I sadly put the column back on the shelf for another season, but first look forward to the upcoming bowl season with the usual eye towards the lopsided, shorthanded, or just plain visually offensive. But first:
Nothing exciting happened in the Big East, which actually shouldn't be that noteworthy given the rest of the season. So instead, we'll review the Arizona/Arizona State debacle. In the first half, nothing happened. Well, lots happened, just very little of it was good. Two field goals, maybe seven first downs, and 14 punts worth of "action." In the second half, Arizona managed a 14-6 lead but gave up two FGs in a long day of FGs and ASU's lone TD to fall behind 14-20. Arizona scored a late TD, but had the extra point blocked to tie at 20-20 and go into overtime. Both teams traded FGs in the first OT, and ASU scored first in the second OT. Arizona scored a TD as well, but had their second extra point blocked, giving the win to Arizona State.
The "Racial Integration is a State Right" Bowl, aka the BBVA Compass Bowl, brings us Pitt versus Kentucky. Kentucky has beaten everyone they should have beaten, and lost to everyone they should have lost to. Wins: Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron, Charleston Southern, and Vandy. Losses: Florida, Mississippi, Auburn, Georgia, MissState, Tennessee to finish 6-6. They do have the win against South Carolina but managed only one more conference win. Pitt, was two Big East-shenanigans games away from a BCS bowl, even though they lost to both of the teams that they would have moved a head of. The best thing I can say about Pitt is that they're not better than UConn or West Virginia.
The New Mexico Bowl is the "Someone gets to be over .500" Bowl for the second year running, pitting BYU against UTEP in the Alphabet Soup game of the week. UTEP limped in with a 3-5 record in Conference USA. They ended their season with a loss to Tulsa and also have a loss to Tulane on their record. BYU has first week win against Washington and a season-ending close loss to Utah to bookend their season.
I propose some sort of playoff between the winners of the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, and the Autozone Liberty Bowl to play for some sort of "Symbol of the American Economy - Rusted-out Car On Blocks" Trophy. Oh right, I forgot, there already is one:
The "Great Game - 20 Years Ago" Bowl is a toss-up between Florida v Penn State and Notre Dame v Miami. Florida and Penn State are both "offensively challenged," Penn State and walk-on QBs moreso. Miami has been bi-polar all season, so it's anybody's guess as to which team will show up: the one that beat Maryland and Pitt, or the one that lost to USF and Virginia.
The "Perseverance in the Face of Insurmountable Odds aka The Bunny in a Chipper-Shredder" award is between Michigan State against Alabama, or UConn against Oklahoma. Both of these games look like the results of picking sides for a game at recess: both teams are left standing in their Horace Grant glasses, knee socks and bony white elbows. "I had UConn last time!" And yeah, I don't care that State is ranked higher. Alabama is the 5th ranked scoring defense. It's going to look like this:
So goodnight until next season, and now maybe I'll get a chance to work on the OSU UFR.
I've delayed a few days in posting this; I had doubts about whether I would post or not. It is a story (cool story, bro!) that sheds just a little light on the intersection of Dave Brandon, the press and the Michigan alumni/fan base. Anecdotally only, of course.
One year ago, I attended the annual dinner of one of the suburban Detroit alumni groups. The alumni members of that group do an amazing job of raising money for scholarships; there are a handful of kids getting degrees right now, who wouldn't be there without this group of loyal interested alums. They have an annual fundraising dinner at a golf club, and last year, December of 2009, the invited dinner speaker was Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press, who was ostensibly there to talk about his book, "War As They Knew It."
The audience was, in the parlance of this blog, pure "blue-hair." Most attendees were in their 60's, 70's and 80's. If that makes some younger fans think less of them, so be it. They are donors; loyal alums; many are season ticket holders; a number are former lettermen. They mostly all read the Free Press, and if they don't like the Free Press it is probably because they are Republicans, not because they care about sportswriting. And, as I already mentioned, they are making it possible for some great, worthy kids to go to Michigan.
There was the usual Q-and-A session after Rosenberg's short talk about his book. And there were the usual questions about the history of Bo and Woody, and before that Bump Elliott, and some timid questions about whether the football team was going to start winning soon and how Mike Rosenberg thought that might happen.
I waited to the end of the general questions, then rose, and proceeded to ask Rosenberg a series of pointed questions about the Free Press story of August 30, 2009:
- Q - Why didn't you ever talk to any of the people who actually understood Compliance Services operations and CARA reporting details? A - That wasn't Rosenberg's story, he said.
- Q - Why did you wait until the Friday before going to print on Saturday, to drop this bombshell on Martin, Rodriguez and Bruce Madej? A - That was enough time for them to answer, and if they had something to say, we might have delayed publication, but they didn't.
- Q - How do you justify the anonymity afforded to the unnamed "former" players, but meanwhile you named (and substantially traumatized) Je'Ron Stokes and Brandin Hawthorne, both of whom say they were misqoted and their commets were misused? A - We gave anonymity to players who asked for it, and the two freshmen did not ask for it.
- Q - What about Toney Clemons; he says he never asked for anonymity, and he admits that you interviewed him? A - How do you know he was one of the sources we used for the story?
- Q - What about Justin Boren; a guy who was so unconcerned about "retaliation" that he dressed up as Rich Rod for Halloween, with his girlfriend as a "Bunny/stripper" Rita? A - No comment on Boren as a source, and as for the justification of anonymitiy, it would have been better to cite "general retribution" instead of "retribution from coaches."
At one point, Rosenberg asked, "Am I being cross-examined?" The mood in the dining room was a bit tense. It was not what a lot of the guests might have anticipated for a holiday-season dinner. Rosenberg had no good answers, and the audience, not particularly well-attuned to the issues of what Jon Chait called "journalistic malpractice," probably didn't know quite what to think. At that time, December of 2009, little was publicly known about the NCAA investigation. The University had not yet responded to anything. Bill Martin was the AD, and there was not much thought about David Brandon at that time, other than that he was a former Regent, was now at Domino's, he had made a lot of money, and some thought he might someday run for governor.
Fast-forward to December, 2010; last week, the night before the Football Bust. The annual dinner takes place at the same golf club dining room. The speaker, this year, is David Brandon.
Brandon speaks for about 35 minutes, without a note, about his lifelong connections with Michigan, and it was so organized, so cogent and so well-crafted, that a transcript of the talk would look like it had been pre-written, carefully edited over a week or so, and then delivered with a TelePrompTer.
Brandon then answered questions. Everyone pretty much knew what he would and would not answer. At one point a lady mischeivously asked Brandon what criteria he will grade his football coaches on; a cute way of asking about Rich Rodriguez. People were laughing as she tried to ask the question from the back of the room. Instead of fouling off the question and giving a nothing response, Brandon asked the lady to repeat the question, because the laughter drowned her out just a bit. She rephrased the question, over more giggles and whispers. Again, Brandon asked her to repeat a part of it, so that he had her exact question. He was not going to dodge a single word, and he was going to answer the exact question, directly.
