November 15, 2012
Borton's Blog: Michigan's top five
A quick check of the national rankings reveals - not shockingly - four out of Michigan's best five on the defensive side of the football. But the other one is worth consideration, given the heat one group has absorbed.
1. Pass Defense (No. 1 Nationally) - Curt Mallory's crew has held up very well, even in the absence of the injured Blake Countess. Obviously, the whole defense plays a role here, since the Wolverines are surrendering a nation's-best averaged of on 149.20 passing yards per game.
But the secondary - considered by some to be mortally wounded with the loss of Countess early - shook off that blow nicely. The Big Ten doesn't feature the most passing-proficient squads in the nation this season, but the Wolverines have held up well even though they're tied for 100th in the nation in actual sacks.
2. Total Defense (No. 11 Nationally) - The Wolverines are giving up 302.90 yards per game. They're still susceptible to option attacks (hello, Air Force, Northwestern), but overall, this crew has not only kept teams off the scoreboard, it has gotten the ball back more efficiently than a year ago.
3. Scoring Defense (No. 17 Nationally) - Michigan went from the Air Force to Northwestern games giving up more than 13 points just once - when its defense spent the entire second half on the field at Nebraska. The Wildcats gashed the Wolverines a bit, giving them incentive to stop not only the Hawkeyes but also the next highly mobile quarterback they see.
4. Sacks Allowed (No. 18 Nationally) - Here's the offensive category that marks a nice plus for the Michigan offensive line. Yes, the mobility of senior Denard Robinson and junior Devin Gardner factor in here. At the same time, the pass protection has been big at crucial times - like giving Gardner a chance to heave the deep throw that saved the Northwestern game.
5. Pass Efficiency Defense (No. 21 Nationally) - The Wolverines have only intercepted seven passes this season, but have kept the yardage down, and earned a rating of 112.41.
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