The 2017 Michigan football team finished 8-5 and did not beat a single team with a winning record. They were dominated on the road at Penn State, lost to Wisconsin on the road, and were defeated by Ohio State at home. Michigan started three different QBs due to injuries. The Michigan Defense was the only real consistent positive that would keep Michigan from a complete collapse.
In 2018 the Wolverines have lost to Notre Dame (Still Undefeated) on the road by 7 and recovered to now win 7 in a row including a blowout win over the Wisconsin Badgers, and these past weekends win on the road against #24 in the Ap Michigan State. The Wolverines find themselves in control of their destiny in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East after Ohio State was embarrassed on the road at Purdue on Saturday night.
The situational analysis comparison tool allows us to take a look at the improvements made by the Michigan football team year over year.
Michigan's 2018 offense through 8 games against the 2017 Michigan offense in 2017.
1st down conversion rate through the air and on the ground:
One of the critical pain points for Michigan in 2017 was their inability to sustain drives. In 2017 the Wolverines total first down conversion rate was 28% on through the air and 22% on the ground, in 2018 they have improved this number to 35% +7% through the air and 25% +3% on the ground.
Third down conversion rate:
Michigans 3rd down conversion rate in 2017 through the air saw a 29% success rate at 5.45 yards per play, on the ground they converted 36% with a 2.1 yard per play avg. In 2018 they have improved in both areas converting 31% of their attempts for 5.21 yards per play while converting 63% of their third down runs for 4.89 yards per pop. This is a major sign of how much Michigan has stayed ahead of the chains allowing for more diverse play calling on third down. Michigan already has ten more run plays in 8 games of 1-3 yds (37) on third down than all of 2017 combined (27).
Michigan has had a few issues int he red zone that are similar to the problems that plagued them in 2017, and this is an area that they must improve. 8% of their Ints in 2018 have been in the red zone compared to the 3% total from 2017. The Points per opportunity is double in 2018 (162%) compared to 2017's 81% total. Michigan is scoring when they reach the red area two times as many points in 2018 than 2017.
When leading by 1-7 points or 8-14 points:
When up by 1-7 points Michigan leans on their run game by a 46 to 24 ratio at 6.63 yards per rush attempt scoring 23.92 total points or 52% points per opportunity in 2018. In 2017 the Wolverines run-pass ration when up 1-7 points 103 to 77 with a 5.53 yards per rush attempt with a 35% points per opportunity rate on the ground. The 1 yard per carrying and the 17% points per opportunity increase can be credited to the new offensive line and strength and conditioning coach. Michigan has long wanted to line up with a lead and lean on their run game to wear defenses down late in games, and so far the coaching changes appear to have paid off for Michigan in 2018.