When all of the routine questions were done, I rose to let Brandon know who last year's speaker was, and relate what had happened. As soon as I mentioned the name of Michael Rosenberg, there were scattered of boos and hisses from throughout the room. What a difference a year makes, even to a group of older, conservative Free Press readers. I let Brandon know what had happened last year, and aksed what was his feeling about the Free Press story of August 30, 2009.
Brandon said he was proud of the way that everyone had responded. The investigation had been solid. Naturally, it uncovered some problems and the University had to take full responsibility for what the investigation had found. They did so, and they did it without whining to the media about how it had all gotten started.
Brandon said that he had spent more of his time and energy with the lawyers on the Michigan/NCAA football investigation, than he had on the biggest deal of his life in the corporate world, which was a 1.2 billion-dollar series of transactions.
Then Brandon opened up about the press. He said that the newspaper story that had led to NCAA investigation had been "crap." He said that he had taken a yellow highlighter to the printed story, and had highlighted all of the parts that were unfounded, untrue, exaggerated or eroneous. He ended up with a story that was more yellow than not. If there had been any doubt in the room about Rosenberg and the Free Press, the two December meetings, in 2009 and 2010, had erased it.
He thanked me for my question.
This past weekend was host to a few important official visitors, and this weekend will see even more prospects coming in for the Big Chill hockey game. A slightly different format:
Visitors from this Past Weekend (12/3)
There were no commitments from Maryland DB Blake Countess or Florida S Wayne Lyons. I spoke briefly with Lyons, and have a full interview scheduled for later today. He had this to say so far:
"It was a good trip. The academic side of it was good, and I know my mom liked that too."
Rumors had Michigan potentially leading for Countess, and this visit was a big one since it was his first official. Blake was tweeting the whole weekend; here's a few of them:
- goblue !!!!!!!!!!
- Michigan was great. i could def. see myself there!
- I was with Josh Furman, Denard and Devin Gardner..and the other players that were there on officials.Delonte, wayne and G.Brown
His coaches aren't easy to get ahold of, so I'm still working on getting more from him. Lyons is expected to make his decision at the Army game, and will take a trip to Nebraska next.
Official Visitors for the Big Chill
This weekend is not only host to the Big Chill and fireworks, but a plethora of official visitors. Here's the list I have compiled so far. As always this list will be posted permanently in the diary section to add and remove recruits.
- LB Desmond Morgan - This could be the last visit before Morgan makes his decision. I wouldn't be surprised if he announces his choice shortly after.
- DE Anthony Zettel - This is Zettel's last official visit. He's already been to MSU, Penn State, and Iowa.
- OL Chris Bryant - This probably won't be the last visit for Chris. He's been wavering on when he wants to make his decision. He might wait until signing day, or he might just pull the trigger. Michigan is in a favorable position either way.
I'll continue to add to this as I confirm more names.
On to specific recruits:
6'3", 210 lbs.
Matthews, North Carolina
Frost is down to Auburn and Michigan, and has been for some time now. He still plans on enrolling early, and will be announcing his choice at the Army All American game in January. I'm in constant contact with Kris, and I believe that Michigan is in good position right now… as long as Rodriguez is retained. If Michigan were to make a change, then there might be some trouble. I don't believe that a defensive coaching change would make too much of a difference with Kris. The coaches have been on him, and are continuing to show him that they want him, as well:
Coach Rod will actually be out to my house on Thursday. They've just really been telling me how I fit in there, and how much I'm wanted. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it back up there for another visit, but that shouldn't matter too much anyway.
If you remember, Kris was going to try to come back up for another unofficial visit. That won't be happening, but it's not a big deal.
6'1", 189 lbs.
If you read my post yesterday you already know that Devin has scheduled his official visit out to Michigan for January 7th. Since Michigan has offered they have shot up Devin's list, and this visit could potentially vault the Wolverines into the top spot.
I love the overall tradition at Michigan. The tradition they have reminds me a lot of what we have at Crespi (High School). The brotherhood that the players have is amazing. I love the fans, and the whole community of Ann Arbor. I can't wait to visit.
A lot of people have wondered what recruits are thinking as far as the coaching situation with regards to Michigan. Devin felt comfortable enough to share how he was thinking.
I like Michigan for Michigan, so it doesn't really matter to me. I think it matters more to my parents just because they want me to be somewhere stable. Coach Dews has talked to both my parents and they both like him a lot. He's actually coming out this week on Thursday.
This is just one point of view but Devin is more interested in the program, and since he could probably play in most systems anyway, it won't matter much. The timing of this visit could help Michigan too, since Lucien is planning on making his decision on signing day, which is only 3 or 4 weeks from when he'll be on campus.
Other items [from the editor]
- The Orlando Sentinel caught up with FL RB Dee Hart, who says he will remain committed to Michigan if Rodriguez is retained. If he isn't, he's going to Florida to play in the spread.
- MI WR Shawn Conway will not qualify and is headed to a JUCO. He says he would like to return to the fold after his time there is finished but it is extremely rare for Michigan to take a JUCO kid who did not qualify out of high school. Austin Panter, the last JUCO at Michigan, was a qualifier who played seven on seven and went to JUCO for exposure, and the last one before that was Russell Shaw. Michigan's coaches have clearly known about this for a while given the offer to Lucien and late push for Arnett.
This is the first in a series of wallpapers leading up to the 2011 Gator Bowl. I wanted to have a basic name-of-the-bowl-game-themed wallpaper in place while I work on the opponent-specific graphics over the next few weeks. I also might produce a state-of-the-program commentary and will hopefully finish that Denard Robinson Action Figure behind-the-scenes article I've been promising. If there's time left after all of that I'd like to write a less-hyphenated version of this paragraph.
After the bowl destination and opponent were announced yesterday I did some superficial research on Mississippi State and was surprised at how close they played some of their highly ranked opponents (they only lost to Auburn by 3 and Arkansas by 7 in double overtime). I realize that the W-L column and game scores are statistically less significant than other data sure to appear over the next month in the writings of football minds much greater than mine, but I didn't have room for a grid of opponent points per possession adjusted for field position, strength of schedule and coach seat hotness so all you're getting on this wallpaper are the basics.
The image below is a preview only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
All of the 2010 Wallpapers
Fear and Loathing in Ann Arbor Volume I
The 2010 Regular Season
Pre UConn- MSU
Disclaimer: The following diary is a combination of a narrative for the 2010 Michigan football season excluding the Gator Bowl and a collection of work from author Hunter S. Thompson. I made minor changes to his work such as places, names, coaches, players, etc to make it relevant to our 2010 season. The work in this diary was lifted from the pages of Dr. Thompson’s work in “Hey Rube”. If you wonder what lines were his and which were mine, thank you for the compliment and then get the book. This is a trial run at my first diary. If the majority of you like the content, I shall release part two of the 2010 season. If the majority of you do not like the content, I will keep part two to myself and would appreciate FAIL pics more than pointed insults. At least I will be able to laugh AND cry at the same time.
The autumn months are never a calm time in America. Back to work, back to football practice, etc….Autumn is a very traditional period, a time of strong rituals and the celebrating of strange holidays like Halloween and Satanism and the fateful harvest Moon, which can have ominous implications for some people.
