2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Michigan Offense
Don’t throw multiple picks. This matters considering what should be coming with the upgraded passing game.
The defense is usually good enough to clean up messes, but when the passing game throws interceptions so far in the Jim Harbaugh era – it means the O is pressing.
It hasn’t exactly been a conservative passing game style over the last four years, but game management matters. The interception in the loss to start out the season against Notre Dame was a killer, but Shea Patterson and the passing game didn’t give up multiple picks until the final two games against Ohio State and Florida.
Wilton Speight had a pick six issue in the 2017 opener against Florida, but the Wolverines won. In the Harbaugh era – starting with the loss to Utah to open things up in 2015 – Michigan is 1-6 when throwing more than one pick. When the O doesn’t throw an interception? 22-3.
Biggest Key To The Michigan Defense
Don’t let anyone get inside the 20. New year, new defense, new quirky things happen, but for all the good things last year’s D was able to do, it couldn’t get out alive any time anyone got into the red zone.
Michigan had one of the nation’s best defenses, but it was the second-worst at coming up with stops inside the 20. Offenses scored 93% of the time once they got deep into Michigan territory and came up with 20 touchdowns in the 30 trips. And that’s the key.
The Wolverines might have been awful and keeping point off the board in the red zone, but they didn’t let teams get there. Only Iowa (23) and Fresno State (18) had allowed fewer drives get inside the 20.
Who got in the red zone on the Michigan D? Ohio State and Florida combined for 11 of the 30 trips. No one else got there more than three times.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Shea Patterson, Sr.
He was good. It wasn’t his fault Michigan lost to Notre Dame, Ohio State and Florida, and he did what he needed to do throughout the year as a caretake of the offense that kept things moving.
He threw just three interceptions over the ten-game span between the Irish and the Buckeyes, he was accurate, was fantastic on third downs, and he let the D do the work. But to get to that next level and beat the Notre Dames, Ohio States, and Floridas of the world, he’s going to have to take to the tweaked up offense and go to a new level.
He’s got the talent, he’s got the experience, he’s got the O line to block for him, and he’s got the great receivers to work with. He’s also got the defense to help pick up the slack against most teams, but when the D struggles, he’ll have to be the one who pulls off the big game wins.
Key Game To The Michigan Season
Ohio State, Nov. 30
Going to Wisconsin and Penn State will be battles, and hosting Notre Dame and Michigan State are big, but enough is enough. Urban Meyer isn’t around anymore, the game is in Ann Arbor, and the talent level is in place to finally take down the Buckeyes. Michigan has lost seven straight in the series and a whopping 14 of the last 15.
– Michigan Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Michigan Fun Stats
– Time of Possession: Michigan 34:18 – Opponents 25:42
– Fumbles: Michigan 10 (lost 3) – Opponents 7 (lost 6)
– Field Goals: Michigan 21-of-27 – Opponents 10-of-10