will emerge, whether the OL is creating lanes, etc., etc., etc.
I think these are legitimate concerns. But I also am reminded of something Hoke said in the pre-season, in so many words: the offense is only 1/3 of the team. The defense and special teams also make a huge difference.
Even with our defensive liabilities, I see this side of the ball becoming a strength.
- Mattison's ability to make adjustments to other teams and shut them down as the game goes on is huge. Against both ND & EMU, it looked bleak in the first quarter. But the defense adjusted, and gave our offense time to perform.
- I haven't parsed the numbers, but I think our defense is way up over the last few years of Michigan teams in causing turnovers. Even with Denard's miscues, we still are way up on turnovers this year, a huge credit to the defense.
- On the DL, the play of Martin has been great, Roh is finally healthy, VanBergen is solid, BWC shows glimpses of promise.
- The secondary has been great, with Troy, Floyd, Avery, Kovacs, and Gordon bending yet not breaking, and stopping most of the home runs.
- With the emergence of Hawthorne and Jake Ryan, alongside Demens, LB play has been solid. And Cam Gordon should be contributing anytime now.
Admittedly, there isn't enough depth. But if the defense stays healthy, I think they're going to be able to play with most of the teams we will face, and even win us a game or two.
Special Teams has been under the radar, but I am very, very encouraged.
- Wile adds something to the mix, and has been solid, if unspectacular.
- Hagerup will return in one more game, and will give us more range on punts.
- Gibbons hasn't missed a field goal yet this year! Ok, this is overstating things, but at least this doesn't appear to be the huge liability of a year ago. Hoke sure doesn't seem concerned. Hitting a field goal last Saturday was a step in the right direction.
- Gallon has done a great job in returns. It was beautiful seeing him return a punt a long way (only to have it called back by an illegal block to the back.)
With the return of Hagerup, we are going to see our opponents pinned deep more often, with a long field ahead of them. Sustaining a drive of more than 80 yards is not easy. If the defense continues to generate turnovers, this will be a great thing.
With the emergence of Gallon, and the ability of our defense to stop the opponent on 3rd and 4th down, we are going to see a short field for Michigan's offense more often this year.
Having a solid defense and good special teams play will make a huge difference in our overall play and record. Even with our offense stepping down a level, it is more than compensated for by our defense and special teams stepping up. As entertaining as it may have been, I don't want to see a repeat of last year's Illinois game, where our only chance of winning was being the last one to score a TD.
In high school, every nine or so weeks a report card would come out. When the report card was good, nothing needed to be said. But when it was bad, some “spin” would occur (student-teacher conflict, tests were unfair, etc.).
It’s time to look at the first quarter of the season report card for Big Ten teams (and other Michigan opponents), now three weeks into the season. The report card will factor in each team’s success (or lack thereof) offensively and defensively, while keeping their win-loss record in mind. I’ll also provide a few games to look at over the next three games for each team.
Illinois – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (3-0)
Total Offense: 410 yards/game; 60th.
Run Offense: 223 yards/game; 22nd. Pass Offense: 187 yards/game; 83rd.
Total Defense: 269 yards/game; 17th.
Run Defense: 63 yards/game; 7th. Pass Defense: 205 yards/game; 59th.
Notes: Jason Ford has been impressive for the Fighting Illini (3.6/carry and 4 TD). Nathan Scheelhaase has raised his completion percentage from 58.7% to 71.7%. Western Michigan and Northwestern should provide a good idea as to the capability of this team.
Wins: Arkansas State (33-15); South Dakota State (56-3); #22 Arizona State (17-14).
Indiana – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (1-2)
Total Offense: 417 yards/game; 55th.
Run Offense: 169 yards/game; 55th. Pass Offense: 247 yards/game; 38th.
Total Defense: 373 yards/game; 73rd.
Run Defense: 177 yards/game; 87th. Pass Defense: 195 yards/game; 48th.