Ominous it was. A second half season collapse leaving us 5-7 after a 4-0 start left the Michigan family feeling like getting in line for free turkey at the homeless shelter for our first hot meal in ages only to be told that chilled peas and week old fruitcake were left once it was our turn. More grumblings came not from our tummies, but alumni, fans, and current students at the time. Also the Detroit Free Press and their head henchman of death, Rosenberg, were hellbent on sinking Michigan football into Lake Huron.
September 4th, 2010. UConn. A kid nicknamed “shoelaces” that had the best smile east of the Mississippi takes the field as the starting quarterback. We witnessed the possible talent the year before with his blazing speed. Some of us worried of the inaccuracy and arm strength however, but this was a new season and nothing having to do with shoelaces, jockstraps, and sports bras would prevent us from feeling the overwhelming lust for the spoils of hearing Hail to the Victors with smiles all around when the clock ticked to 0:00 in the 4th quarter. Shoelace D Robinson proved his offseason training when he threw for 186 yards, ran for 197, and garnered 2 TDs. Victory was ours and we were headed to a showdown in South Bend riding on a 30-10 victory over a favored conference champion on the grand opening of a renovated stadium that rivaled the Roman Coliseum.
September 11th, 2010. Notre Dame, a college of hopeless alcoholics with huge egos and a weakness for mob hysteria in tense situations. They are the ones who will get angry when their lofty pregame predictions start going awry. They then guarantee some last minute fumble or shocking interception. I have seen these loonies win on some days, but lately, not often. They are the spiritual descendents of legendary old west gamblers who would bet the ranch and even their wives and daughters on one game of impossible odds that they cannot see due to denial of the mediocrity of their program. The fact remained the same though. We hate them and would hate even more to lose to the bastards. Games in South Bend can be scary, but again Shoelace D Robinson led our band of warriors to victory over the Brian Kelly led pack of degenerates. The week before’s performance against UConn was not expected again. That expectation turned out to be true. The performance of 244 yards in the air, 258 on the ground, 3 TD’s, and the last minute game winning drive shattered the expectation. 2-0. The next week? A I-AA opponent that was a sure win.
September 18th, 2010. UMass. This game was thought of as a lock before it even started. Call your bookie and tell them you are betting your soul. There would be no way we could lose this with Shoelace D Robinson. We soon found out that Denard doesn’t play defense. Although Shoelace put up 345 total yards and 3 TD’s, I sat by the internet radio gnashing teeth on my dog’s chew toy at the possible upset of Michigan by another I-AA team. Most if not all of Michigan’s fan base went rigid with fear of “The Horror” part duex. If any innocent bystander were to walk into a house with an avid Michigan fan, they would witness something similar to watching a brain-damaged cow with wild eyes staggering crazily around in circles with its legs caving in, its spine seizing up, and its hooves lashing out in the air with Mad Cow Disease. Michigan won 42-37, but it felt more like a tie and the defense was concerning. Oh well. It is a win and seeing how we came one win short of bowl eligibility a year before, we chalked it up to our horrible luck against small teams in the Eastern Time Zone.
September 25th, 2010. Bowling Green. Not much to say here. Every human being needs a reason to wake up, and this would be a good one for this Saturday. Many of us were curious to see how the defense would respond to its questionable performance the week before. There was an eerie feeling in the air before that game, at least on my owl farm. Most of my body was confident as a red blooded American man that just won the National Arm Wrestling competition and drove off feeling like a winner with Anne Hathaway in a blood red 1963 Chevy Impala convertible. However, I kept one eye open and fixed upon the defense anticipating a meltdown of epic proportion so that I could find the nearest sharp object and ram it into my pupil. Turns out I kept my eyesight and Meeeechigan won again with Denard able to leave early and Tater Nutz making it a record setting day for two quarterbacks in the season.
October 2nd, 2010. Indiana. The Big Ten schedule would officially be started this day. Indiana would be the first foe. By this time we were saturated with the voices of various experts claiming that Shoelace D Robinson could not sustain his demi-god like numbers on the field. It was said repeatedly, like most news and catchy memes, that Michigan would be risking destroying Denard and QBs like him in the future faster than high schools being able to churn them out. Michigan must have two QBs, because one of them is certain to get crippled or mashed by some steroid crazed monster who weighs 388 pounds, runs faster than Deion Sanders, and is hell bent on hurting people. Once Big Ten played started, Denard would suffer a compound fracture beyond our wildest nightmares.
Onto Indiana then. Last year’s contest was a white knuckle ride that left me scrounging for clean underwear at the conclusion. Indiana was and rarely has been good. It shouldn’t have been that close. If we lost this year to Chappell and his rightfully hyped passing show, I could only guarantee one thing. It would be a night in Ann Arbor of booze and violence that, 99 times out of 100, would swamp anybody that goes near it in a hurricane of fear, pain, and stupefying disasters that will haunt them for the rest of their life. Thankfully this was not the case. Michigan wins again, but in close fashion because of the growing liability and unluckiness of the defense. I did not shart my pants this year, but I did almost choke on my gum.
October 9th, 2010. Michigan State. Our intellectually challenged brethren to the west in East Lansing. We lost two years in a row to these shmucks and this year would be different. The noise about falling off a cliff into a pit of shame and despair at 5-0 reached deafening levels. Not this year chaps. This year, we would beat the forces of dumb into Bolivia and become bowl eligible for the first time under our coach Rich Rodriguez. The planets aligned, the moon was in Virgo, and our eggs were counted and ready to launch at that clown disguised as a coach, Dantonio.
The planets may have been aligned, but it wasn’t in our solar system. Michigan State brutalized us, making us look like the Chinese Crested Powderpuff pedigree of the state of Michigan. We came down like a car off a cliff from the week before’s high. There was a savage 180 degree swings between totally opposite poles like joy and fear, wild passions and violent rages, sudden love and sudden hate. Hate for Dantonio and his clown college beating us for three years in a row. Hate for Rich Rodriguez for only filling our hot air balloons with half fuel and mentioning it after we were 10,000 feet high. Hate for hate sake. Nonetheless, the whole situation, without exaggeration, was like sitting in a traffic jam on the San Diego Freeway with your windows rolled up and no air condition while Portuguese hip hop boomed out of your surround-sound speakers, animals gnawing at our necks and diseased bill collectors hammered on our doors with golf clubs. At least we got Iowa at home the next week and have deflated any lofty invincibility complexes…
Given that the Molotov cocktails (and even SS-20 nuclear missiles) were flying last week, it only made sense to wait until this weekend to put forth the latest edition of the Almanack. Doing so also allowed me to incorporate the statistics from the games played yesterday.
It will be interesting to see how Denard does against Mississippi State's stout defense, ranked 20th in rushing defense and 50th in pass efficiency defense. This, of course, assumes that Denard's dislocated fingers are healed up by then: something I don't take for granted, though he should be ok.
Congratulations to Denard for being named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He also finished the Big Ten season in first place for total offense (conference games only) with 317.5 yards per game. Roy Roundtree led all Big Ten receivers with 83.9 yards per game, and Will Hagerup led all punters with 46.0 yards per punt.
