Heading into the home stretch.. the statistics story so far

Submitted by CollegeFootball13 on November 14th, 2011 at 12:50 AM


So with two games left, home contests against Nebraska and Ohio State, we know Michigan will finish the regular season 8-4 at worst and 10-2 at best. 

I think most of us would have been happy with being 8-2 after 10 at the beginning of the season, my pre-season prediction was 8-4, so I have to tell myself I can't be very disappointed no matter what happens to finish the season.

There's no doubt, however, that Michigan has been a pretty bi-polar team this season. Impressive wins over some decent teams and a couple of poor performances in our losses leave many fans wondering how good this team really is. I think we'll find out for sure in the next few weeks, but who wants to wait that long? Here's a statistical breakdown of the season so far:


All stats are based on the last 9 games, the game against Western doesn't officially count.


Total Offense:
 Denard Robinson- 1,611 yds passing, 864yds rushing, 275 total YPG (24th Overall, 1st in B1G)

Passing YPG: Denard Robinson- 99/189, 179ypg, 13 TDS, 13 INTs (71st Overall, 5th in B1G)
Passing Efficiency: Denard Robinson- 132.92 rtng (57th overall, 5th in B1G)

Receiving YPG:
Junior Hemingway- 27rec, 520yds, 19.3ypc, 1 TD (NR)
Jeremy Gallon- 23rec, 391yds, 17.0ypc, 2 TDs (NR)
Roy Roundtree- 14rec, 278yds, 19.9ypc, 2 TDs (NR)

Rushing YPG:
Denard Robinson- 151car, 864yds, 12 TDs, 5.7YPC, 96.0YPG (32nd Overall, 5th in B1G)
Fitzgerald Toussaint- 114car, 673yds, 5 TDs, 5.9YPC, 84.1 YPG (48th Overall, 6th in B1G)

Passing: 200.4ypg, 15TDs, 14INTs (84th Overall, 7th in B1G)
Rushing: 235.9ypg, 22TDs (11th Overall, 2nd in B1G)
Total Offense: 436.3ypg, 6.48 yards per play (33rd Overall, 3rd in B1G)
Scoring: 32.3ppg, 38TDs, 8 FGs (37th Overall, 3rd in B1G)
Turnovers lost: 19, 14 INTs (111th), 5 fumbles lost (9th) (T-78th Overall, 11th in B1G)
Red Zone Offense: 44 drives, 27 TDs, 8 FGs, 80% (T-69th Overall, 7th in B1G)

Not exactly the powerhouse that we were last year, but we have the 5th and 6th best rushers in the Big Ten in Denard and Fitzgerald. Denard is obviously not much of a passing quarterback and he gets a lot of flack for it, but with his legs factored in he's still the most productive player in the Big Ten. Toussaint is looking like the running back of the future. Our lack of a passing game means we don't have any receivers that stand out nationally, with none falling in the top 100. Our turnovers have been brutal this season, with our 14 INTs landing us 111th in the country. After a great start to the season in the red zone, we've fallen to an 80% in red zone scoring, putting us in the bottom half of the B1G. 

All in all, not as impressive as many of us were hoping for, but plenty of glimmers of hope, the most productive player in the Big Ten, and a solid ground game make it a pretty decent season so far.

Offensive Grade: B



Passes Defended: 
JT Floyd- 6 PBU's, 2 INTs, .89 passes defended per game (T-78th Overall, 2nd in B1G)
Forced Fumbles: Thomas Gordon- 2FF (T-68th Overall, 4th in B1G)
Fumbles Recovered:
Thomas Gordon- 4FR (T-2nd Overall, 1st in B1G)
Jake Ryan- 2 FR (T-31st Overall, T-4th in B1G)

Passing Defense: 191.3ypg, 6.47ypa, 9 TDs, 6 INTs (22nd Overall, 6th in B1G)
Rushing Defense: 130.9ypg, 4.01ypc, 9 TDs (41st Overall, 5th in B1G)
Total Defense: 322.2ypg, 5.18yds per play, 19TDs (17th Overall, 6th in B1G)
Scoring Defense: 19TDs, 4 FGs, 16.1ppg (7th Overall, 3rd in B1G)
Turnovers Forced: 20, 6 INTs (T-94th), 14 FR (T-5th) (T-28th Overall, 2nd in B1G)
Sacks: 19 sacks, 2.11 per game (44th Overall, 6th in B1G)
Red Zone Defense: 27 drives, 16 TDs, 2 FGs, 67% (1st Overall, 1st in B1G)

First of all, we have the best red zone defense in the country!? I would not have guessed that. Second of all, the Big Ten is a defensive juggernaut of a conference. When we're 22nd in the country in passing defense and that's only good for 6th in the Big Ten, that's pretty ridiculous. But seeing that we're 17th nationally in total defense and that five other Big Ten teams are still ahead of us (MSU, Wisky, PSU, Illinois and OSU)  is just obscene. There's not even a major statistic that our defense is outside the top 50 in (we're also 39th in 3rd down defense and 20th in 4th down defense). I think if you told me our defense would be this good a year ago I would have slapped you. We're lacking in interceptions but dominating in fumble recoveries. I love Greg Mattison and I love this defense.