Notes: Demarlo Blecher has been one of the few bright spots for Indiana (13.6/catch and 1 TD). Ted Bolser (2 catches) has had virtually no involvement in an offense with lacks a leader at QB. Indiana could very well not win another game this season. With that said, games against North Texas and Illinois should provide a better measure of the ceiling for Indiana.
Wins: South Carolina State (38-21).
Losses: vs. Ball State (20-27); Virginia (31-34).
Iowa – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 411 yards/game; 59th.
Run Offense: 127 yards/game; 82nd. Pass Offense: 284 yards/game; 22nd.
Total Defense: 397 yards/game; 88th.
Run Defense: 157 yards/game; 76th. Pass Defense: 240 yards/game; 82nd.
Notes: Iowa could/should be 1-2. Iowa’s defense and run offense have been disappointments thus far. A loss to cellar-dweller/rival Iowa State was surprising. Hawkeyes rallied back against a poor Pittsburgh pass defense to get the win. James Vandenberg (869 yards; 8.51/pass and 7 TD) and Marvin McNutt (17.4/catch and 2 TD) have led the way for the Iowa offense. Louisiana-Monroe (Kolton Browning is a solid Sun Belt QB who will test the Iowa secondary) and Northwestern should provide a good measure as to Iowa’s team this year.
Wins: Tennessee Tech (34-7); Pittsburgh (31-27).
Losses: @ Iowa State (41-44 OT).
Michigan – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (3-0)
Total Offense: 461.5 yards/game; 24th.
Run Offense: 245 yards/game; 13th. Pass Offense: 177 yards/game; 87th.
Total Defense: 374.5 yards/game; 76th.
Run Defense: 202.5 yards/game; 103rd. Pass Defense: 172 yards/game; 26th.
Notes: Denard Robinson’s arm has not been impressive (49.1% completion percentage with 6 TD and 4 INT). Can you believe Roy Roundtree has only 29 yards receiving to date? The run game, however, has been very good; Vincent Smith (132 yards 11/carry), Denard Robinson (352 yards 7/carry and 2 TD), and Fitz Toussaint (126 yards 5.7/carry and 3 TD) have led the way.
Wins: Western Michigan (34-10); Notre Dame (35-31); Eastern Michigan (31-3). San Diego State and Northwestern will provide insight into Michigan’s potential, before the showdown in East Lansing.
Michigan State – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 396 yards/game; 67th.
Run Offense: 125 yards/game; 83rd. Pass Offense: 270 yards/game; 26th.
Total Defense: 192 yards/game; 4th.
Run Defense: 88 yards/game; 28th. Pass Defense: 104 yards/game; 3rd.
Notes: If I was a Spartan fan, the Notre Dame game would be concerning to me. Cousins threw 53(!) times and the Spartan run game was limited to 23 carries for a total of 29 yards (1.3/carry) with a long of 8 yards. Dion Sims (7 catches for 65 yards and 2 TD), BJ Cunningham (26 catches for 361 yards and 1 TD), and Le’Veon Bell (30 carries for 136 yards and 3 TD) have been the bright spots on offense. Games at Ohio at home to Michigan will determine if this team is a contender or merely feasts on inferior competition.
Wins: Youngstown State (28-6); Florida Atlantic (44-0).
Losses: @ Notre Dame (13-31).
Minnesota – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (1-2)
Total Offense: 373 yards/game; 78th.
Run Offense: 175 yards/game; 48th. Pass Offense: 197 yards/game; 77th.
Total Defense: 399 yards/game; 90th.
Run Defense: 93 yards/game; 31st. Pass Defense: 305 yards/game; 112th.
Notes: Minnesota kept the USC game closer than expected, but followed that up with a loss at home to the Aggies (Minnesota was a 21 point favorite). The Gophers are clearly a program in transition and are 2-3 years away from being competitive. Marqueis Gray (468 yards passing and 328 yards rushing; 3 TD, but 2 INT) and Da’Jon McKnight (16 catches for 221 yards and 1 TD) have been the stars on the offensive side. Games at Michigan and at Purdue will provide a gauge as to the upside of this team.