The last Michigan players to lead the Big Ten in those categories? Jim Harbaugh (247.4 YPG in 1986), Mario Manningham (109.8 YPG in 2007), and Zoltan Mesko (45.2 YPG in 2009).
Prefatory Verbiage • New This Week • Week in Review • Record of the Week • QBs as Rushing Champions • QB Rushing, Game • QB Rushing, Season • QB Rushing, Career • Rushing (Any Position) • 200/200 Club • 1500/2000 Club • 1500/1500 Club • 1000/1000 Club • All-Purpose TDs • Total Offense • Total Offense Per Play • Passing Efficiency • Other M Passing • Other M Rushing • Team Offense • Miscellaneous Records • Standard Disclaimers • Acknowledgments • Comments
- Previous editions. Previous editions of this Almanack can be found at the MGoBlog Communist Football page.
- Suggestions are welcome. If you have found an interesting statistic or record that you think I should add to this list, please put it in the comments section and I'll add it to the original post (and give you credit).
- Review the disclaimers. Football has evolved considerably over its 141-year history, much more so than other major sports, and that is important to keep in mind when talking about all-time records. The existence of this diary is not meant to imply that individual achievement is more important than the achievement of the team.
New This Week
New to this week's Almanack is a section on all-purpose touchdowns, which I published after the Wisconsin game as a separate diary. I've also tried to liven up the sesquipedalian text with some historical photos, along with Monumental's remarkable Denard action figure.
Week in Review: Denard Finds A New Way to Get Injured
Statistically speaking, Denard had a pretty good first half against OSU, running for 95 yards and throwing the ball reasonably well against an outstanding pass defense. But he left late in the second quarter with two dislocated fingers, came back for one drive in the second half, and didn't play the rest of the way.
Unlike the Iowa game, where Tate Forcier was able to give M a spark, OSU's talented secondary shut Tate down, and Robinson's running ability was sorely missed. Denard ended up with 105 yards rushing on 18 carries for 5.83 YPC, including a critical red-zone fumble. He also threw for 87 yards on 8/18 attempts and no TDs, for a season-worst QB rating of 85.04.
Hopefully, the break before the bowl game allows Denard to recover fully from his various nicks and bumps.
Of the other prominant dual-threat QBs, Cam Newton cemented his Heisman-leading status by getting absurdly cleared by the NCAA, and rushing for 112 yards and passing for 551 in two impressive victories against Alabama and South Carolina. Colin Kaepernick ran for 45 and threw for 259 in a scintillating upset of Boise State, then ran roughshod over Louisiana Tech with 155 on the ground and 159 through the air. Taylor Martinez missed Nebraska's regular-season finale against Colorado, and got destroyed by Oklahoma's defense in the Big 12 championship game, rushing for minus 32 yards and going 12/24 for 50 yards and an INT through the air.
LaMichael James, Denard's leading rival for the FBS rushing title, ran for 126 against Arizona and 134 against Oregon State, to reclaim the lead in the rushing yardage race. As James' last game will be against Auburn's ferocious defense, Denard has a shot at catching him.
Record of the Week: Michigan Single-Season Rushing (Any Position); Big Ten Single-Season Total Offense; Michigan Single-Season 100-Yard Games; 1500/2500 Club
Denard is 175 yards short of tying Tim Biakabutuka's Michigan single-season rushing record of 1,818 yards, set in 1995. If he manages to stay healthy for an entire game, this record will certainly be within reach. (His 2010 per-game average is 136.9.) He currently sits fifth in Michigan's modern era in single-season rushing yards: the only backs ahead of him are Biakabutuka, Anthony Thomas, Jamie Morris, and Chris Perry. If Denard gains 100 yards in the bowl game, he will have ten 100-yard games on the season, tying a Michigan record held by Jamie Morris.
Our Comrade from Deerfield Beach is 230 yards away from setting the Big Ten single-season total offense record, currently held by Drew Brees with 4,189 yards in 2000. (Denard's 2010 per-game average is 329.9.) Denard currently sits fifth in the Big Ten's modern era in this category.
Denard is 184 yards short of 2,500 passing for the season, which would make him the first person in major college history to throw for 2,500 and run for 1,500 in the same season.
Though his average keeps trickling down, Denard still holds the Michigan career yards-per-carry record with a minimum of 200 attempts, with 6.4 YPC. The previous record had been held by 6.3 YPC by Jon Vaughn (from 1989-1990).
Denard lost his hold of the Michigan career pass-efficiency record with a minimum of 200 attempts, as the Ohio State game brough him down to 146.2. The current record is 148.1 by Elvis Grbac (from 1989-1992), though Elvis had the benefit of a Heisman Trophy-winning receiver. Denard's 146.2 mark is also on pace for fourth all-time in the Big Ten, though he needs 300 completions to qualify for that record (he currently has 169).
Denard remains on pace to break the Michigan single-season total offense per play record, with 8.0 yards per play as of this week. The current record is held by Drew Henson, who recorded 7.9 YPP in 2000.
Quarterbacks as NCAA Rushing Champions
A quarterback has never led the NCAA FBS in rushing yards over a single season. In 1937, the first year in which the NCAA kept official football statistics, Colorado halfback Byron "Whizzer" White led the nation in rushing with 1,121 yards, along with 475 passing yards. (If that wasn't enough, White also went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, played in the NFL for Pittsburgh and Detroit, served in World War II during which he was awarded two Bronze Stars, came back and graduated from Yale Law School, and was appointed by John F. Kennedy to the Supreme Court of the United States.)
This year, Denard could become the first quarterback in history to finish the season as the NCAA rushing champion (by yards gained). He currently has gained 1,643 yards on the ground, 39 yards behind LaMichael James. Bobby Rainey of Western Kentucky has also edged ahead of Denard by 6 yards, but the 2-10 Hilltoppers are not headed to a bowl game this year.
On a yards-per-game basis, James is in first place with 152.9 (Denard has fallen to fourth with 136.9, behind James, Rainey, and Connecticut's Jordan Todman). Personally, I find the YPG statistic to be arbitrary: should Denard be punished because the Bowling Green game was a rout, and LaMichael James be rewarded because he was suspended for one game for pleading guilty to harrassing his ex-girlfriend? FWIW, on a yards-per-carry basis, Denard is well ahead of James.
Here are the top 5 rushers in the country, sorted by yards gained:
|Bobby Rainey||W. Kentucky||340||1,649||4.85||12||135.6||13|
|Lance Dunbar||North Texas||274||1,553||5.67||12||124.6||13|
* - LaMichael James was suspended for Oregon's first game against New Mexico for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Game
Denard currently holds the Michigan and Big Ten records for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game: 258 vs. Notre Dame. The NCAA FBS record is 308, on 22 attempts, by Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois, against Fresno State, on Oct. 6, 1990. The previous Michigan single-game record was held by another #16, Steve Smith, who ran for 147 yards on four carries against Minnesota in 1983.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Season
Denard currently has 1,643 rushing yards in 12 games. This projects to 1,780 over a 13-game schedule. He owns the NCAA FBS (I-A) record, previously set by Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1996 with 1,494 yards. The Big Ten record was previously in the hands of Antwaan Randle-El in 2000 with 1,270 yards. Denard has destroyed the previous Michigan record for QB rushing yards in a season: 674 by Steve Smith in 1981.
