November 10, 2009

Inside the numbers: Michigan

MADISON - For Michigan, what started as a year full of promise has quickly spiraled into one of dismay. For the second year in a row, the Wolverines, one of the proudest teams in all of college football, are struggling to secure a bowl bid. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is cruising along as one of the nation's most underrated teams.

On Saturday, the two teams meet. For the Badgers, revenge from last year's disheartening loss at Michigan is on the mind. For the Wolverines, a chance to get bowl eligible will present itself at Camp Randall Stadium.

Before the two teams square off on the field, takes a look inside the numbers of a 5-5 Michigan squad.

19-5-1: In short, there has not been a lot of home cooking for Wisconsin in the all-time series with Michigan. The Wolverines have come to Madison and Camp Randall Stadium 25 times. Of those 25 results, 19 have been wins for Michigan.

In the most recent meeting in Madison, the Badgers won 37-21 in 2007.

32 points per game: Michigan is leading the Big Ten and is currently 24th nationally in scoring offense with 32 points per game. One of the main components to UM's high octane offense is the fact that its rushing attack averaged 208.3 yards per game, good for tops in the Big Ten.

Defensively, though, Michigan is averaging 26.4 points per game. That makes UM one of the worst scoring defenses in the league.

12 fumbles: Though Michigan has rushed the ball 431 times for 2,083 yards on the season, they have lost 12 fumbles to opponents. That means Michigan loses at least one fumble a game on average.

33: The Wolverines have scored more touchdowns through 10 games this season that they did in all of 2008.

2: Michigan is the only team in the country with two true freshman listed on the top of the depth chart at the quarterback position.

17 TFL's: Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham had quite the game against Wisconsin a season ago. And that game may have been the starting point to an exceptional final two seasons as a Wolverine. Over the past two season's, Graham is the only player nationally to rank in the top 10 in tackles for loss.

His 17 TFL's in 2009 rank second nationally. Of course, he trails UW's senior standout O'Brien Schofield in that category. If he were to tally three more TFL's, he would become just the second Wolverine in history to compile back-to-back 20 TFL seasons.

10: The Wolverines have played 10 true freshman this season. Of those, both Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson are quarterbacks. Other players are Will Campbell, Vladimir Emilien, Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones, Teric Jones, Craig Roh, Vincent Smith and Je'Ron Stokes.

In fact, 84 of the 122 players on Michigan's roster have freshman or sophomore eligibility.

50 percent: When Michigan's offense gets into the red zone, it scores 86 percent of the time. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, only 50 percent of those scores are touchdowns.

121-64: Michigan has dominated opponents in the first quarter of games this season, outscoring them 121-64. If you were to just focus on Big Ten games, though, Michigan has actually been outscored 58-55 in the first quarter.

104: Forcier has the most rushing attempts of any Wolverine player. During his 104 rushes, the true freshman has tallied 246 yards. He is also Michigan's fourth-leading rusher this season behind Carlos Brown (478), Brandon Minor (476) and Robinson (284).

64 and 63: Though Graham is one of Michigan's more explosive defensive players, he is just the seventh leading tackler on the Wolverine roster. His 46 tackles trail Stevie Brown's 64 and Obi Ezeh's 63 tackles.

4: As far as defensive backs go, Michigan's Donovan Warren leads the team with four interceptions. He also has a team-high seven pass break-ups.

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