As you know, I diarize weekly on the subject of Denard Robinson's record-setting season. At the suggestion of Comrade Raoul, I thought I would add some research on some of the team offense records that this year's Wolverines are chasing, especially given that some of our fellow MGoProletarians are arguing that Michigan's offense is "inconsistent."
Did you know that Michigan is averaging 518.4 yards per game in total offense, higher than any other team in Big Ten history? (Second place belongs to Penn State's 1994 team, which averaged 512.7 yards per game.) 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)|
|2. Penn State||1994||512.7|
|4. Ohio State||1998||497.6|
|5. Michigan State||2005||497.3|
|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||2010||518.4|
|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|
Here are some other impressive stats:
- Michigan is averaging 7.4 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 35.1 points per game, good for 10th all-time in Michigan history, and the fourth-highest Michigan total in 63 years.
- Michigan is averaging 275.5 rushing yards per game, 6th all-time in Big Ten history and 3rd all-time in Michigan history. (The Big Ten record is 349.9 in 1974 by Ohio State; the Michigan record is 345.3 in 1976.)
- Michigan is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, higher than any other Michigan team in history (the current record is 5.9 per carry in 1976).
- Michigan is averaging 246.1 passing yards per game, 3rd all-time in Michigan history. (The record is 270.8 in 2003.)
- Michigan is averaging 23.1 first downs per game, second-highest in Michigan history. (The record is 23.9 in 2003.)
None of this is to excuse the performance on the defensive side of the ball -- but merely to remind people that our offense as a unit is one of the best Michigan has ever fielded.
As noted above, this year's team is averaging 35.1 points per game, one of Michigan's best in recent memory. But 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.
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.
The difference between the Rodriguez offense and the previous two is that for Carr and Moeller, an all-time offense came around once or twice a decade, when there was a unique confluence of talent at every position. If Rodriguez is allowed to stay on, there is every reason to believe that this offense will get even better next year and the year after.
By all means, fix the defense, using whatever means necessary. But let's not send our offense back into the Dust Age. The Hegelian dialectic tells us that only Spread and Shred can lead us to a workers' paradise.