Wins: Miami (NTM) (29-23).
Losses: @ USC (17-19); New Mexico State (21-28).
Nebraska – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (3-0)
Total Offense: 422 yards/game; 51st.
Run Offense: 252 yards/game; 11th. Pass Offense: 169 yards/game; 92nd.
Total Defense: 364 yards/game; 67th.
Run Defense: 132 yards/game; 61st. Pass Defense: 232 yards/game; 78th.
Notes: Yes, the Huskers have averaged 46.5 against two FBS bowl opponents. But let’s talk about the defense. Robbie Rouse (Fresno State) gashed the blackshirts for 169 yards on the ground; Chris Polk (Washington) ran for 130 yards last week. The run defense has not been great; Wisconsin is two Saturdays away – at Camp Randall. Taylor Martinez is completing under 50% of his passes, but his feet (384 yards and 6 TD) and Rex Burkhead (250 yards and 5 TD) have led the offense. Games at Wyoming and at Wisconsin, before Lincoln matchup with Coach Pelini’s alma mater, will determine whether the Nebraska run defense has improved. Wyoming has two decent running backs in Ghaali Muhammad (160 yards 10.0/carry and 1 TD) and Brandon Miller (160 yards 7.6/carry and 1 TD).
Wins: Chattanooga (40-7); Fresno State (42-29); and Washington (51-38).
Northwestern – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 390 yards/game; 71st.
Run Offense: 220 yards/game; 24th. Pass Offense: 169 yards/game; 93rd.
Total Defense: 394 yards/game; 87th.
Run Defense: 205 yards/game; 105th. Pass Defense: 188 yards/game; 39th.
Notes: Take this with a grain of salt; Dan Persa has been hurt. Kain Colter (65% completion percentage and 237 yards rushing with 4 TD) has done a good job of getting Jeremy Ebert (162 yards 16.2/catch and 2 TD) and Mike Trumpy (119 yards 5.2/carry and 1 TD) the ball. The Wildcats gave up 381 yards on the ground to Army’s triple option offense last week, but limited Boston College to 104 yards on the ground in week 1. Neither game is indicative of Northwestern’s team as a whole. Games against the 22nd and 13th run offenses, Illinois and Michigan, respectively, will give a better idea of Northwestern’s potential.
Wins: @ Boston College (24-17); Eastern Illinois (42-21)
Losses: @ Army (14-21)
Ohio – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 342 yards/game; 86th.
Run Offense: 170 yards/game; 53rd. Pass Offense: 172 yards/game; 91st.
Total Defense: 263 yards/game; 14th.
Run Defense: 107 yards/game; 37th. Pass Defense: 156 yards/game; 17th.
Notes: Who knew how much Terrelle Pryor hurt the Bucks? QB decision-making/play-calling from Ohio has been awful. Jake Stoneburner, TE, has 93 yards and 4 TD. Joe Bauserman’s completion percentage has been bad (50%), but has 4 TD passes. Eric Page (Toledo) had 145 yards receiving and 2 TD against Ohio. Lamar Miller (184 yards 7.1/carry) and the Canes made viewers wonder whether a Hurricane Warning prevented Ohio from even making it to the game. Believe it or not, Colorado can present problems for the Buckeyes with All-PAC-12 WR Paul Richardson (360 yards 20/catch and 4 TD), but Ohio should win. The schedule only gets tougher with Michigan State visiting and a visit to Lincoln.
Wins: Akron (42-0); Toledo (27-22).
Losses: @ Miami (YTM) (6-24).
Penn State – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 306 yards/game; 103rd.
Run Offense: 148 yards/game; 66th. Pass Offense: 158 yards/game; 100th.
