Michigan: By the Numbers
You might want to cover your eyes here as these numbers will NOT be pretty. Granted Crist going out sure doesn’t help the offensive stats, but man, I didn’t think they’d be this bad. Of course, we all remember that every QB joined the INT parade once, combining for three total. You might also remember that our QBs were horribly inaccurate, but I sure didn’t think it would be for a combined 47.73% which is beyond brutal.
And considering we passed the ball 59.21% of the time, those numbers definitely do not help. Sure the yards per pass was 8.47 and 381 total; however, those numbers largely inflated to Kyle Rudolph being awesome with a 95 yard TD reception. We were a flat out offensive wreck this game.
The ground game though still did decent despite all of that. 154 total yards and 4.81 per carry is great; however, there was no way we were going to be able to make a comeback on the ground.
Our red zone efficiency was slightly better than last week. Out of three trips to the red zone we scored a TD, a FG, and watched Montana throw a ball to ten foot giant we don’t have. While 2 out of 3 might be decent, considering that all three trips to the red zone resulted in a goal-to-goal situation, I can’t help be see missed opportunities. Granted, one of said goal-to-go situations was only one play to end the half, and given that situation I’d be happy with a FG there, but missing out on another goal-to-go later in the game definitely came back to bite us in the ass.
Forget having an extra three points at the end of the game. If we go for the FG at the end of the half and don’t screw up another golden opportunity later, we all of a sudden have 7 extra points on the board. As I stated in the Purdue analysis, our red zone woes need to change fast.
As far as play selection in the red zone, it was just as balanced as last week, seeing 54.55% run overall in the red zone and 50/50 run/pass in goal to go. Although considering one of those three pass plays was from the arm of Montana, I would’ve definitely liked at least one more running play to be tossed in there.
The defense sucked and cost us the game right? Well…you might be a little surprised. Despite having a new one torn into them by Denard “Second-Coming-of-Tebow-Expect-He-Doesn’t-Do-Missions-Just-Can’t-Tie-Shoes” Robinson, the defense was actually rather stout. Sure, we all know that pitched a shutout for most of the second half, but some of these numbers made my jaw drop.
Michigan was only able to convert 3, yes only 3 of their 16 third down attempts (18.75%). That’s right, ND was better in third down situations than against Purdue. ND also sent Michigan packing on three and outs 5 times over 16 drives (31.25%). ND’s backs were up against the wall, starting on a short field three times; however, only gave up a single score (TD immediately following the Reese INT) on Michigan drives that started in plus territory. Robinson was held to only a 60% completion rate after going for over 80% the week prior. Finally, they also limited Michigan to just two red zone visits as well.
The difference this time: both red zone visits resulted in not only goal-to-go situations, but TDs (including the game winner). ND failed to stop Michigan on their only fourth down conversion attempt (game winning drive). Not only that, the defense forced no turnovers as opposed to four last week. And, of course, Robinson helped carve ND up with 258 of Michigan’s 288 rushing yards, leading to an absurd 7.02 yards per carry for the team. Toss in a couple blown coverage assignments as well, and you have the making of a loss.
ND’s defensive effort could be summed up here as good, with a lapse or two, but failed to step up in the situations that mattered in the end. However, it could be argued that the defense probably played well enough to win. As I said before, toss in those extra 7 points on offense (passing on FG, no TD on third goal-to-go attempt), and all of a sudden Michigan’s game winning TD drive turns into a game-tying drive and we have an entirely different ball game.