Rushing Stats In UM/MSU Games

Submitted by superstringer on October 10th, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I can't find a database online to help me on this one.  Maybe someone has the data?

IIRC as of a few years ago, it was something very odd like 18 of the past 20 UM/MSU games was won by the team that had the greater rushing yardage.  I don't know if that trend continued under RR.  Does anyone know the current data for that trend?

Not that past performance is any indication of future results, but you have to think that we will outrush Sparty this weekend.  Their OL is full of holes; if they are going to win it's on Cousin's arm.  While their D has great stats, clearly we're faster than probably any team they've faced, including ND, and they lost that game.  I don't see us rushing for 400 but maybe 250-250 is probable, but at the same time, I don't expect Sparty to rush for over 200.

Hence, I think if the rushing stat trend were to have continued viability, then we win this Saturday.



October 10th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

Things like this are fun, like when Michigan and Notre Dame played, the underdog has won 20 of the past 23 meetings.

As far as MSU/UM go I remember them making a big deal about the team that has the rushing advantage usually wins but I can't recall how many years.  It'll pop up soon in news stories I'm sure.


In 2003, Michigan had the rushing advantage 216 to 36 (!!) and won 27-20

In 2004, MSU had the rushing advantage over us 368 to 223 but M won 45-37 (triple OT)

In 2005, Michigan had the rushing advantage 232 to 173 and won 34-31 (OT)

In 2006, Michigan had the rushing advantage 211 to 60 and won 31-13

In 2007, MSU had the rushing advantage 191 to 100 but M won 28-24

In 2008, MSU had the rushing advantage 167 to 84 and won 35-21

In 2009, MSU had the rushing advantage 197 to 28 (!!) and won 26-20 (OT)

In 2010, MSU had the rushing advantage 249 to 162 and won 34-17


October 10th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

I was equally shocked when I saw the numbers.  IIRC we seemed to move the ball with ease between the 20s (specifically last year) but failed pretty hard in the red zone.  I thought there were a couple red zone turnovers last year vs. MSU but, I suppose our rushing attack just wasn't what I thought it was.


October 10th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

I don't know that the team that has the most rushing yards correlation with winning has any predicative use.  First, the team winning going into the 4th quarter is going to run the ball more to eat up clock, so they will probably win anyways.  Second, the team with the better offense, or better defense, will likely have more running yards and will likely win.  Yards through the air are just as useful as yards on the ground, so just having a better running offense doesn't mean much before the game.  It's like time of possesion, more a result of winning than causing a win.


October 10th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

I agree with you to an extent, but if one team has 200 yards rushing going into the 4th quarter and the other has 100, I'd expect the former to be winning. Running the ball well typically leads to easier passes. Also, a team that runs for 6 YPC is probably more likely to be getting first downs than a team with 4 YPC. I would also expect the former team to have more carriers than the latter because of the efficiency, which leads to much highers total yards.

Benoit Balls

October 10th, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

"The team with more rushing yards has won 38 of the last 41 games in the series"


I know, I know, they aren't terribly diligent with their fact checking over there, but I'll give them enough credit to assume they can at least get that one right.


no link, b/c it is freep. If you want to see it, Google "Michigan-Michigan State Rushing" and its the 4th entry


October 10th, 2011 at 12:21 PM ^

I recall very distinctly ABC using this fact almost every year before the games in the early 2000's to the tune of something "the team with the most rushing yards has won 20 of the last 21 games". They loved talking up the fact that this would be a "smashmouth" Big Ten game and not a fancy-pants forward passing game.

I remember this because for a couple of years, I nerded it out and kept my own stat sheet tracking the rushing yards as they were playing as if that would somehow help me know who was going to win better.


October 10th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

The thing about these statistics are that most of them are obvious when you break it down and think about it.  Running the ball is half the battle on offense (passing being the other half) and means the opposing defense isn't stopping your offense, as stopping the run is much easier than stopping the pass usually.  Running the ball opens up passing lanes as well.  In the end, the statistics almost says "whoever has more yards, wins the game".

In general, whoever rushes for more yards usually wins the game.  That's because it's harder to run the ball than throw it, meaning you're controlling the game if you're racking up yards on the ground.


October 10th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

The other thing is that the losing team usually has to go pass-happy in the second half, and doesn't attempt many rushes (while often getting sacked, which goes against the rushing total).  Meanwhile, the winning team is usually content to keep it on the ground and bleed the clock. 


October 10th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

If any of you have the College Football Encyclopedia presented by ESPN that might shed some light on the game stats.  I'll check mine when I'm home from work today and provide an update.


October 10th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

It was 34 of the last 36.  So taking Soulfire 21's post above, it would now be 39 of 43.  So basically, its most of the time.  I think RickH summarized it pretty well above.  Both these teams have been run first for many years, so if forced to pass, it means that the primary option isnt very successful. 

Not to be a downer, but there is some other big streak how a first year coach for either team has almost never beat the other with the exception being Saban in 95 when both he and Carr were new.  Bo, Mo, Carr, RR all lost as did Perles, Bobby Williams, JLSmith and Dantonio. 


October 10th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

Here are the last 15 games. 

2010:  MSU 277 yards, UM 175 yards  (Final: MSU-34 UM-17)

2009:  MSU 230 yards, UM 83 yards (Final: MSU-26 UM-20)

2008:  MSU 223 yards, UM 120 yards (Final: MSU-35 UM-21)

2007:  MSU 219 yards, UM 125 yards (Final: UM-28 MSU-24)

2006:  UM 219 yards, MSU 73 yards (Final: UM-31 MSU-13)

2005:  UM 240 yards, MSU 198 yards (Final: UM-34 MSU-31)

2004:  MSU 397 yards, UM 261 yards (Final: UM-45 MSU-37)

2003:  UM 231 yards, MSU 39 yards (Final: UM-27 MSU-20)

2002:  UM 212 yards, MSU 94 yards (Final: UM-49 MSU-3)

2001:  MSU 262 yards, UM 142 yards (Final: MSU-26 UM-24) *Clockgate*

2000:  UM 196 yards, MSU 118 yards (Final: UM-14 MSU-0)

1999:  MSU 111 yards, UM 42 yards (Final: MSU-34 UM-31)

1998:  UM 219 yards, MSU 174 yards (Final: UM-29 MSU-17)

1997:  UM 188 yards, MSU 111 yards (Final: UM-23 MSU-7)

1996:  UM 206 yards, MSU 98 yards (Final: UM-45 MSU-29)