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March 11, 2013
By The Numbers: U-M must fill big-play void
In 2012, Michigan produced 21 rushes of 20 yards or more and 41 pass completions of such length, but with Denard Robinson's departure most of U-M's big plays are exiting Ann Arbor.
During the past three seasons, Robinson rushed for 20 yards or more 40 times, including 12 times in 2011 and on 14 occasions in 2012. All other Michigan rushers combined for 25 big plays over the past two years (49.0 percent) while Robinson was also responsible for 60 of 76 pass completions of 20 yards or more (78.9 percent).
The good news for U-M and its fans is that redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner averaged four completions of 20 yards or greater per outing during his five-game stint (Robinson had averaged 2.9 per game during the 2011-12 campaigns), however the Maize and Blue produced just six 20-yard plays on the ground all year in which a No. 16 wasn't toting the football.
With Roy Roundtree's departure also, Michigan returns the principle parties in just 18 total big plays among the 62 (29.0 percent) the Wolverines racked up a year ago. Fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon has built quite a rapport with Gardner, though, catching nine 20-yarders, giving U-M a good head start on replacing the void.
Here is a look at the 18 big plays accomplished by Wolverines set to return in 2013.