Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

Big Ten

Big Ten Football Preview Keys To Every Team: Offense

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Biggest Key To The Michigan Wolverines Offense

What’s one thing that the Michigan offense can do really, really well? Start with simply being able to go on long drives on a regular basis.

The offense finished seventh in the Big Ten and 68th in the nation, he was eighth in the conference in rushing, and fifth in passing. The downfield air attack worked, but there was a big, big problem with the O’s consistency.

The rushing attack rocked against Notre Dame, and it failed to hit 100 yards in its last three regular season games. The passing attack threw for over 300 yards in those three games, but it struggled on third downs way too often and then-QB Shea Patterson always seemed like he was about to turn the ball over – even though he wasn’t all that bad at ball security.

Start with third down conversions. The Wolverines failed to convert on any of its ten tries against Wisconsin, and only converted 15% of their chances against Ohio State – both losses.

Michigan is 1-5 over the last three years when it fails to convert at least 30%.

Combine that with the running game that failed to average four yards per carry. Struggle a bit on the ground, put pressure on a passing game that didn’t hit 60% of its passes, and there aren’t easy third down tries.

By comparison – or coincidence – the 2018 team averaged close to five yards per carry, Patterson hit 65% of his throws, and the team converted close to 49% of its third down tries.

Biggest Key To The Michigan State Spartans Offense

Consistency in the passing game will be everything. More of a running game is a must, but that will come with more of a commitment to it. Last season, Michigan State won when it threw well, and it lost when it didn’t.

When the O cranked up 300 yards or more through the air, the team went 4-0. When the passing game had three touchdown passes or more, the record was 3-0.

In the six losses, the Spartans threw a grand total of three touchdown passes with ten interceptions, and they only completed more than 57% of their passes in one of those games – hitting 62% in the loss to Arizona State.

The team isn’t going to be good enough to make any noise unless most of the parts are working. It’s not going to be able to challenge for anything big unless the passing game is great.

NEXT: Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers

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