The Statistical Almanack of Dilithium - 10/6/10

Submitted by Communist Football on October 6th, 2010 at 4:06 PM

[Ed: bump for wow.]

There have been numerous threads on MGoBoard about Denard's assault on the record books. In order to minimize the obligatory complaining about multiple threads, I thought I would consolidate all of the requisite information in this diary.  I will update it after every game.  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).

Denard is rightly focused on winning, and not on his stats. But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't enjoy his remarkable statistical achievements, while also rooting for the team to win. We haven't had a player who could challenge for NCAA offensive records at Michigan in a long, long time.

Let me note that all the records here are for Division I-A (FBS). I don't really care about who did what in the other divisions, given the inferior level of competition. Something to keep in mind is that the record books don't seem to go back before World War II; it's not clear how rigorously school, conference, and NCAA records were kept before then. One has to assume that Fielding Yost's point-a-minute teams would have harbored some record-producing players (though the game was quite different then; the forward pass was only formally legalized in 1906). So, to be as precise as possible, we should describe all of these records as modern-era records.

So, here goes:

Record of the Week

Here's an interesting one: if Denard rushes for 100 yards against Sparty, he will be the first quarterback in NCAA FBS history to rush for at least 100 yards in 6 consecutive games. Five quarterbacks, including Denard, have run for at least 100 yards in 5 consecutive games, but no one has done it in 6:

  • Beau Morgan, Air Force, 1995
  • Brian Madden, Navy, 1999
  • Joe Webb, UAB, 2009
  • Ricky Dobbs, Navy, 2009
  • Denard Robinson, MICH, 2010

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. 

Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Season

Denard currently has 905 rushing yards in 5 games. This projects to 2,172 over a 12-game schedule (yes, I am aware that stiffer competition is ahead). He has already 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 more than triple a Michigan football 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.

And if you think Smith's 674 yards are shabby, at 56.2 yards per game—back in the days before Communist Football—keep in mind that Comrade Pryor, the second-most-heralded dual-threat QB in the country today, has rushed for 373 yards, or 74.6 yards per game. Denard is at 181.0 yards per game.

The Big Ten record is 1,270 by Antwaan Randle El of Indiana in 2000; the NCAA FBS record is 1,494 by Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1996. Both of these records are easily within reach. Denard only has to average 84.2 rushing yards a game over the rest of the regular season to break the NCAA FBS record.

Rushing Yards by a QB, Career

There's no point in projecting Denard's career rushing totals, since we don't even know how he'll do this year (or if his knee will hold up), nor if he will stay for his senior season. But here are the records:

Michigan's record is held by Rick Leach (1975-1978) at 2,176 yards. (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 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 2,109 yards (Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, 1996); the NCAA FBS record is 2,628 yards (Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, 1988).

That Barry Sanders record will be around for a while, but remember that Denard is on pace for 2,172; if he is somehow able to maintain his current pace, he would get past Ron Dayne and into first place all-time in the Big Ten at any position.

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

Much has been made of the fact that 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.

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.

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 1000/1000 Club

There are 36 quarterbacks (and one halfback, Johnny Bright of Drake) in FBS who have run and thrown for 1000 yards in the same season. Of these, none have both run and passed for 1500 yards (the rushing record for QBs is 1,494). Notably, 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 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.)

Denard can join the 1000/1000 club—halfway through the season—by rushing for 95 yards against MSU (he has already thrown for 1,008). If he stays healthy, he should easily become the first member of the 1500/1500 club. I've sorted this list by rushing yards.