Before you get too overwhelmed by all the numbers in this diary, just stop and think about that for a minute. Denard Robinson, your starting Michigan quarterback, playing before your very eyes, is on pace to almost triple a Michigan rushing record. And not just any record, but one that has stood for three decades. Even if you account for the fact that we're playing a very different style of football now—it's just incredible.
Rushing Yards by a QB, Career
There's no point in projecting Denard's career rushing totals, since there are a number of variables (does he stay his senior year? Does a great tailback lighten his rushing load?). But here are the records:
Michigan's career record is held by Rick Leach (1975-1978) at 2,176 yards: a record Denard could break this year, at his current pace. Denard needs 182 yards in the bowl game to take this title. (Guys like Leach and Steve Smith must salivate at what they could have done in the offense of Comrade Rodriguez.) The Big Ten record is Antwaan Randel El's (1998-2001) at 3,895 yards. The NCAA FBS record is held by Pat White (2005-2008) at 4,480 yards.
The NCAA FBS per-game career record is 109.1 yards by Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois, achieved from 1988-1990 over 25 games.
Rushing Records (At Any Position)
For a single game, the Michigan record is 347 by Ron Johnson (pictured) in 1968 against Wisconsin; the Big Ten record is 377 by Anthony Thompson of Indiana in 1989 against Wisconsin; the NCAA FBS record is 406 by LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU in 1999 against UTEP.
For a single season, the Michigan record is 1,818 yards (Tshimanga Biakabutuka, 1995); the Big Ten record is 2,087 yards (Larry Johnson, Penn St., 2002); the NCAA FBS record is 2,628 yards (Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, 1988). Denard can break Touchdown Tim's Michigan record by gaining 176 yards in the bowl game.
That Barry Sanders record will be around for a long time. At one point, Denard was on pace to break Larry Johnson's Big Ten rushing record, but he has slowed down as the schedule has gotten tougher, and that record now looks out of reach for this year.
For a career, the Michigan record is held by Mike Hart (5,040 yards, 2004-2007); the Big Ten record is held by Ron Dayne (7,125 yards, 1996-1999); the NCAA FBS record is also held by Ron Dayne, but they list it as 6,397 yards. (Herschel Walker of Georgia holds the record for a 3-year career at 5,259 yards, set from 1980-1982.)
The 200/200 Club
Denard is the only player in FBS history to gain 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing twice—in regular-season games. To me this is a silly distinction: who cares if it was done in the regular season or a bowl game? If anything, Vince Young's performance in the 2005 Rose Bowl against USC is even more remarkable, given that that USC team is considered one of the most dominant teams of the modern era. Wake me up when Denard gets his third 200/200 game. (He did go for 191/190 against Penn State.)
Anyway, here are the 200/200 games listed in the NCAA record book, sorted by total offense. You'll note that Denard is the only member of the 240/240 club, and Marques Tuiasosopo is the only member of the 200/300 club.
Pictured at right is Penn halfback Francis "Reds" Bagnell, 1950 Heisman Trophy runner-up and great-uncle to MGoComrade Dandaman. Bagnell was the first member of the 200/200 club. It took 36 years for a second player to accomplish the feat.
|Player||Team (Opponent)||Year||Rushing||Passing||Total Off.|
|Marques Tuiasosopo||Washington (Stanford)||1999||207||302||509|
|Vince Young||Texas (Oklahoma St.)||2005||267||239||506|
|Denard Robinson||MICH (Notre Dame)||2010||258||244||502|
|Denard Robinson||MICH (Indiana)||2010||217||277||494|
|Reds Bagnell||Penn (Dartmouth)||1950||214||276||490|
|Brad Smith||Missouri (Nebraska)||2005||246||234||480|
|Brian Mitchell||La.-Lafayette (Colo. St.)||1987||271||205||476|
|Antwaan Randle-El||Indiana (Minnesota)||2000||210||263||473|
|Vince Young||Texas (USC Rose Bowl)||2005||200||267||467|
|Patrick White||W. Va. (Pittsburgh)||2006||220||204||424|
|Steve Gage||Tulsa (New Mexico)||1986||212||209||421|
The 1500/2000 Club
There is one quarterback in college football history—Division I, II, or III—who has both rushed for 1,500 yards and passed for 2,000 yards in the same season.
The 1500/1500 Club
There is one quarterback in major college football history who has both rushed and passed for 1,500 yards in the same season.
The 1000/1000 Club
Johnny Bright, a halfback from Drake, was the first member of the 1000/1000 Club, the same year Reds Bagnell joined the 200/200 Club. In 1951, Wilbanks Smith, a racist defensive tackle from Oklahoma A&M (later Oklahoma State), deliberately broke Bright's jaw, permanently damaging his football career. The incident led the NCAA to mandate the usage of face masks, and earned the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for the photographers who documented the assault. Drake temporarily withdrew from the Missouri Valley Conference to protest the fact that the conference didn't discipline Smith for the attack.
When Bright graduated from Drake in 1951, he held the NCAA career total offense record, with 5,903 yards: a record that stood for 15 years. It took three decades for another player to join the 1000/1000 Club. Tragically, Bright died at the age of 53 of a massive heart attack.
Today, there are 30 quarterbacks (and one halfback) in FBS who have run and thrown for 1000 yards in the same season. Other than Denard, none have both run and passed for 1500 yards (the previous rushing record for QBs is 1,494).
Seven quarterbacks have achieved this milestone multiple times: Brad Smith (thrice), Colin Kaepernick (thrice including this year), Vince Young (twice), Pat White (twice), Beau Morgan (twice), Joe Webb (twice), and Joshua Cribbs (twice). Only two people have joined the 1000/1000 club as freshmen: Brad Smith of Missouri, and Joshua Cribbs of Kent State. Air Force leads the overall list with five different QBs, in six different seasons, in the 1000/1000 club. (It is interesting that an instrument of American capitalist imperialism, the U.S. Air Force Academy, is the premier exponent of communist football.)
The list below of 1000/1000 members is sorted this list by rushing yards. Cameron Newton and Colin Kaepernick have also reached the 1000/1000 mark this season. I've also added 2010 season totals for Taylor Martinez, who may also get there. Newton is also likely to join Denard as a 1500-yard rusher.
