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The pace and field position of this game set up perfectly for Michigan. Despite giving away a possession to Purdue on the on-side kick, Michigan actually had the advantage in expected points in this game, 28 to 27. A pretty even game all around on the field position and the number of drives. Purdue had an extra possession but Michigan had better field position, helped by a rare +1 in the turnover margin for the game. Both teams had about the same opportunity and did the same things with them, 5 TD's and a field goal each. Obviously the missed PAT provided the difference.Rushing Offense
The way these two teams have been playing, this could be anything from
a huge advantage for M or Purdue, or it could be a total draw. There
doesn't appear to be much consistency to either of these units.
It turned out to be a huge advantage for Michigan. Only two teams in the country did better than a +13 on the ground last Saturday and none of them were from the Big 6 conferences. Minor posted an opponent adjusted +7, the 10th best performance in the country. Even after adjusting for quality of opposition, this performance was just behind Iowa and the 2nd best rushing performance in Big 10 play this year. A lot of positives for the ground game this weekend.Passing Offense
It does not appear that there is much in the past several games that
indicates Purdue being a team Michigan can significantly exploit
through the air.
Although not a huge volume through the air or anything particularly spectacular, no team this year has created more points/play in the passing game against Purdue than Michigan did on Saturday. Northwestern and Toledo both had solid games in the air against Purdue, but both did on 47 and 67 plays, respectively. Michigan produced 5 points of value on only 28 attempts, its best performance through the air since opening
week against Western.
This appears to be as good of a chance as Michigan is going to have to shut down a running game the rest of the season.
I don't know if shut down is the right word to describe what Michigan's run defense did on Saturday, but after the hemorrhaging that was our run defense against Illinois, this was a solid but not spectacular bounce back.
<bad news>Pass Defense
How Purdue's passing attack fares could swing the game as there has
been 4 touchdowns worth of variance in their performance this year in
Big 10 play alone.
After showing glimpses of disaster all Big 10 season, the Michigan pass defense finally put together a full show this weekend. It's a good thing Michigan got the two picks or this number would have really been ugly. Special Teams
Make a 51 yard field goal, miss an extra point. In a game in which Michigan did a lot of things well it was obviously the negatives that ended up winning out. After a much better than expected start to the season, Michigan kicking game finally was an issue. The missed PAT was obviously a difference in the game and all in all, Michigan posted its first negative kicking game of the season, one of only 6 teams in the country to make it this far without a negative performance from their place kicker.
Overall, however ,the special teams were outstanding. The final result was a +5 for the game after outstanding results from all of the other four units. In totality, this was Michigan's best special teams performance of the season.Conclusions?
Somehow I feel much better about the team after writing this than I did at noon on Saturday (post-game out here on the west coast). Great performance from the running game, solid game through the air, rush defense that wasn't a sieve and quality results in the return game.
There are always two types of outcomes to look back at a football game for. The W or L coutcome. Obviously in that regard Saturday was a failure. The other outcome is how did you perform? So many facets of the team performed as well as they have all season on Saturday. But we also saw how one unit can ruin it for the rest of the class and man, we lost to Purdue at home for the first time since the days of Sterling Cooper and that really sucks. So in other words, I don't know what to say.