Player Team Year Rushing Passing Total Off.
Beau Morgan Air Force 1996 1,494 1,210 2,704
Joe Webb UAB 2009 1,427 2,229 3,726
Jammal Lord Nebraska 2002 1,412 1,362 2,774
Brad Smith Missouri 2003 1,406 1,977 3,383
Chris McCoy Navy 1997 1,370 1,203 2,573
Patrick White W. Virginia 2007 1,335 1,724 3,059
Brian Mitchell La.-Lafayette 1989 1,311 1,966 3,277
Brad Smith Missouri 2005 1,301 2,304 3,605
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
Ricky Dobbs Navy 2009 1,203 1,031 2,234
Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2009 1,183 2,052 3,235
Dwight Dasher Middle Tenn. 2009 1,154 2,789 3,943
Michael Desormeaux La.-Lafayette 2007 1,141 1,405 2,546
Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2008 1,130 2,849 3,979
Dan LeFevour Central Mich. 2007 1,122 3,652 4,774
Eric Crouch Nebraska 2001 1,115 1,510 2,625
Craig Candeto Navy 2003 1,112 1,140 2,252
Scott Frost Nebraska 1997 1,095 1,237 2,332
Michael Carter Hawaii 1991 1,092 1,172 2,264
Vince Young Texas 2004 1,079 1,849 2,928
Joshua Cribbs Kent State 2002 1,057 1,014 2,071
Vince Young Texas 2005 1,050 3,036 4,086
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
Joe Webb UAB 2008 1,021 2,367 3,388
Joshua Cribbs (Fr.) Kent State 2001 1,019 1,516 2,535
Reggie Collier So. Miss. 1981 1,005 1,004 2,009
Darian Hagan Colorado 1989 1,004 1,002 2,006
Woodrow Dantzler Clemson 2001 1,004 2,360 3,364
Denard Robinson MICH 2010 905 1,008 1,913

Total Offense

Denard already owns the Michigan single-game total offense record (502 yards against Notre Dame), and is on pace to annihilate John Navarre's single-season total offense record of 3,240 in 2003 (Denard projects to an astounding 4,591 yards after 5 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: also within Denard's reach.

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, but he is right up there at the moment. Through the Indiana game, Denard has 1,913 yards of total offense in 194 plays, for an average of 9.9.

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):

Game Attempts + Carries Total Offense Yards per Play
Connecticut 51 383 7.51
Notre Dame 68 502 7.38
Massachusetts 31 345 11.13
Bowling Green 9 189 21.00
Indiana 35 494 14.11
TOTAL 194 1,913 9.86
Jason Martin (La. Tech vs. Toledo, 1996) 37 529 14.30
David Klingler (Houston vs. TCU, 1990) 63 625 9.92
Colt Brennan (Hawaii, 2006 season) 645 5,915 9.17
Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-09 career) 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): 8.7 by Sam Bradford (Oklahoma, 2007-2009).

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 and pass efficiency 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 69.8% with 96 attempts)
  • Highest completion percentage, career (min. 200 attempts): 64.3% (Todd Collins, 1991-1994) (Denard is at 63.8% with 127 attempts, good for 2nd all-time)
  • Highest efficiency rating, season (min. 100 attempts): 173.3 (Bob Chappuis, 1947) (Denard is at 180.0 after 5 games)
  • Highest efficiency rating, career (min. 200 attempts): 148.1 (Elvis Grbac, 1989-1992)
  • Yards per completion, game (min. 5 completions): Rick Leach, 36.3 vs. Purdue, 1975 (Denard's best is 27.7 with 10 attempts vs. Indiana, good for 4th all-time)
  • Yards per completion, game (min. 10 completions): Jim Harbaugh, 30.0 vs. Indiana, 1986 (Denard's 27.7 Indiana performance good for 2nd all-time)
  • Yards per completion, season (min. 60 completions): Bob Chappuis, 18.8, 1947 (Denard is at 15.0 with 67 completions, good for 7th all-time)
  • Yards per completion, career (min. 120 completions): Rick Leach, 17.1, 1975-1978 (Denard is at 14.8 with 81 completions, 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: 9.23)
  • Average gain per rush, career (min. 200 carries): 6.29, Jon Vaughn, 1989-1990 (Denard: 7.52 on 167 carries)
  • 100-yard rushing games, season: 10, Jamie Morris, 1987 (Denard has 5)
  • 150-yard rushing games, season: 6, Anthony Thomas, 2000 (Denard has 3)
  • 200-yard rushing games, season: 3, Mike Hart, 2004 (Denard has 2)


Thanks to 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. 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.



