Note: Taking Advantage Of Chances
In Saturday's 24-21 loss at Iowa, the Michigan offense struggled all afternoon, amassing just 158 yards of total offense and scoring just two touchdowns (the first score was on an interception return from junior defensive end Brennen Beyer).
But when Iowa gave the Wolverines a chance, they took advantage of it.
In the second quarter, Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock was picked off by redshirt sophomore cornerback Blake Countess, who returned it to the 28-yard line.
The Wolverines drove down the field in seven plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown toss from redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner to sophomore tight A.J. Williams.
Later in the same quarter, a poor Iowa punt set the Wolverines up at the Hawkeye 47-yard line, and Michigan drove 47 yards in 10 plays for another score.
It was an encouraging sign during an afternoon of offensive struggls, because Michigan has struggled to take advantage of short field recently.
In the first seven games of the year, the Wolverines had 11 drives that began inside the 50-yard line (in regulation). They scored six touchdowns and three field goals and failed to score twice.
Against Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern, the Michigan offense was set up inside the 50-yard line to begin a drive six times, scoring a total of six points on two field goals. On those six drives, the Wolverines combined for negative-17 yards of offense.
Note: Championship Month
The old mantra certainly rings true at this time of year: championships are won and lost in the month of November.
The Wolverines stand at 1-3 since the calendar turned, with a 29-6 loss at Michigan State, a 17-13 loss vs. Nebraska and Saturday's 24-21 loss at Iowa. Last week, they barely escaped a winless mark in November with a 27-19 triple-overtime win at Northwestern.
Since Michigan coach Brady Hoke took over before the 2011 season, the Wolverines are 7-5 in the month of November, with a 3-1 record in both 2011 and 2012.
Michigan has not survived the month of November with an unblemished record since 2003, when the team went 3-0 with wins over Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State to earn a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth.
Since then, the Wolverines are 15-18 in November. In that span, Michigan has posted just one season with a winning November record, going 2-1 in 2006, with a season-ending 42-39 loss at Ohio State.
With the loss Saturday, the Wolverines dropped their third game this month, marking just the 12th time in program history that a Michigan team lost three or more games in the month of November.
In the 11 previous seasons, the Wolverines posted a combined 30-65-1 record, with just one non-losing season (4-4 in 1935). Michigan (7-4 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) has already secured a winning record. Even if the Wolverines lose to Ohio State and in a bowl game, it will be the first time a Michigan team lost three or more games in November and finished above .500.
Should the Wolverines loss next week vs. Ohio State, it would be just the fourth time in program history that they have lost four November games: 1958 (2-6-1 overall, 0-4 in November), 1934 (1-7, 0-4) and 1891, (4-5, 0-4).