This week’s edition of The Numbers Game looks at statistics from both this season and last for Michigan and Notre Dame, and includes some of the stats the Wall Street Journal put up before the season to help provide some context:
[table id=125 /]
A few things strike me from looking at this breakdown:
- We’re No. 1 in net punting! OK, it was one punt that rolled 20 yards after getting knocked down by the wind, but I’ll take it. If nothing else, this is a great one-week tribute to Zoltan Mesko.
- Much like Michigan’s matchup with UConn, the Wolverines are about even in returning starters, but have a sizable advantage in total returning lettermen. I thought this would play a factor against the Huskies because of the pace of our offense and their questionable defensive depth, and it did. We’ll see if it has the same effect against the Irish.
- Dayne Crist had a solid starting debut at quarterback for Notre Dame against Purdue last week, but it looks like the Irish are a little more run-heavy this season after Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate departed for the NFL. With senior Armando Allen and breakout sophomore Cierre Wood, Notre Dame has a solid one-two punch at running back that could pose some issues for Michigan. Receiver Michael Floyd is still there as well, and Greg Robinson will likely spend much of this week devising a scheme to mitigate the damage the potential NFL first-rounder can inflict on the secondary.
- The Irish return a ton of starting experience in the secondary, but that secondary also gave up nearly as many yards per game through the air last season as Michigan (although their opponent passing efficiency was markedly lower). If the Wolverines can continue to run the ball effectively, there may be the same type of openings in the secondary that there were against UConn.
Stay tuned this week for more coverage of the Notre Dame game, including a Q&A with a prominent Notre Dame blog (still working on it, but it should be up in the next day or two).