Defensive Grade: A-

Special Teams

Will Hagerup- 21 punts, 49 long, 35.8avg (NR)
Kicking: Brendan Gibbons- 8/11, 38 long, 37/37 XP (55th Overall, 6th in B1G)
Punt Returns: Jeremy Gallon- 14ret, 11.43ypr (18th Overall, 2nd in B1G)

Punt Returns: 16ret, 160yds, 10.0avg (39th Overall, 4th in B1G)
Punt Return D: 16ret, 142yds, 8.88ypr (78th Overall, 10th in B1G)
Net Punting: 33 punts, 37.73avg, 16ret, 8.8ypr, 32.82 net avg (112th Overall, 12th in B1G)
Kickoff Returns: 20ret, 388yds, 19.4ypr (102nd Overall, 10th in B1G)
Kickoff Return D: 37ret, 708yds, 19.1ypr (23rd Overall, 3rd in B1G)
Turnover Margin: 20 gained, 19 lost, +1 (51st Overall, 7th in B1G)
Penalties: 40 penalties, 39.22yds per game (T-12th Overall, 2nd in B1G)

Not really sure what to make of this. Pretty disheartening to see that we're one of the worst net punting teams in the nation, one of the worst kick return teams in the nation, and one of the worst punt return defense teams in the nation. It is, however, encouraging to see Gallon in the top 20 punt returners in the country, and our penalties are under control. Gibbons is Gibbons, and 8/11 is pretty good compared to last year. Still, I feel like Special Teams aren't a priority on this team.

Special Teams Grade: C+


So our offense has been a little underwhelming, our defense has been an extremely pleasant surprise, and our special teams have been business as usual, sadly. But that's just what the numbers say. What do you say?



November 14th, 2011 at 1:26 AM ^

Interesting that 22nd in the country in pass defense is only 6th in the Big10, but the ineptitude of Big10 offenses this season has to be a big part of that.  5/6ths of the teams in this league don't have a decent QB.  Outside of Russell Wilson and Cousins, no QB is that good, and even those two aren't that good.


November 14th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

I do think that the question bears considering.  Is, as the OP states:

...[T]he Big Ten is a defensive juggernaut of a conference. 

Or are the offenses just bad.  I think that it goes beyond passing defense though.  Look at the stats (I've pulled the categories where Michigan is top 30 nationally from above):

Passing Defense: 191.3ypg, 6.47ypa, 9 TDs, 6 INTs (22nd Overall, 6th in B1G) Total Defense: 322.2ypg, 5.18yds per play, 19TDs (17th Overall, 6th in B1G) Scoring Defense: 19TDs, 4 FGs, 16.1ppg (7th Overall, 3rd in B1G) 
Turnovers Forced: 20, 6 INTs (T-94th), 14 FR (T-5th) (T-28th Overall, 2nd in B1G)
Red Zone Defense: 27 drives, 16 TDs, 2 FGs, 67% (1st Overall, 1st in B1G)

There is, of course, a chicken -- egg quandry.  Are the offenses bad because the defenses are great, or are the defenses good because the offenses are terrible?  On offense, it looks like there is about 1 B1G team in each ten teams or so.  (just staring at the data in the OP)  I could see two ways of answering this.  Compare the B1G to the SEC/P12/B12/etc...how do they compare on offense and defense this season.  How many teams does the SEC have in the top 30 of the different statistical categories compared to the B1G?  Another way to answer this would be to compare the rankings from past few seasons.  Is it common to have 6 or 7 B1G teams in the top 30 nationally for defense and offense?

It just seems like we are jumping a bit quickly on this conclusion.


November 14th, 2011 at 2:23 AM ^

I put this in another thread but figure it makes more sense here, so here goes:


2010:: Total: 8, Scoring: 25, FEI: 2

2011:: Total: 40, Scoring: 37, FEI: 17

Our youthful inexperience has been replaced by transitional inexperience - so we still are inconsistent and turnover-ridden.

The FEI is most indicative I think - we went from an O with the potential to be great (if we had any kind of ST and D) to one that is just very good. I think after Borges was hired, this is sort of where we expected to be offensively - a step back, but not disastrously.


2010:: Total: 110, Scoring: 107, FEI: 108

2011:: Total: 16, Scoring: 5, FEI: 17

Mattison == Awesome. Last year, I said that I thought our D played worse than the personnel. Nevertheless, even if they were being outcoached by say, twenty teams in FEI, and the extra year of experience is good for another twenty teams - Mattison still improved the baseline by about 50 ranks. The defense is now as good as the offense.

These leave me very hopeful for 2012 - we graduate big-time contributors (Molk on O, the tackles on D) but we still return a ton of people (10 on O, 7/8 on D), and the O should (FINALLY) cut down on the turnovers and inconsistency (We're finally going to have the same QB and the same system for two years in a row)

I may be wearing rose tinted glasses - but WATCH OUT, 'BAMA!


November 14th, 2011 at 7:15 AM ^

If we lose to 'Bama, and 2/3 of ND, Nebraska, and Ohio and one other B1G game, I'd be ok with it. But not happy. The way those games are spread out instead of all stacked up near each other, I think we should do better. And other than Nebraska, our only intra-divisional road game is to Minnesota. 9 wins and a B1G West 'ship are achievable goals for us next year.


November 14th, 2011 at 9:10 AM ^

Because of the continued improvement on D. But I'd be lying if I said I won't be disappointed if this team doesn't win another B10 game, thus losing to O, N, and S. I can't really feel happy about anything less than two out of three in those games -- that's still very much within reach, as is successfully defending Michigan Stadium. This team has a realistic shot at an 11-2 season, which would be an incredible accomplishment. Not quite 24-12 territory, but still monumental.