Citrus Bowl Preview: Rush Offense vs. Alabama Rush Defense

Citrus Bowl Preview: Rush Offense vs. Alabama Rush Defense

December 21, 2019
Shane Lee (image via Touchdown Alabama)

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Michigan is #81 in rush offense after twelve games with 150 yards per contest. As a team they average 3.98 yards per carry, which is 89th in the nation, but they’re tied at #37 for touchdowns (26). Freshman Zach Charbonnet had double-digit carries in five out of the first eight games, including weeks five through eight; however, redshirt freshman Hassan Haskins has double-digit attempts in six out of the last seven games. Haskins (561 yards, 5.5 YPC, 4 TD) doesn’t have breakaway speed but does a good job of getting downhill and squaring up his shoulders. Charbonnet (642 yards, 4.7 YPC, 11 TD) has shown a good nose for the goal line in short yardage situations. Michigan’s offensive line is healthy going into the bowl game. All five players earned some sort of all-conference designation, and the left side is anchored by seniors Jon Runyan, Jr. and Ben Bredeson. Altogether, they have disappointingly been unable to push around opposing defensive lines not named Illinois or Notre Dame. Right tackle Jalen Mayfield shows flashes of excellence and superb athleticism, but he’s also prone to some mental mistakes.

Hit the jump for more.

Alabama is #36 in rushing defense (135 yards allowed/game) and #43 in yards per carry allowed (3.82). They have only allowed 9 rushing touchdowns all season, which is tied for #8 nationally. (Side note: Georgia has only allowed ONE rushing TD all year; the lowest in the last decade was Alabama allowing three in 2011.) The other two ranked teams Alabama has faced, LSU and Auburn, have scored 3 and 2 rushing touchdowns, respectively. In Alabama’s 3-4 defense, a bit of an oddity exists with free safety Xavier McKinney (6’1″, 200 lbs.) leading the team in tackles with 85. Redshirt freshman Shane Lee (6’0″, 246) is second with 77 stops, and weakside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (6’3″, 259) is next with 73. The Crimson Tide are #62 in tackles for loss (72), led by Jennings with 12. Second-place TFLer Terrell Lewis (with 11.5) is not participating in the bowl game as he prepares for the NFL. Redshirt sophomore backup Chris Allen (6’4″, 250) has 8 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks on the season.

Advantage: I think Michigan should get a decent effort out of the running game. Alabama isn’t as dominant defensively as they have been, and they’re dealing with some injuries and early departures. Michigan doesn’t get big plays against anyone, but they should be able to churn out some yards. I expect that Michigan will end up right around its average of 150 yards rushing.


  1. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Dec 21, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    150 would be great in this game. Not enough to win, but better than games against ohio, PennSt, Wisconsin & Iowa

    We’re gonna need turnovers & great field position to really move the ball

    • Comments: 27
      Joined: 9/25/2019
      Dec 21, 2019 at 10:45 AM

      One things for sure we’ll need to score to win (I’m wise beyond my years, right? Lol).

      Let me put that another way…There is no way that M can stop Alabama’s running game, so they better be able to counter that by scoring enough to try and stop from getting flat run the hell over.

  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    Alabama D is 43rd in in ypc. Michigan O is 89th is ypc.

    Alabama has a top 10 defense and Michigan a top 25 offense per both S&P and FEI.

    I’m thinking that ypc stat isn’t all that meaningful.

  3. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:22 PM

    I’m skeptical this team will get to 150 yards rushing but they are LONG overdue for a big yardage rushing play.

    Against other top 10ish defenses:
    OSU: 91 yards (3.5 ypc)
    PSU: 141 yards (3.4 ypc)
    Iowa: 120 yards (3.6 ypc)
    Wisc: 40 yards (2.5 ypc)

    Get the ball to Giles and let’s see if we can break one.

    • Comments: 3844
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 23, 2019 at 3:08 PM

      Alabama has allowed 150+ rushing yards to Ole Miss, #1 LSU, Mississippi State, and #9 Auburn.

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