Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Offensive Indicators of Victory Revisted

Last August, I surmised that by looking at Michigan's average gain per rush and pass in a game you could get a very good idea of their chances of winning.

Well, let's take a look back at this last season (as not fun as that may be) and see how those numbers held for the Wolverines. The magic numbers were >7 yards per pass and >4 yards per rush compared to <6 yards per pass and <3 yards per rush. Game by game:

Northern Illinois, 4.3 yards per rush, 7.2 yards per pass --- WIN
Notre Dame, 3.9 yards per rush, 5.1 yards per pass --- LOSS
Eastern Michigan, 4.1 yards per rush, 8.3 yards per pass --- WIN
Wisconsin, 4.1 yards per rush, 7.6 yards per pass --- LOSS
Michigan State, 5.4 yards per rush, 7.1 yards per pass --- WIN
Minnesota, 2.8 yards per rush, 5.3 yards per pass --- LOSS
Penn State, 4.2 yards per rush, 5.9 yards per pass --- WIN
Iowa, 3.0 yards per rush, 10.0 yards per pass --- WIN
Northwestern, 4.4 yards per rush, 5.8 yards per pass --- WIN
Indiana, 4.4 yards per rush, 5.6 yards per pass --- WIN
Ohio State, 1.3 yards per rush, 6.0 yards per pass --- LOSS
Nebraska, 3.1 yards per rush, 6.3 yards per pass --- LOSS


So there you have the numbers. What to make of it? Well Michigan was 3-1 in games where the offense hit both marks with the only loss at Wisconsin in what was truely a strange game (it marks the first loss for Michigan in 4 years when both the rushing and passing attacks were that proficient at moving the ball). Michigan was 6-1 when rushing for > 4 yards per carry, and they were 4-1 when passing for > 7 yards per attempt. Michigan was also 0-2 when failing to rush for 3 yards per carry and 3-2 when failing to pass for 6 yards per carry.

Not a lot of data, but it would be interesting to see what sort of marks other teams put up in similar categories. For instance, does a great defensive team become almost unbeatable when rushing for 4 yards per carry or is their passing game more important?

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