RUSH OFFENSE vs. MINNESOTA RUSH DEFENSE
Michigan is #31 in rushing offense (184 yards/game) and #33 in yards per carry (4.95). Blake Corum is at 5.74 yards per carry and is tied for the national lead rushing touchdowns with 9 despite being tied for #31 in rushing attempts. (The other two players with 9 scores are Marshall’s Rasheen Ali and Georgia State’s Marcus Carroll, who have 91 and 115 carries, respectively, compared to Corum’s 74.) Kalel Mullings had his first kind of breakout game with 5 carries for 43 yards last week and now has 15 attempts for 100 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown last Saturday. Donovan Edwards has been clunking along at 3.34 yards/carry (3.43 last week, though!) so we’re still waiting for him to show his elite capabilities in the open field. Minnesota is #54 in rushing defense (127.2 yards allowed/game) and #81 in yards allowed per carry (4.18). Somehow they held North Carolina to 2.84 yards/carry a few weeks ago, but last week Louisiana-Lafayette carved them up for 177 yards on just 27 attempts. Freshman linebacker Maverick Baranowski (6’3″, 230) leads the team with 35 tackles, followed by senior safety Jack Henderson (6’3″, 215) with 30 and sophomore safety Darius Green (6’1″, 200) with 27. The Golden Gophers play a 3-4 look with senior Kyler Baugh (6’2″, 305) at nose tackle, where he has 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks on the year. Baranowski has 3.0 tackles for loss and JACK linebacker Danny Striggow (6’5″, 255) has 4.0, so they’re decent at getting into the backfield at times. But Michigan should have good success in the run game.
Hit the jump for more.
PASS OFFENSE vs. MINNESOTA PASS DEFENSE
Michigan is #74 in passing offense (227.4 yards/game), but the efficiency is there with 9.8 yards/attempt (#17) and they rank #10 in PER. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is #5 in PER as an individual and #3 in completion percentage (79.0%). But you know who’s #1, both literally and, you know, statistically? Roman Wilson. Yes, receiver Wilson wears the #1 jersey and also ranks #1 in touchdown receptions with 8 (tied with LSU’s Brian Thomas, whose 33-to-19 reception advantage is significant.) Wilson averages 17.2 yards/catch and had a ridiculous touchdown grab secured on the back of a Nebraska player’s helmet last week. Cornelius Johnson has 15 catches for 256 yards, and his 17.1 yards/catch is just a tiny bit behind Wilson’s . . . but with just 1 touchdown reception so far. Michigan’s line is tied at #4 in sacks allowed per game (0.6), which is helped out by the mobile J.J. McCarthy, who averages 7.3 yards per carry and scored a TD on a scramble last week. Minnesota is #78 in passing defense (238.2 yards allowed/game) and they’re #73 in passing efficiency defense. That’s despite being tied for #4 in the country with 8 interceptions, led by senior strong safety Tyler Nubin (6’2″, 210) with 3 picks. The aforementioned Henderson has 2. Minnesota is #65 in sacks with 2.2 per game and is led by Striggow (3.0), Baugh (2.5), and junior Jah Joyner (1.5). The weak spots are the corners with senior Elon transfer Tre’von Jones (6’0″, 180) and junior corner Justin Walley (5’11”, 190).
RUSH DEFENSE vs. MINNESOTA RUSH OFFENSE
Michigan ranks #14 in rush defense (85.2 yards allowed/game) and #27 in yards per carry allowed (3.11). Last week the Wolverines held everything in check until the very end of the game, when backup-to-the-backup running back Joshua Fleeks broke off a 74-yard touchdown against a bunch of Michigan’s second- and third-stringers. Linebacker Junior Colson paces the team in tackles (24), followed by fellow starting linebacker Michael Barrett (19) and backup inside linebacker Ernest Hausmann (16). Defensive tackle Mason Graham (10 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks) hurt his hand a couple weeks ago, but he is expected back against the Gophers. Minnesota running back Darius Taylor (5’11”, 210) has been a revelation, running 87 times for 532 yards (6.1 yards/carry) and 4 touchdowns. Backups Sean Tyler, Zach Evans, and Bryce Williams have combined for 81 carries for 351 yards (4.3 yards/carry) and 2 scores. Last week with Taylor out due to injury, they combined for 51 carries for 201 yards (3.94 yards/carry) and 3 touchdowns in a 35-24 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Up front on the line, Michigan transfer Chuck Filiaga is gone and he has been replaced by 6’7″, 335 lb. Martes Lewis at right guard . . . but Lewis is a step down. The best lineman is 6’7″, 315 lb. right tackle Quinn Carroll, who transferred from Notre Dame. It’s not a great offensive line, but Minnesota has allowed the ninth fewest tackles for loss this season. This might be tough sledding anyway, but if Taylor doesn’t play, it’s going to be very difficult for Minny to move the ball.
PASS DEFENSE vs. MINNESOTA PASS OFFENSE
Michigan is #11 in pass defense (160.6 yards allowed/game) and #37 in yards per attempt allowed (6.6). They’re one of two teams (along with Penn State) to have allowed just 1 receiving touchdown this year. This is all pretty impressive stuff considering starting safety Rod Moore has been injured, and when he’s been on the field, he hasn’t been himself . . . and the other starting safety, Makari Paige, has also missed time due to injury . . . and Freshman All-American cornerback Will Johnson has also been injured . . . and Mike Sainristil got hurt last week . . . and the only consistent player has been UMass transfer corner Josh Wallace. The Wolverines have found a decent collective pass rush effort, but no single pass rusher has really separated himself this season. Minnesota is #126 in passing offense (149 yards/game), #117 in yards per attempt (6.1), and #115 in passing efficiency. Sophomore quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis (6’4″, 215) has completed 58.7% of his throws for 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He seems to be playing better the past couple weeks, though, completing more than 73% of his passes and averaging at least 8.1 yards per attempt against Northwestern and Louisiana-Lafayette in that time. Senior receiver Daniel Jackson (6’1″, 200) is the main guy through the air with 20 catches for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sixth year senior tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford (6’7″, 270) has 12 catches for just 66 yards this season. Minnesota is tied at #27 with just 1.2 sacks allowed per game. The Gophers have been relatively RPO-happy over P.J. Fleck’s time, so that helps with the pass protection when defenders have to hesitate to see whether it’s a run or pass.
- Minnesota players who were offered by Michigan: DL Hayden Schwartz, RB Darius Taylor
- Minnesota players from the state of Michigan: LB Taylor Stolsky (Portage Central), RB Darius Taylor (Walled Lake Western), QB Drew Viotto (Walled Lake Western)
- Michigan does not have any players from Minnesota
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED…
- On October 24, 2020, Michigan pummeled Minnesota by a score of 49-24
- QB Joe Milton completed 15/22 passes for 225 yards and 1 touchdown while also rushing for 52 yards and 1 score
- RB Hassan Haskins had 6 carries for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns
- RB Zach Charbonnet ran 4 times for 70 yards and 1 touchdown
- DT Donovan Jeter returned a fumble forced by LB Michael Barrett for a TD
- Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan (now an analyst for the Gophers) completed 18/31 throws for 197 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception
- Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim ran 26 times for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns
- Michigan 42, Minnesota 13 (if Darius Taylor plays)
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