|Newton (on pace for)||Auburn||2010||1,517||2,788||4,306|
|Dilithium (on pace for)||MICH||2010||1,780||2,509||4,289|
|Beau Morgan**||Air Force||1996||1,494||1,210||2,704|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2007||1,335||1,724||3,059|
|Dee Dowis||Air Force||1989||1,286||1,285||2,571|
|Beau Morgan||Air Force||1995||1,285||1,165||2,450|
|Antwaan Randle El*||Indiana||2000||1,270||1,783||3,053|
|Johnny Bright (HB)||Drake||1950||1,232||1,168||2,400|
|Chance Herridge||Air Force||2002||1,229||1,062||2,291|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2006||1,219||1,655||2,874|
|Keith Boyea||Air Force||2001||1,216||1,253||2,469|
|Dwight Dasher||Middle Tenn.||2009||1,154||2,789||3,943|
|Dan LeFevour||Central Mich.||2007||1,122||3,652||4,774|
|Joshua Cribbs||Kent State||2002||1,057||1,014||2,071|
|Josh Nesbitt||Ga. Tech||2009||1,037||1,701||2,738|
|Bart Weiss||Air Force||1985||1,032||1,449||2,481|
|Ell Roberson||Kansas St.||2002||1,032||1,580||2,612|
|Brad Smith (Fr.)||Missouri||2002||1,029||2,333||3,362|
|Joshua Cribbs (Fr.)||Kent State||2001||1,019||1,516||2,535|
|Reggie Collier||So. Miss.||1981||1,005||1,004||2,009|
* Previous Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback ** Previous NCAA FBS (I-AA) record for rushing yards by a QB
There are different ways to calculate touchdown records. The Michigan record book tracks touchdowns scored; i.e., the player who has the ball in his hands in the end zone. The NCAA also tracks all-purpose TDs; i.e., the combination of passing touchdowns and touchdowns scored, something that Michigan does not track.
What is interesting is that we actually do have game-by-game accounts of touchdowns scored going back to the beginnings of Michigan football in 1879. As a result, Michigan does track touchdowns scored on an all-time basis, and not just for the modern era. The all-time Michigan record for touchdowns scored is held by Al Herrnstein, who scored 26 touchdowns in 1902.
In order to look at all-purpose touchdowns, I had to go back and look at individual season statistics to compile the data. I actually went through the game-by-game accounts of the 1901-1905 seasons from the Michigan Alumnus in order to get accurate information about touchdown statistics in the Fielding Yost "point-a-minute" era, and reviewed old NCAA research on pre-1937 touchdown statistics. It's possible that there are other pre-WWII players that I've missed.
According to the stats I've been able to find, Robinson is indeed out front with 30 all-purpose touchdowns, more than any player in the 121-year history of Michigan football. On a per-game basis, Denard at 2.50 per game is second only to Tom Harmon, who scored 23 touchdowns (including a kickoff return and an interception return) over 8 games in 1940, for an average of 2.88. (Harmon also scored 2.50 touchdowns per game in 1939, though over 8 games compared to Denard's 12.) The only asterisk is that I don't have information on passing touchdowns for the Yost-era teams.
Here is the table, sorted by touchdowns per game, with a cutoff of 1.60. Remarkably, the 1901 team had three separate players score at that pace:
|Name||Yr.||Pass TD||Rush TD||Rec TD||Kick TD||Int TD||TD||G||TD/G|
|Tom Harmon, LHB||1940||7||14||0||1||1||23||8||2.88|
|Denard Robinson, QB||2010||16||14||0||0||0||30||12||2.50|
|Tom Harmon, RHB||1939||6||13||0||0||1||20||8||2.50|
|Rick Leach, QB||1978||17||12||0||0||0||29||12||2.42|
|Al Herrnstein, RHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||26||11||2.36|
|Steve Smith, QB||1981||15||12||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Chad Henne, QB||2004||25||2||0||0||0||27||12||2.25|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1904||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||9||2.22|
|Drew Henson, QB||2000||18||2||0||0||0||20||9||2.22|
|Ron Johnson, RHB||1968||0||19||0||0||0||19||9||2.11|
|Steve Smith, QB||1983||13||10||0||0||0||23||11||2.09|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1991||25||0||0||0||0||25||12||2.08|
|Chad Henne, QB||2005||23||1||0||0||0||24||12||2.00|
|John Navarre, QB||2003||24||0||1||0||0||25||13||1.92|
|Rick Leach, QB||1976||13||10||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Steve Smith, QB||1982||14||9||0||0||0||23||12||1.92|
|Desmond Howard, SE||1991||0||2||19||2||0||23||12||1.92|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||20||11||1.82|
|Bob Chappuis, LHB||1947||15||5||0||0||0||20||11||1.82|
|John Navarre, QB||2002||21||2||0||0||0||23||13||1.77|
|Elvis Grbac, QB||1990||21||0||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Tom Brady, QB||1999||20||1||0||0||0||21||12||1.75|
|Neil Snow, FB||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||19||11||1.73|
|Bruce Shorts, RT||1901||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||17||10||1.70|
|Chad Henne, QB||2006||22||0||0||0||0||22||13||1.69|
|Willie Heston, LHB||1902||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||15||9||1.67|
Note that Bruce Shorts scored 17 TDs as an offensive lineman: now those were the days!
The NCAA FBS (I-A) single-season record is 63 touchdowns, by Colt Brennan of Hawaii in 2006 (58 passing, 5 rushing). The per-game record is 5.0 in 1990, by David Klingler of Houston (55 TDs in 11 games).
The FBS single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 27, by Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009 (in 14 games). The season record for most touchdowns scored (i.e., excluding TD passes thrown) is 39, by Barry Sanders in 1988 over 11 games.
Tim Tebow and Cameron Newton are the only players to have both thrown and run for 20 touchdowns: in 2007, Tebow threw for 32 and ran for 23, and Newton has thrown for 28 and run for 20, with one game left. (Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan threw for 27, ran for 19, and caught 1 in 2007.)
The Michigan career record for most touchdowns scored is held by Yost-era legend Willie Heston, with 69 from 1901-1904 (the Michigan record book lists Heston at 72 TDs, which is incorrect according to my game-by-game tally). The Michigan record for most all-purpose touchdowns is held by Chad Henne, who threw for 87 and ran for 3 (for a total of 90) from 2004-2007. If Denard plays through his senior season, there is a realistic chance that he could break Henne's record.
Here is the team photo of the all-time great team of 1901, courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library. Al Herrnstein is the right-most player in the front row. Neil Snow is the second from the left in the middle row. Willie Heston is right-most in the middle row. Fielding Yost is in the center of the back row. The "501-0" football that captain Hugh White is holding reflects the fact that this picture was taken before the team beat Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl game of 1902. The lopsided score so disappointed Rose Bowl officials that they didn't hold a second Rose Bowl game until 1916.
Denard already owns the Michigan single-game total offense record (502 yards against Notre Dame). In fact, Denard has broken the old Michigan single-game total offense record four times this year, with games of 502, 494, 383, and 381 yards. (The previous record was 368 by John Navarre against Iowa in 2003.) Against Illinois and Wisconsin, Denard almost broke this record again, gaining 367 and 360 yards respectively: giving him six of the seven highest totals in Michigan history.
|Denard Robinson||Notre Dame||2010||258||244||502|
|Denard Robinson||Penn State||2010||191||190||381|
As noted above, Denard has annihilated John Navarre's single-season total offense record of 3,240 in 2003 (Denard has 3,959 as of today, and projects to an astounding 4,289 yards over 13 games).
The Big Ten single-game total offense record is 585 yards by Dave Wilson of Illinois, vs. Ohio State in 1980. The Big Ten single-season total offense record is 4,189 yards by Drew Brees of Purdue in 2000, which is well within Denard's reach. Denard has to gain 231 yards of total offense in the bowl game to pass Brees; he is currently averaging 330.
