Michigan Monday: Game 7 vs. Penn State

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Game Notes Nuggets

• Michigan is 6-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1976-77. It’s the third time under head coach Jim Harbaugh that the Wolverines have started with a 6-0 mark to begin the season (2016, ’21).

• U-M is scoring 43.0 points per game and allowing 11.3 points against, on average. The only teams with top-10 rankings in scoring offense and scoring defense are Alabama (sixth, offense; sixth, defense) and Michigan (seventh, offense; fifth, defense).

• The only teams with an average scoring differential above 30 points are Ohio State (+33.2), Alabama (+31.8), and Michigan (+31.7). Penn State ranks 11th nationally (third in the Big Ten) in this category at +19.6.

• Michigan’s offense is among the nation’s best in the following areas: red zone offense (90.9 percent, 25th), rushing offense (212.3 yards per game, 20th), total first downs (146, 16th), and tackles for loss allowed (four per game, 16th).

• The defense has a top-25 rank in first downs (93, 22nd), red zone defense (18.3 percent success allowed, 20th), pass defense (165.3 yards per game, 11th), team sacks (3.67 per game) and total defense (247.0 yards per game; both fifth).

• U-M has scored a touchdown on its opening possession in five of six games this season, including two straight at Iowa and at Indiana. U-M is outscoring its opponents by a cumulative tally of 143 to 23 in the first half with only two touchdowns allowed.

• Michigan’s +190 scoring differential trails only Alabama (+191) and Ohio State (+199). That figure ranks as U-M’s best mark through five weeks since the 1976 season (+183) and the third-best mark in the last century of Michigan Football (1925, +180). Michigan is one of three teams in the nation with an average margin of victory above 30 points (Alabama, +37.4; Ohio State, +34.0; U-M, +33.8).

• The only teams in program history with a better differential through six weeks are the 2016 (+238), 1976 (+214), and 1971 (+195) teams (since 1905).

Blake Corum has exactly 500 rushing yards and four touchdowns across three Big Ten games thus far, averaging 5.95 yards per carry in conference play. Across his last 11 Big Ten games (dating to 2021), Corum has totaled 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns on 5.95 yards per carry.

• Corum ranks third in the country in rushing yards (735), 26th in yards per carry (6.23), and second in total touchdowns (11). He also leads the country in first downs (46).

• PFFCollege credits Corum with 25 missed tackles forced on 118 carries this season. He also has 19 runs of 10-plus yards (t-fourth-most), just three fewer than his 2021 total (22), which came on 144 rushes. 

• So far this season, the offensive line has paved the way to an average of 5.67 yards per sack-adjusted carry, and 6.9 yards per play overall.

The U-M offensive line has permitted 24 negative plays on an even 400 offensive snaps (four per game), or on 6.0 percent of all offensive snaps. When the line does allow a sack, it comes on an average of 5.65 seconds to throw, second-most among those with 120-plus dropbacks.

Opponents have hurried or sacked a U-M passer 12 times across 24 quarters of play. U-M ballcarriers have lost just 51 yards on 238 rush attempts (does not include sacks).

J.J. McCarthy’s completion percentage remains the best in the country among qualified passers at 78.3 percent (94-of-120) and he’s fresh off his first career 300-yard passing game (304 at Indiana). Six of his nine passing touchdowns have come against the blitz.

• McCarthy has accounted for 10 touchdowns overall with a 7.5 touchdown percentage through the air. His season-long yards-per-attempt figure (9.6) ranks eighth in the nation. He also ranks fifth in pass efficiency (182.1) and has an NFL passer rating of 128.2 this season (fifth).

• When McCarthy starts and finishes a Michigan drive, U-M has produced 23 touchdowns and six field goals on 46 possessions, translating to points on 63 percent of drives. In five starts, the team has scored in 23 of 26 red zone trips (88.5 percent) with 20 touchdowns.

Ronnie Bell leads all pass catchers in catches (30) and yards (390), while Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson are tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns (three). Wilson is the leader in yards per catch (18.7) among those with multiple catches. Six different players have at least one touchdown catch.

• Wilson (3.86 yards per route run) and Bell (2.85) are among the Big Ten’s most efficient pass-catchers. Wilson is fourth in the country among those with 18-plus targets (three per game). Luke Schoonmaker (2.41) is the No. 3-ranked tight end in the league in that metric.

Mike Morris (7.0) leads the group in TFLs and sacks (5.0). His five sacks are second-most in the Big Ten, a half-sack shy off the lead. That production has come on 111 pass rush snaps for Morris; the conference leader has 168.

• Among defenders with at least 45 pass rush snaps, Morris leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the country in PFFCollege’s PRP (pass rush productivity) grade. In the category of ‘total pressures’, defined by sacks, hits, and hurries combined, he ranks fourth in the Big Ten (22).

Mike Sainristil has been one of the Big Ten’s best slot coverage players, allowing one reception very 13.6 snaps in coverage in that part of the field.

• Among punters with at least one punt per game (six), Brad Robbins‘ 4.38-second hang time is the best in the country, according to PFFCollege. He is the only punter in the nation above 4.3 seconds. The average among Big Ten punters who meet the same qualifications is 3.91 seconds.

• With Robbins directing the unit, no opponent has registered a punt return of 10-plus yards since U-M played Ohio State in the 2017 season (102 punts). So far this year, return attempts gain 3.4 yards on average.

• Eleven (13) of Robbins’ 18 punts have been downed, fair caught, or rolled out of bounds. The other five have been returned for a combined total of 17 yards. U-M is No. 3 in the nation in net punting (45.0 yards per attempt). The slim difference between Robbins’ yards per punt (46.2) and net yards per punt has long been the veteran’s calling card.

• Kicker Jake Moody has also cracked the top 10 in career scoring at U-M with 265 points (seventh). Next up on the list: Remy Hamilton (280 career points).

• PFF ranks Michigan as the No. 1 team in the nation in tackling; third in overall team ranking; fifth in run defense; sixth in total defense, total offense and rushing; seventh in pass coverage; tied-11th in special teams and 15th in receiving. The service also gives U-M a top-25 rank in run blocking and pass rush.

• Kraig Correll and Nikhai Hill-Green are the two Wolverines from the state of Pennsylvania. 

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