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Monday, October 21, 2013
Diving into Michigan's offensive stats vs. IU

By Chantel Jennings

The Michigan football team has been under a bit of fire recently. Some are saying that its trying too hard to fit its personnel, which might be better fit for a spread offense, into a pro-style -- the old square-peg-round-hole dilemma.

But on Saturday, in a 63-47 win that showed an outpouring of 751 yards of total offense, the Wolverines opened up the playbook and its minds a bit. Of the 83 offensive plays, the breakdown between Michigan being in the shotgun formation (46 percent) versus under center (52 percent) was a bit more even and that left the Indiana defense in some tough positions. The result was a dynamic offensive performance.

So, since we have a bit more time to analyze Michigan’s offense than the IU defense did in game, here’s exactly what the Wolverines did.

Fitzgerald Toussaint
Fitzgerald Toussaint's touchdowns and longest runs came when Michigan was under center, but he had a higher yards-per-carry average out of the spread.
Run plays: 29 | Pass plays: 14 SHOTGUN:
Run plays: 23 | Pass plays: 15 PISTOL:
Run plays: 2
The Wolverines have been working very hard to get its run game going. Last weekend against Penn State, the Wolverines couldn’t get any kind of leverage and as a result their run game (outside of Gardner) suffered miserably. Toussaint averaged one yard per carry and Green carried the ball three times for a net gain of 1 yard. Against Indiana, the Wolverines as a whole averaged 4.6 yards per carry -- a huge improvement from the previous weekend.

Gardner rushing:
Under center: four carries, 38 yards, 9.5 YPC, 1 TD
Shot gun: 10 carries, 42 yards, 4.2 YPC, 2 TD
Pistol: one carry, 1 yard

Toussaint rushing:
Under center: 19 carries, 73 yards, 3.8 YPC, 4 TD
Shot gun: 12 carries, 74 yards, 6.2 YPC
Pistol: one carry, 4 yards

Green rushing:
Under center: five carries, 19 yards, 3.8 YPC
Shot gun: one carry, two yards

Overall, the offensive performance was something the Wolverines can definitely be proud of and look to build on as it faces some tougher defenses on the horizon. Michigan State, who the Wolverines will see after the bye week, is the No. 1 defense in the nation, giving up just 228 yards of offense per game.

The Spartans’ rushing defense is giving up just 59.1 yards per game. The next best rushing defense in the country is Rutgers, which gives up 84 yards per game on the ground, more than 20 yards behind MSU, allowing 84 rushing yards per game.

So with a bye week, Michigan will have an opportunity to look at game film and see how exactly it will decide to attack the best defense in the nation. But if the 751 yards against IU has any kind of pull, it’s likely that the Wolverines will attempt to stay as versatile as they were on Saturday.