Total Defense: 242 yards/game; 9th.
Run Defense: 111 yards/game; 42nd. Pass Defense: 130 yards/game; 7th.
Notes: Will Joe Paterno and/or Jay Paterno, for the sake of Nittany Lion Nation, please decide on a QB? Lucky for Penn State, they have workhorse Silas Redd (255 yards 5.1/carry and 4 TD) and Derek Moye (220 yards 15.7/catch) leading the way offensively. The only key game of the next three is Iowa, given the trouble Penn State has had with Iowa (Hawkeyes have won the last 3 meetings). For the sake of ending the QB competition, either the games against Eastern Michigan or Indiana may be relevant, too.
Wins: Indiana State (41-7); @ Temple (14-10).
Losses: Alabama (27-11).
Purdue – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 471 yards/game; 22nd.
Run Offense: 258 yards/game; 9th. Pass Offense: 212 yards/game; 64th.
Total Defense: 321 yards/game; 43rd.
Run Defense: 109 yards/game; 40th. Pass Defense: 212 yards/game; 63rd.
Notes: Purdue could very well be 1-2, coming back late to beat Middle Tennessee. Caleb TerBush (63% completion 546 yards and 3 TD) has done well filling in for Rob Henry and Robert Marve. But with Marve back, there may be a QB competition in West Lafayette. But the Purdue offense has been led by the tandem of Ralph Bolden (223 yards 5.7/carry and 2 TD) and Akeem Shavers (186 yards 6.4/carry and 3 TD). Games against Notre Dame and at Penn State should give a better idea of whether or not this is a bowl team.
Wins: Middle Tennessee (27-24); SE Missouri State (59-0).
Losses: @ Rice (22-24).
Wisconsin – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (3-0)
Total Offense: 505 yards/game; 14th.
Run Offense: 238 yards/game; 17th. Pass Offense: 267 yards/game; 27th.
Total Defense: 271 yards/game; 18th.
Run Defense: 77 yards/game; 18th. Pass Defense: 193 yards/game; 44th.
Notes: Hard to find any flaws with the Badgers. But giving up 17 to UNLV seemed worrisome, that is, until Hawaii (-18) lost to UNLV last week (40-20). QB transfer Russell Wilson (791 passing and 8 passing TD; 110 rushing and 1 TD) has played pitch-and-catch with Nick Toon (198 yards 14.1/catch and 3 TD) and Jacob Pedersen (164 yards 16.4/catch and 4 TD). The combination of Montee Ball (272 yards 5.7/carry and 7 TD) and James C. White has been lethal (208 yards 5.8/carry and 2 TD). Circle the game against Nebraska as being a key game. It’s one of the few roadblocks to an undefeated regular season. Circle the Indiana game, too - only for the purposes of seeing if Wisconsin can score more than 83 this year.
Wins: UNLV (51-17); Oregon State (49-7); vs. Northern Illinois (49-7).
Eastern Michigan – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 358 yards/game; 83rd.
Run Offense: 289 yards/game; 6th. Pass Offense: 68 yards/game; 118th.
Total Defense: 298 yards/game; 29th.
Run Defense: 153 yards/game; 75th. Pass Defense: 145 yards/game; 11th.
Notes: Eastern has been the epitome of winning the games they should and losing the game they should lose. Eastern Michigan held Michigan to 95 yards passing, granted it was largely due to Denard Robinson’s inaccuracy. As good as the pass defense was, the run defense game up 376 yards and 2 TD. Alex Gillett has not been good, completing less than 50% of his passes with 3 TD and 2 INT. However, Javonti Greene (346 yards 6.1/carry and 1 TD), Dominique Sherrer (231 yards 7.7/carry and 2 TD) and Alex Gillett (211 yards 6.6/carry and 1 TD) have paced an impressive Eagle run offense. Penn State and Silas Redd should shred the Eagles’ defense, but Akron will provide a better indication as to whether Coach Ron English can add to his win total this year.
