Michigan Wolverines Football By The Numbers: Michigan Can Once Again Sweep Non-Conference Slate
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By The Numbers: Michigan Can Once Again Sweep Non-Conference Slate

Michigan football has a chance to sweep its regular-season non-conference slate with a win over Northern Illinois, a 27-point underdog at The Big House Saturday, and it wouldn't be an insignificant feat. In fact, the Wolverines have won every non-conference game in a season just 13 times since 1990, not doing so 17 times (they played a Big Ten-only schedule in 2020).

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Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh
Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh picked up his 51st win as U-M's head man last week. (Lon Horwedel / TheWolverine.com)

Michigan has gone through the non-league schedule unscathed three times — in 2016, 2017 and 2019 — under seventh-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, and has posted a 16-2 record in such outings during the head man's tenure, including the 2021 team's pair of victories the last two weeks.

For reference, former head coach Lloyd Carr (1995-2007) won all of his non-league outings six times in 13 years (46.2 percent). Former head man Gary Moeller (1990-94) never came out on top in all of his non-Big Ten clashes.

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If all goes according to plan Saturday, Harbaugh will have upped his number to four in six seasons (again, there were only Big Ten games in 2020) for a success percentage of 66.7.

The only non-conference regular-season losses under Harbaugh have been to Utah in his first game back at his alma mater to begin the 2015 season and at Notre Dame to open the 2018 campaign.

The 13 Times Michigan Has Swept Its Regular-Season Non-Conference Slate Since 1990
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By The Numbers: Michigan Wolverines Football vs. Northern Illinois

1-0 Is Michigan's record against Northern Illinois, with the only meeting between the two schools being a 33-17 Wolverine win Sept. 3, 2005.

2 Touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving — for Mike Hart, now the team's running backs coach, in the aforementioned contest against the Huskies in 2005. He gained 117 yards on 27 carries and caught four passes for 49 yards.

3 Teams — Navy, Air Force and Army — have averaged less pass attempts per game than Michigan (16) at this point in the season. The Wolverines have run the ball on 99 snaps, compared to 32 pass attempts.

6 Michigan players hail from the state of Illinois: Freshman tight end Josh Beetham (Yorkville), second-year freshman wide receiver A.J. Henning (Frankfort), redshirt freshman running back Danny Hughes (Naperville), redshirt freshman left guard Trevor Keegan (Crystal Lake), freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy (La Grange Park), and freshman linebacker Tyler McLaurin (Bollingbrook).

13 Games not ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings during head coach Jim Harbaugh's tenure, including each of the first two contests of this season. The Wolverines enter Saturday's tilt ranked No. 25 in both the AP and coaches' polls.

34-1 Is Michigan's record against teams that currently reside in the Mid-American Conference. The Wolverines' last game against a school from the league came just two weeks ago (Sept. 4) against Western Michigan, a 47-14 Maize and Blue triumph.

42-16 Was the score of the Wyoming-Northern Illinois game with 6:03 to play in the third quarter last week, before the Huskies scored four straight touchdown drives to take a 43-42 lead with 4:56 left in the game. The Cowboys were able to march down the field and score the game-winning touchdown with 1:27 remaining.

323 Yards through the air for Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi against Michigan last season while playing for Michigan State. The Spartans took down the Wolverines at The Big House, 24-21, Oct. 31, 2020.

648 Days between Northern Illinois wins, with the Huskies not having come out victorious from Nov. 26, 2019, (17-14 vs. Western Michigan) all the way until Sept. 4, 2021 (22-21 at Georgia Tech). The Huskies posted a winless 0-6 record in 2020. Third-year head coach Thomas Hammock is 6-14 during his tenure.

2017 At Nebraska (21-17) was the last time Northern Illinois had taken down a Power Five opponent, before the Huskies beat Georgia Tech to open the 2021 slate.


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