The NCAA total offense records are dominated by prolific passers. Those records appear to be unattainable by Denard: 732 yards for a single game (David Klingler, Houston vs. Arizona State, 1990); 5,976 for a season (B.J. Symons, Texas Tech, 2003); 16,910 for a career (Timmy Chang, Hawaii, 2000-2004).
Total Offense Per Play
As with total offense records, these will be tough for Denard to keep pace with, and his performances against Big Ten opponents have left him further behind the pace. Through Saturday, Denard has 3,959 yards of total offense in 495 plays, for an average of 8.0. This would be a Michigan single-season record: the current record is held by Drew Henson, who in 2000 gained 2,140 yards on 270 plays for an average of 7.9.
Here are the NCAA FBS records for a single game: 14.3 by Jason Martin (La. Tech vs. Toledo, 1996) in 37 plays and 9.9 by David Klingler (Houston vs. TCU, 1990) in 63 plays. Denard came pretty close to Martin in the Indiana game, where in 35 plays he averaged 14.1 yards per play (which is almost certainly a Michigan and quite likely a Big Ten record):
|Denard Robinson||Attempts + Carries||Total Offense||Yards per Play|
|NCAA Records||Attempts + Carries||Total Offense||Yards per Play|
|Game: Jason Martin (La. Tech vs. Toledo, 1996)||37||529||14.30|
|Game: David Klingler (Houston vs. TCU, 1990)||63||625||9.92|
|Season: Colt Brennan (Hawaii, 2006)||645||5,915||9.17|
|Career: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-09)||970||8,439||8.70|
As you can see in the table, for a single season (minimum 3,000 yards), the record is 9.2 by Colt Brennan (Hawaii, 2006). For a career (minimum 7,500 yards) it's 8.7 by Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-2009).
Passing efficiency is a statistic that rewards quarterbacks for yards, touchdowns, and completions per attempt, and punishes them for interceptions per attempt. The NCAA formula, which differs from the NFL one, is:
(8.4 * yards) + (330 * TDs) - (200 * INTs) + (100 * completions) ________________________________________________________________ attempts
Denard's 2010 passing efficiency is currently 152.9; his career efficiency (including last year) is 146.2, which is within reach of a Michigan record. Here are Michigan's pass efficiency records:
- Highest efficiency rating, season (min. 100 attempts): 173.3 (Bob Chappuis, 1947) (Denard is at 152.9, good for 7th all-time)
- Highest efficiency rating, career (min. 200 attempts): 148.1 (Elvis Grbac, 1989-1992) (Denard is at 146.2 for his career, good for 2nd all-time and on pace for 4th all-time in the Big Ten)
Bob Chappuis' Michigan single-season mark is also the Big Ten single-season record. (That’s him on the right. Check out that throwing motion.) The NCAA FBS pass efficiency record belongs to Colt Brennan of Hawaii, who reached 186.0 in 2006: out of Denard's reach.
Other Michigan Passing Records
At the end of 2009, here were some of the other Michigan passing records. Denard could break some of the completion percentage records (Tate broke one as well):
- Highest completion percentage, game (min. 10 attempts): 92.3% (Jim Harbaugh, vs. Purdue, 1985, 13 attempts) (Broken by Tate Forcier, 100% in 12 attempts, vs. Bowling Green)
- Highest completion percentage, game (min. 20 attempts): 90.9% (Elvis Grbac, vs. Notre Dame, 1991, 22 attempts) (Denard is 2nd with 86.3% on 22 attempts vs. Connecticut)
- Highest completion percentage, season (min. 100 attempts): 65.3% (Todd Collins, 1992) (Denard is at 62.0%)
- Highest completion percentage, career (min. 200 attempts): 64.3% (Todd Collins, 1991-1994) (Denard is at 60.1% with 281 attempts, on pace for 5th all-time)
- Yards per completion, game (min. 5 completions): Rick Leach, 36.3 vs. Purdue, 1975 (Denard's best is 30.5 with 10 completions vs. Illinois, good for 3rd all-time)
- Yards per completion, game (min. 10 completions): Jim Harbaugh, 30.0 vs. Indiana, 1986 (Broken by Denard Robinson, 30.5 YPC vs. Illinois with 10 completions)
- Yards per completion, season (min. 60 completions): Bob Chappuis, 18.8, 1947 (Denard is at 14.9, on pace for 8th all-time)
- Yards per completion, career (min. 120 completions): Rick Leach, 17.1, 1975-1978 (Denard is at 14.8, good for 8th all-time)
Other Michigan Rushing Records
At the end of 2009, here were the other relevant Michigan rushing records. On average yards per carry, he owns one of the single-game records Michigan tracks, but is surprisingly far from the other ones (not that that couldn't change in a hurry). The single-season and career records are within reach:
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 5 carries): 25.80, Denard Robinson vs. Bowling Green (previous record was Leroy Hoard, 18.28 ypc vs. Indiana, 1988)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 10 carries): 18.00, Rob Lytle vs. MSU, 1976 (Denard: 11.42 vs. Indiana on 19 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 15 carries): 15.70, Tyrone Wheatley vs. Washington, 1993 Rose Bowl (Denard: 11.42 vs. Indiana on 19 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-game (min. 20 carries): 11.19, Ron Johnson vs. Wisconsin, 1968 (Denard: 9.21 vs. Notre Dame on 28 carries)
- Average gain per rush, single-season (min. 75 carries): 7.34, Tyrone Wheatley, 1992 (Denard 2010: 6.71, on pace for 4th all-time)
- Average gain per rush, career (min. 200 carries): 6.29, Jon Vaughn, 1989-1990 (Denard: 6.35 on 296 carries, on pace for 1st all-time)
- 100-yard rushing games, season: 10, Jamie Morris, 1987 (Denard has 9)
- 150-yard rushing games, season: 6, Anthony Thomas, 2000 (Denard has 4)
- 200-yard rushing games, season: 3, Mike Hart, 2004 (Denard has 2)
Also, Denard is one of 5 quarterbacks in NCAA history to record 5 consecutive 100-yard rushing games (the others are Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009, Joe Webb of Alabama-Birmingham in 2009, Brian Madden of Navy in 1999, and Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1995). No one has done it 6 times in a row.
Michigan is averaging 500.9 yards per game in total offense, second-highest in Big Ten history? (First place belongs to Penn State's 1994 team, which averaged 512.7 yards per game.) If you take out the 72 extra yards Michigan gained in the three overtimes against Illinois, Michigan is averaging 495.0 yards per game, which would be fifth all-time.
