Preseason Prediction: Michigan will end the year with a +8 Turnover Margin (TOM) or better (2011 was +7). The prediction for TOM for M for this year is based on the prediction that M will be a very good team again this year and is not based on the actual TOM of last year. (Very good teams will have a TOM of +5 or better.) Turnover Margin for the year is currently – 4.
Psychic?: From last week "This is a recurring problem that is not going away and it is very likely that Denard will miss major portions of the next 4 games." Gardner started out shaky but after not playing QB for over a year what else could we have expected? If Gardner had not made that one spectacular play (which seemed to turn everyone's confidence around), it may have been a very scary game.
I am as confused as everyone else as to why the coaches decided to gamble with Bellomy as the backup this year. I had (erroneously) thought that Bellomy had shown himself to be the better QB. That hardly seems likely based on the immediate switch to Gardner for this game. Yes, Denard had never missed an entire game but running QBs are always at risk and DRob is not the biggest in physical size. Just another question we will never know the real answer to.
Michigan Football: Michigan had just 18 pass attempts and 41 rushing attempts for a 66% run play percentage. Overall M has a 62% run play percentage (ranked #11). In 2011 M ranked #11 at 65% run play %.
M forced 2 more fumbles (Kovacs & Clark) and recovered one (Avery). The fumble recovery was at 2:49 of the 4th quarter and was completely meaningless. Gardner threw the one pick. Michigan now has 14 different players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass.
For giveaways, Michigan is ranked #14 in fumbles and #6 in fumbles lost but is #124 in interceptions thrown %. Even if you take out the 4 interceptions thrown by Bellomy, M would still be ranked #123 in interceptions thrown %. The good news is that in B1G games, Robinson/Gardner have been much better with an interception % of 2.4% (which would be ranked #45).
For takeaways, M is ranked #71 in forced fumbles, #67 in fumbles recovered, #90 in takeaway fumble recovery %, and #66 in interceptions.
Synopsis for Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Turnovers resulted in a net of 0.41 expected points benefitting Michigan. Eliminating the meaningless fumble recovery at the end of the game, turnovers benefitted Minnesota by 3.41 EP.
The folks at Football Outsiders – FEI are also doing weekly "Revisionist Box Scores" that strips out TOs, Special Teams, and Field Position. FEI calculates the value generated by each drive and then lost on the drive up until the turnover, as if the drive had concluded at that spot on the field. Thru Week #10, FEI has 16% of games where TOs were significant.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the line of scrimmage for the offense. Therefore, the impact of a TO also depends on the yard line where the TO is lost and the yard line where the TO is gained. Each turnover may result in an immediate lost opportunity for the team committing the TO and a potential gain in field position by the opponent. Both of these components can vary dramatically based upon the down when the TO occurred, the yards the TO is returned, and whether the TO was a fumble or an interception.
Here are the details for the game.
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO may directly result in lost EP for the offense but (B) only modifies the EP for the team gaining the TO because the team gaining the TO would have gotten another possession even without the TO (due to a punt, KO after a TD, KO after a field goal, etc.). The Net EP Gain must take into account the potential EP gain without the TO. The EP gain without the turnover is based on where the field position would have been for the next possession if the TO had not occurred.
The expected point calculations are based on data from Brian Fremeau at BCFToys (he also posts at Football Outsiders). Fremeau's data reflects all offensive possessions played in 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.