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December 4, 2013

Stat Tracker: U-M gives up the big play too often

When Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison took over after the defensive disaster of the 2010 season, he vowed to make sure the Wolverines' stopped big plays at all costs.

And in his first two seasons, Michigan did just that.

In the year before Mattison arrived, the Wolverines surrendered an eye-popping 64 plays that spanned at least 20 yards. That ranked 11th in the Big Ten and 102nd nationally.

The defense sliced that number by 20 in 2011, giving up just 44 plays of 20-plus yards in 2011 (26th nationally, sixth in the Big Ten), a huge reason why the Wolverines saw such a resurgence on that side of the ball in Mattison's first season at the helm.

Last year, the defense was even better at limiting big plays, surrendering just 35 plays of 20 or more yards all season - the best in the nation.

Through the 12-game regular season this year, Michigan has taken a big step back.

The Wolverines surrendered 49 plays that spanned at least 20 yards this year, including at least one in every game except one: a 42-13 win over Minnesota. That ranks 42nd nationally and sixth in the Big ten.

Here's a breakdown of how many 20-plus-yard plays each opponent had against the Wolverines, compared to their season average per game:

Opponent: vs. Michigan, Season Av. Per Game:

  • Central Michigan: 3, 4.9

  • Notre Dame: 5, 5.0

  • Akron: 6, 3.5

  • Connecticut: 1, 3.5

  • Minnesota: 0, 4.1

  • Penn State: 4, 4.0

  • Indiana: 7, 6.9

  • Michigan State: 6, 4.1

  • Nebraska: 3, 4.6

  • Northwestern: 1, 4.0

  • Iowa: 5, 3.5

  • Ohio State: 8, 6.3

    Seven of Michigan's 12 opponents either met or exceeded their season average for plays of 20 or more yards per game.

    On the season, the Wolverines posted a 4-1 record while holding teams under their season average for offensive plays of 20 or more yards. When the opponents met or exceeded their season average, Michigan's record was 3-4.

    Excluding the three defensive scores surrendered by Michigan and the overtime periods against Penn State and Northwestern, the Wolverine defense gave up 49 scores this season: 30 touchdowns and 19 field goals.

    Michigan surrendered at least one play of 20 or more yards on 30 of those 49 scoring drives (61.2 percent).

    Of the 30 touchdown drives surrendered by the defense, 23 of them included at least on play of 20 or more yards (76.7 percent).

    In Michigan's seven wins they allowed 23 plays of 20 or more yards (3.3 per game).

    In those seven wins, the Wolverines also surrendered 12 touchdowns and 12 field goals (excluding defensive scores and overtime periods). Nine of the 12 touchdown drives were accompanied by at least one play of 20 or more yards (75.0 percent). Five of the 12 field goal drives were accompanied by at least one play of 20 or more yards (41.7 percent). All told, 14-of-24 scoring drives included at least one big play (58.3 percent).
    Plays Of 20-Plus Yards Surrendered In Wins
    Opponent
    Play Type
    Yards
    Drive Result
    Central Mich.
    Pass
    23
    Field Goal
    Central Mich.
    Pass
    21
    Interception
    Central Mich.
    Pass
    43
    Field Goal
    Notre Dame
    Pass
    22
    Touchdown
    Notre Dame
    Pass
    21
    Field Goal*
    Notre Dame
    Pass
    23
    Field Goal*
    Notre Dame
    Pass
    20
    Touchdown
    Notre Dame
    Pass
    21
    Interception
    Akron
    Pass
    30
    Missed FG
    Akron
    Pass
    28
    Touchdown
    Akron
    Pass
    43
    Interception
    Akron
    Pass
    40
    Touchdown
    Akron
    Pass
    24
    Downs*
    Akron
    Pass
    21
    Downs*
    Connecticut
    Pass
    26
    Downs
    Indiana
    Pass
    59
    Touchdown
    Indiana
    Pass
    33
    Touchdown
    Indiana
    Rush
    20
    Touchdown*
    Indiana
    Pass
    28
    Touchdown*
    Indiana
    Pass
    42
    Field Goal
    Indiana
    Pass
    67
    Touchdown
    Indiana
    Pass
    20
    Touchdown
    Northwestern
    Pass
    26
    Field Goal
    Bold means the touchdown was scored on the play of 20-plus yards
    *Plays occurred on the same drive

    In Michigan's five losses, the defense gave up 26 plays of 20 or more yards (5.2 per game). Each opponent amassed at least three such plays, and Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State had at least five.

    In those five losses, the Wolverines also surrendered 18 touchdowns and seven field goals (excluding defensive scores and overtime periods). Of the 18 touchdown drives, 14 of them were accompanied by at least one play of 20 or more yards (77.8 percent), and two of the seven field goal drives included at least one play of 20 or more yards (28.6 percent).

    All told, 16-of-25 scoring drives in Michigan's five losses included at least one play that spanned at least 20 yards (64.0 percent).

    Plays Os 20-Plus Yards Surrendered In Losses
    Opponent
    Play Type
    Yards
    Drive Result
    Penn State
    Pass
    20
    Touchdown
    Penn State
    Pass
    24
    Touchdown
    Penn State
    Pass
    29
    Touchdown*
    Penn State
    Pass
    36
    Touchdown*
    Michigan St.
    Pass
    49
    Field Goal
    Michigan St.
    Pass
    23
    Touchdown
    Michigan St.
    Pass
    21
    Punt
    Michigan St.
    Pass
    25
    Touchdown
    Michigan St.
    Rush
    35
    Touchdown*
    Michigan St.
    Rush
    40
    Touchdown*
    Nebraska
    Pass
    27
    Punt
    Nebraska
    Pass
    23
    Punt
    Nebraska
    Pass
    26
    Touchdown
    Iowa
    Pass
    25
    Missed FG
    Iowa
    Rush
    20
    Interception
    Iowa
    Pass
    55
    Touchdown
    Iowa
    Pass
    21
    Field Goal
    Iowa
    Rush
    22
    End Of Game
    Ohio State
    Pass
    53
    Touchdown
    Ohio State
    Rush
    53
    Touchdown
    Ohio State
    Pass
    37
    Touchdown*
    Ohio State
    Rush
    21
    Touchdown*
    Ohio State
    Rush
    33
    Touchdown
    Ohio State
    Rush
    20
    Touchdown*
    Ohio State
    Pass
    22
    Touchdown*
    Ohio State
    Rush
    32
    Touchdown
    Bold means the touchdown was scored on the play of 20-plus yards
    *Plays occurred on the same drive



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