This year's team is on pace to demolish the old Michigan total offense record of 466.9, set in 1992, when Gary Moeller roamed the sidelines, barking orders to Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard, and Tyrone Wheatley.
|Big Ten All-Time Leaders||Year||YPG (Total Offense)|
|1. MICH (including overtime)||2010||514.6|
|1. Penn State||1994||512.7|
|3. Ohio State||1998||497.6|
|4. Michigan State||2005||497.3|
|5. MICH (regulation only)||2010||495.0|
|8. Ohio State||1974||493.2|
|9. Ohio State||1996||490.4|
|10. Michigan State||1978||481.3|
|11. Ohio State||1995||478.6|
|Michigan All-Time Leaders (QB/WR/RB)||Year||YPG (Total Offense)|
|1. Robinson / Roundtree / Smith (regulation)||2010||495.0|
|2. Grbac / Howard / Wheatley||1992||466.9|
|3. Navarre / Edwards / Perry||2003||446.7|
|4. Henson / Terrell / Thomas||2000||446.1|
|5. Grbac / Howard / Vaughn||1990||432.5|
In terms of scoring offense, Michigan is averaging 34.3 points per game in regulation (32.5 points per game including the overtime scoring), stats that lag the total offense by yardage due to our terrible kicking and defense. The 7-point output against Ohio State brought the season average outside of Michigan's top 10 all-time teams.
* - Excludes points scored in overtime
The Fielding Yost "point-a-minute" teams averaged 50.5, 58.5, 47.1, 56.7, and 38.1 points per game from 1901 to 1905. Fritz Crisler's 1947 national championship team of Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott, nicknamed the "Mad Magicians," averaged 39.4. (The official Michigan record book erroneously lists the 1947 average as second-highest in school history; it is missing the performances of 1901, 1903, 1904, and 1905.)
Dynamic offenses have been few and far between in the postwar era. The 1976 Bo Schembechler team, led by Rick Leach and Rob Lytle, scored 36.0 points per game, and owns the rushing season record with 345.3 yards per game. The aforementioned 1992 team averaged 35.9 points; and the 2003 team averaged 35.4.
Here are some other stats:
- Michigan is averaging 7.0 yards per play, which is most all-time in Michigan history (the existing record is 6.4 yards, in 1992 and 1947).
- Michigan is averaging 251.1 rushing yards per game (inclusive of OT; 248.7 regulation-only). (The Big Ten record is 349.9 in 1974 by Ohio State; the Michigan record is 345.3 in 1976.)
- Michigan is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, second-highest in Michigan history (the current record is 5.9 per carry in 1976).
- Michigan is averaging 255.5 passing yards per game (inclusive; 252.0 regulation-only), 3rd all-time in Michigan history. (The record is 270.8 in 2003.)
- Michigan is averaging 23.5 first downs per game (inclusive; 23.3 regulation-only), second-highest in Michigan history. (The current record is 23.9 in 2003.) Over 13 games, this would be the sixth-highest total in Big Ten history.
As most of you know, against Illinois, Roy Roundtree destroyed a 44-year-old Michigan single-game receiving record, by gaining 246 yards (on 9 catches with 2 TDs). The old record was set in 1966, when Jack Clancy (pictured) gained 197 yards against Oregon State.
Roundtree's mark wouldn't even make the top ten all-time in the Big Ten: the Big Ten record is 301 by Chris Daniels of Purdue against MSU in 1999; the NCAA record is 405 by Troy Edwards of Louisiana Tech against Nebraska in 1998.
- Wins are more important than stats. The existence of this diary is not meant to imply that individual achievement is more important than the achievement of the team. It is, instead, to pay tribute to Denard's exceptional individual achievement within the context of a (hopefully) successful team. With a few minor exceptions, Denard's stats don't come at the expense of the team: when he rushes for 250 yards or has a QB rating of 270, the team is usually doing well. If you object to this point of view, you don't have to read further.
- Past performance is not a predictor of future results. To the degree I describe end-of-season projections for Denard, I do so simply, rather than Mathletically: (current total) * (13-game season) / (games played to date). As we saw through the season, Denard's projections came down as the defenses got stronger.
- Projections are for a 13-game season. Beginning in 2002, the NCAA revised its single-season and career records to include postseason games. Michigan, with its defeat of the Illini, is set to go to a bowl game this year.
- The quarterback position has evolved significantly. The forward pass was only formally legalized in 1906. From the 1910s until the 1950s, the most common college football formation was Pop Warner's single-wing, in which the quarterback's role was primarily as a blocker, and most passes were thrown by a tailback or halfback. The idea of a quarterback as the primary passer began to take hold after World War II, when coaches such as Clark Shaughnessy at Chicago and Stanford and Paul Brown at Ohio State took advantage of a recently redesigned football that was easier to throw, and married the ancient T formation to the threat of longer passes downfield.
- The record books are murky from 1869 to 1937. Something to keep in mind is that the record books don't actually go back that far in time. At the national level, official statistics have only been recorded since 1937: a mere 52 percent of college football's history. Indeed, the first rules for compiling football statistics were formulated prior to the 1941 season by an NCAA committee headed by Fielding Yost. (College football has been around since 1869.) One has to assume that Yost's point-a-minute teams would have harbored some record-producing players, though the game was quite different then, as noted above. So, to be as precise as possible, we should describe all of these records as modern-era, postwar records.
- Post-1978 records are for Division I-A only. Let me note that all the records here are for Division I-A (FBS), but do include all Division I records prior to the I-A / I-AA split in 1978. I don't really care about who did what in the other divisions, given the inferior level of competition. Personally, I would prefer to eliminate the non-automatically qualifying BCS conferences, but since the NCAA doesn't do that, I won't.
- Post-1996 overtime and pre-1912 scoring rules skew historical comparisons. The NCAA introduced overtime to I-A football in 1996, and soon after determined that points and yards gained in overtime would count toward NCAA records. Given that teams and players did not have the benefit of overtime prior to 1996, I try wherever possible to exclude overtime stats (or at least give both sets of numbers). The modern convention of TDs worth 6 points (+1 PAT) and FGs worth 3 began in 1912. From 1869 to 1882, touchdowns, extra points, and field goals were all worth one point each. From 1882-1883, TDs were worth 2, PATs 4, and FGs 5; from 1884-1897, TDs 4, PATs 2, FGs 5; from 1898-1903, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 5; from 1904-1908, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 4; from 1901-1911, TDs 5, PATs 1, FGs 3. The two-point conversion was introduced in 1958. I currently don't have the breakdown of TDs, PATs, and FGs for the Yost teams; if anyone else does, I would be pleased to adjust those numbers accordingly so as to make apples-to-apples comparisons with modern teams. The rules of college football evolved rapidly from 1879 to 1930, making strict comparisons difficult. For example, the goal posts were moved from the goal line to the end line (10 yards back of the goal line) only in 1927, which has a huge impact on field goal kicking, and the width of the uprights has varied significantly over time.
Thanks to Comrade tf (Michigan rushing single-game record) and danieljpaul (Denard's season totals) for corrections. H/T to tubauberalles and enlightenedbum for tracking down the FBS single-game QB rushing record. Comrades Raoul and UM in VA persuaded me to post the total offense numbers, and pointed out Denard's ridiculous per-play stats, which I also added to the diary. Trebor pointed out that we should keep an eye on the impressive seasons of Taylor Martinez and Cam Newton. Comrade U of M in TX helped identify a few updating errors. Raoul also suggested putting in the team offense stats. Hillhaus pointed out that I should discuss the pre-1912 scoring conventions. Raoul and BigHouseInmate suggested I look into Michigan's all-purpose touchdown records, which ended up being a lot of fun. And finally, thanks to all of you for enjoying the Almanack each week. That's what makes it worth my while.