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Get to Know the Opponent: Michigan

Some initial stats as we move deeper into rivalry week.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State saved its season with an upset win at Penn State last week. Now it’s rivalry week, and there is no time for a letdown. No need to hype it up anymore because, this game will be used as rivalry fodder for the winner for the next year.

School: University of Michigan

Nickname: Wolverines

Conference: Big Ten (East Division)

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh (4th season)

Record: 6-1 (4-0 in Big Ten)

Mascot: Walmart Wolverine (unofficial)

All Time Series: Michigan leads 54-34-4 (Michigan State has won 8 of 10)

We all know the history between these two schools, but if you want some ammo to toss back when Michigan fans bring up the all-time series record remind them that since 1950 UM leads only 36-30-2, so it’s really not nearly as lopsided over the last nearly 70 years as some would pretend it to be.

If you are looking for other trends, when both teams are ranked, as is the case this week, Michigan State leads 10-6-1.

Team Stats

Let’s start on offense where Michigan comes in at number 23 nationally averaging 38.1 points per game. They are 52nd in total offense at 424 yards per game and 22nd in yards per play at 6.47.

On the ground the Wolverines have the 28th best rushing attack in the country at 217 yards per game. They are 20th in yards per carry at 5.35 yards per attempt.

Through the air the Wolverines are averaging 207 yards per game, checking in at 94th in the country. Now they are significantly better in yards per pass, ranking 29th overall at 8.3 yards per attempt. They have 12 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

As has been the case the last few years, the Michigan defense is very good and quite stingy. They are 8th in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 15.4 points per game. They are number two in total defense and yards per play allowing 238 yards per game and 3.93 yards per play.

The Wolverines are 15th in rushing defense allowing 108.86 yards per game and 13th in yards per rush at 3.07 yards per attempt, although they have allowed eight rushing TD’s.

Through the air it’s even tougher as Michigan boasts the number one total pass defense in the country. They allow just 129.1 passing yards per game and are number three in yards per pass at 5.1 per attempt. They have more interceptions (7) than touchdown passes allowed (5). They also have three interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Key Players

Quarterback Shea Patterson has been an improvement at the position. He is completing 69% of his passes and averaging 8.3 yards per attempt. Patterson has 10 touchdowns against just three interceptions on the season.

Patterson has also been a mild threat to run, with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on an average of 3.78 yards per carry. He had a huge run last week against Wisconsin.

Karan Higdon averages over 114 yards per game on the ground and 5.73 yards per carry. He has six rushing touchdowns and is by far the Wolverines top ground threat. He isn’t a huge threat in the passing game but does have three catches for 31 yards.

In the receiving corps the top pass catchers are tight end Zach Gentry and wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones who have both caught 21 passes. Gentry leads the team in receiving yards with 311, while DPJ leads them in touchdowns with five. Nico Collins has also hauled in 18 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown this year.

On defense it is Devin Bush and Chase Winovich up front. Bush leads the team with three sacks and 45 tackles and is second with six tackles for loss. Winovich leads the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and is tied for second with three sacks.

In the secondary Josh Metellus leads the team with three interceptions, including a pick-six. He is also fourth on the team in total tackles.

On special teams Quinn Nordin has made 11-of-14 field goal tries and 30 of 31 extra points.

Oh by the way three years ago today this happened...