Wins: Howard (41-9); Alabama State (14-7).
Losses: @ Michigan (3-31).
Notre Dame – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (1-2)
Total Offense: 432 yards/game; 37th.
Run Offense: 143 yards/game; 70th. Pass Offense: 289 yards/game; 20th.
Total Defense: 354 yards/game; 58th.
Run Defense: 89 yards/game; 30th. Pass Defense: 265 yards/game; 97th.
Notes: Trying to say something positive about the Irish pass defense . . . um, they aren’t Turnover Tommy Rees (772 yards 69.7% 6 TD and 5 INT)? In fact, if you count the INT as completed passes, Rees has a 74% completion percentage . . . to someone. Michael Floyd (397 yards 12.8/catch and 2 TD), TJ Jones (126 yards 10.5/catch and 2 TD), Theo Riddick (101 yards 10.1/catch and 2 TD), and Cierre Wood (299 yards 5.0/carry and 4 TD) have made up for Rees’ misgivings. But as long as Gary Gray and Robert Blanton are on the field, the Irish have a shot at losing, despite the offensive talent and Manti Te’o. After giving up 108 yards on the ground to Denard Robinson and 338 yards through the air, Pittsburgh and Air Force are the key games. Pittsburgh Coach Todd Graham won at Notre Dame last year, having coached Tulsa. Air Force triple option offense will give the Irish defense fits, just look at the Navy v. Notre Dame games in recent years.
Wins: #15 Michigan State (31-13).
Losses: South Florida (20-23); Michigan (31-35).
San Diego State – Projected Record: (3-0); Actual Record: (3-0)
Total Offense: 428 yards/game; 42nd.
Run Offense: 220 yards/game; 24th. Pass Offense: 207 yards/game; 71st.
Total Defense: 383 yards/game; 80th.
Run Defense: 197 yards/game; 98th. Pass Defense: 186 yards/game; 38th.
Notes: Army offense shredded the Aztec run defense to the tune of 403 yards! Triple option aside, the Aztec run defense has done a pretty decent job (held Washington State to 82 rushing yards, less sacks). RB Ronnie Hillman (497 yards 6.5/carry and 8 TD(!)) rushed for 191 yards against Washington State and 117 against Army.
Wins: Cal Poly (49-21); @ Army (23-20); Washington State (42-24). Besides Hillman, Ryan Lindley (622 yards 53.7% and 7 TD), Colin Lockett (254 yards 21.2/catch and 2 TD) and Dylan Denso (140 yards 15.6/catch and 2 TD) have paced the Aztec offense. San Diego State enters a dangerous stretch, playing at Michigan, home to #20 TCU and at Air Force. Each presents its own unique problems, namely, the Aztec former coach, a dominant defense, and a triple option offense, respectively.
Western Michigan – Projected Record: (2-1); Actual Record: (2-1)
Total Offense: 420.5 yards/game; 53rd.
Run Offense: 150 yards/game; 63rd. Pass Offense: 231 yards/game; 43rd.
Total Defense: 273.5 yards/game; 19th.
Run Defense: 136 yards/game; 64th. Pass Defense: 137.5 yards/game; 8th.
Notes: Western Michigan was impressive in its win over Central Michigan, in the Battle for the Victory Cannon. Having the 8th ranked pass defense is a bit misleading, as the Michigan game did not even make it through three quarters. Alex Carder (681 yards 72.1% and 5 TD), Jordan White (363 yards 12.5/catch and 2 TD), and Robert Arnheim (109 yards 10.9/catch and 1 TD) have led the Bronco offense. The Broncos have a chance to make a statement in their next two games: @ #24 Illinois and @ Connecticut. Splitting the next two games puts the Broncos in a position to win at least 8, if not, 9 games, this year.
Wins: Nicholls State (38-7); Central Michigan (44-14).
Losses: @ Michigan (10-34).