Michigan Football By the Numbers: Nebraska

That was a VERY satisfying way to take a 5-4-1 series lead over the Cornhuskers.  Onward to Evanston!

TABLE: FIVE FACTORS

OFFENSE

Raise your hand if you had Week 4 circled as the first “take ’em to the wood shed” performance from Michigan’s offensive line. Nobody?  Me either.  In my opinion, the raw statistics tell more of the story than the S&P Five Factors do, because I did not remove garbage time for my analysis.  And by garbage time, I mean the entire second half.  Michigan was able to take Shea Patterson out in the 3rd quarter after another solid performance, and again Dylan McCaffrey was strong in his mop up role.  For me, the most encouraging sign for the offense was the return of the explosive run play.  The offensive line not only achieved great initial push along the front, the big run plays imply that blocks are being maintained at the second level, including by the wide receivers.

DEFENSE

Nebraska managed to salvage a small edge in Finishing Drives because they cashed in on both of their scoring opportunities, while Michigan went 6-of-7 thanks to an interception thrown by the third string QB.  However, Nebraska did not cross Michigan’s 40-yard line until their sad, “no shutout” field goal in the 3rd quarter.  Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich did not play any longer into the 3rd quarter than Shea Patterson did.  Devin Bush is clearly a step (or two) faster than Nebraska’s best offensive weapons.  Again, the lopsided raw statistics are more indicative of the butt kickin’ in this game. Nebraska increased their Yards per Play above 3.0 by finding some room to breathe against the 2nd and 3rd string Wolverines.  It was the first truly dominant performance in 2018 from Don Brown’s guys. Let’s hope there is more where that came from!

S&P+ THROUGH WEEK 4

MICHIGAN S&P+
Overall: 25.1, 5th (up 5)
Offense: 37.7, 24th (up 14)
Defense: 12.9, 4th (up 3)

REGULAR SEASON PROJECTIONS vs. RESULTS

vs. Nebraska: UM 56 NEB 10
Pregame S&P+: UM by 8.6, 4-0
Pregame Clint: UM by 11, 3-1
MICH Cumulative 2ndO Wins: 3.6

vs. SMU: UM 45 SMU 20
Pregame S&P+: UM by 20.0, 3-0
Pregame Clint: UM by 39, 2-1
MICH Cumulative 2ndO Wins: 2.6

vs. Western Michigan: UM 49 WMU 3
Pregame S&P+: UM by 10.8, 2-0
Pregame Clint: UM by 25, 1-1
MICH Cumulative 2ndO Wins: 1.6

@ Notre Dame: ND 24 UM 17
Preseason S&P+: ND by 0.1, 1-0
Preseason Clint: UM by 4, 0-1
MICH Cumulative 2ndO Wins: 0.6

NEXT UP

@ Northwestern: Overall 3.1, 60th
M Offense 37.7 (24th) vs. O Defense 20.6 (24th), Midpoint: 29.15
M Defense 12.9 (4th) vs. O Offense 24.0 (96th), Midpoint: 18.45

PREGAME EDGE: Michigan
S&P+ gives a 10.7 point edge to Michigan. The Wildcats have not been impressive at all, but this Michigan team still needs to show it can be sharp on the road.

GAME WEEK UPDATE: The match-up to watch is Michigan’s offense versus Northwestern’s defense, as both are ranked #24 in the S&P+. Harbaugh will look to maintain balance between pass & run, while wearing down the Wildcats into the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Michigan 31 Northwestern 14 (PRESEASON: Michigan 17 Northwestern 14)

TL;DR SUMMARY

One team out-hit the other by a significant margin. The scoreboard reflects which is which. To his credit, Scott Frost did not try to spin any fictional moral victories during his 2018 post-game press conference.

 

M Football 2011-“Michigan” Football Returned In November to the Big House Saturday As the 18th Ranked Wolverines Demolished Nebraska’s 16th Ranked Cornhuskers 45-17

By Andy Andersen

Saturday the Wolverines threw about everything they had at the Cornhuskers including a fake field goal, a gang tackling hustling defense, special teams causing turnovers while not contributing them, and an aggressive Denard Robinson. The Huskers were unable to convert many third downs, and weren’t successful at that until the third quarter.

Denard Robinson, and Fitz Toussaint performed better than their Husker counterparts Burkhead, and Martinez.  They are good, but on this afternoon, they were surpassed. The Wolverines held the ball for 41:13 minutes to The Huskers 18:39.  This is just what the Wolverine coaches ordered, and the Wolverines played the game the coaches had envisioned for them in games past, but they had not yet accomplished it.  They made Nebraska one dimensional and then compressed that dimension.

Michigan gained 418 yards to the Huskers 260, having a 7 game win streak going in the Big House this season.

Fitzgerald Toussaint had his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and achieved 138-yards on 29 carries, with two TDs.    He is displaying the promise he has shown at practice for so long, and there is no question any more whether or not he is the featured back.  He has a nice combination of moves, speed and power, and is improving every game. His last TD was an extraordinary run.  He was stopped around the line of scrimmage, slid off, cut, and with a burst of speed put it in the end zone.  It was a play of great effort and performance.

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