October 6th, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

This is awesome.  Thanks for the compilation of stats and for updating it throughout the season.  My only quibble: it's spelled "almanac".  I figured I would bring that to your attention as it's in the title.  Otherwise, keep up the great work.


October 6th, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Thank you for compiling all the numbers in one place - all this information is exactly what I needed to start my morning right. Look forward to you updating these numbers as the season goes and (hopefully) Denard scales a few more of these milestones.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:27 PM ^

The FBS record for highest average gain per play for a season (min. 3,000 yards) is 9.2, set by Colt Brennan in 2006 (645 plays for 5,915 yards).

Through five games, Robinson has gained 1,913 yards in 194 plays, for an average of 9.9.

I'll grant that given the coming competition, he may not be able to maintain that pace, but it's a record to keep an eye on.

Robinson is well ahead of the Michigan record, which Drew Henson set in 2000 at 7.93 (270 plays for 2,140 yards). (The Michigan record is based on a minimum of 200 plays.)


October 6th, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

--and thanks for putting this compendium together.

By the way, I realize your focus here is on FBS records rather than Michigan records, but Robinson is on pace to easily surpass the U-M record for total offense in a season, which is held by John Navarre--3,240 yards in 2003.

Navarre that year also set the U-M record for average yards per game at 249.2. Robinson is averaging 382.6.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

Excellent research.  I cannot wait to see this season play out and where Denard statistically ends up.  It will also be interesting to see how the rest of his career ends up.  Its exciting and I am going to sit back and enjoy the history that is being made right before our eyes. 


October 6th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

The FBS records now include postseason games, but they didn't always. This is from page 2 of "Football Bowl Subdivision Records":

Before 2002, postseason games were not included in NCAA final football statistics or records. Beginning with the 2002 season, all postseason games were included in NCAA final football statistics and records.


October 6th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

looks like he had two 200/200 games in his career.  This past week the quote was that Denard was the only player to have two in a career.  Are they drawing the distinction as OVER 200 yards or something?


October 6th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

It is no doubt too early to even contemplate Denard's potential assault on career records. We can only hope that there will be two and a half more blissful years of amazing performances to savor in the ultimate pursuit of those goals.

Still, before anyone eyes the 109.1 per game average as easy pickin's, we must remember that Robinson played all 12 games in 2009, averaging 29.25 yards per game.That's not to say that Denard might not eventually smash the record, but those games will count to bring down the average.

A remaining question is whether all of those 2009 yards were gained from the quarterback position. I seem to recall various forms of trickeration employed to get DROB the ball last year and some of his rushing plays may not have been from a direct snap. I'm not sure how precisely the rushing records are distinguished in that manner, but is there any way to determine if any of his 351 rushing yards in 2009 would not count towards any quarterback records?

Communist Football

October 6th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

Now you're getting into the statistical weeds!  My guess is that they won't distinguish his stats in which someone else received the snap from those where he did. I haven't seen that done in other situations where players gained yards from trick plays etc. In Denard's case, it was a pretty small proportion of plays (e.g., OSU) in the 2009 season where that was true. You're right to point out that his mediocre numbers in 2009 will weigh down his career per-play stats.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

This was pointed out by someone else in another thread, but I'd be curioius to know why Denard is not listed in the "average gain per rush" category in the Michigan Record Book.

His Bowling Green game performance should be no. 1 in this category for a minimum of 5 carries. He gained 129 yards in 5 carries for an average of 25.8.

His rushing numbers last week should also be listed in the minimum 15 carries section, as he averaged 11.42 (19 carries for 217 yards). That's good for third-best in U-M history.

Maybe they're just having a hard time keeping track of all the records he's setting!

Isaac Newton

October 6th, 2010 at 4:35 PM ^

The last 4 yard TD run brought Denard's avg. down from what would have been a record breaking 14.4 to 14.1.  I love statistics and records and am having great fun watching Denard push all these; but it does show, at the end of the day, these records mean nothing compared to the W.


October 6th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

Great work.  The above seems like the best case for RRs continued employment (and long term success)  Simply amazing to be rewriting the record book so thoroughly so early in the season.  Took three years but so far worth the wait.


October 6th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

My #1 favorite all-time Wolverine is pictured in my avitar on the cover of the 76 SI College Football issue.  Denard is now #2 (having passed Charles Woodsen) and closing fast.

I cannot wait for 3:30 on Saturday.

El Jeffe

October 6th, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

My one regret in life is that the Orson Welles animated .gif meme is already so played that I can't in good conscience deploy it here.

So, an Orson Welles animated .gif (text version) and a + 1 to you, Mr. Communist.


October 6th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

Not to be that guy but my grandmothers brother is Reds Bagnell, he won the Maxwell award that year. Pretty cool to see my great uncle in the same company as Denard. 


October 6th, 2010 at 10:04 PM ^

I truly hope he gets all sorts of records and can stay healthy.  He is so fun to watch and I love his demeanor.  

My concern is that he is getting ready to face Mich St, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and O State, all of whom have much better defenses than the 5 teams we have faced so far.   We can only hope he continues to do his magic...

Communist Football

October 6th, 2010 at 10:23 PM ^

facing the tough defenses of MSU and Iowa (I think the D-line of Iowa will be especially challenging).  If we can get through those two without Denard getting seriously injured, we'll be ok.  Importantly, Iowa has two weeks to prepare for us.

After Iowa, we have a bye week of our own, and then we play Penn State, Illinois, and Purdue.  If Denard can make it past Iowa, we'll be ok.


October 7th, 2010 at 12:41 AM ^

One stat that amazes me has been his TDs per touches (runs + pass attempts per touchdown) over the last 3 games. Over the last 3 games he has 75 touches and has accounted for 10 touchdowns either running or passing. That means he accounts for 1 TD every 7.5 touches. The 9 touch 2 TD game vs. BGSU certainly doesn't hurt those numbers.

I'm curious what the record is for a season. Right how he is responsible for 15 TDs on 194 touches or 1 TD for every 12.93 touches.

Communist Football

October 7th, 2010 at 8:34 AM ^

Though Elias Sports Bureau might.  FYI, in 2010, Denard is scoring on 7.3% of his pass attempts, 8.2% of his rushing attempts, and 7.7% of the two combined. (His 2009 numbers weren't far worse: 6.5% pass, 7.3% run, 7.0% total.)

Here is what we do have on the rushing side:

  • Most rushing touchdowns by a QB, single-game: 6 (Dee Dowls, Air Force vs. SDSU, 1989; Craig Candeto, Navy vs. Army, 2002)
  • Most rushing touchdowns by a QB, season: 27 (Ricky Dobbs, Navy, 2009) (Denard has 8)
  • Most rushing touchdowns by a QB, career: 59 (Eric Crouch, Nebraska, 1998-2001) (Denard has 13)

Here is what we have on the passing side. As you can see, Denard is well off the pace:

  • Highest percentage of passes for touchdowns, season (min. 175-375 attempts): 11.6% (39/335), Dennis Shaw, SDSU, 1969
  • Highest percentage of passes for touchdowns, season (min. 375 attempts): 11.5% (46/400), Jim McMahon, BYU, 2980
  • Highest percentage of passes for touchdowns, career (min. 400-499 attempts): 9.7% (45/462), Rich Leach, Michigan, 1975-1978
  • Highest percentage of passes for touchdowns, career (min. 500 attempts): 9.9% (88/893), Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, 2007-2009


October 7th, 2010 at 9:05 AM ^

Excellent work! One small nitpick: didn't Tebow throw for 3000 and run for 1000 in 2007, the same year in which Dan LeFevour accomplished the feat?