The Wolverine

2021 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY CLAYTON SAYFIE U nique" is one way to describe the 2020 college football season that was played amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. "Disappointing" — to put it lightly — was one of the top adjectives to describe what the season was like for Michigan, which finished with a 2-4 record and a win percentage (.333) that checks in as the eighth-worst in program history. Breaking in a new quarterback after two seasons with Shea Patterson and replacing four starters along the offensive line, the Wolverines' offense took a major step back in year two under coordinator Josh Gattis. The unit finished 66th nationally in scoring offense (28.3 points per game) and 78th in total offense (381.8 yards per contest). Redshirt sophomore signal-caller Joe Milton, who completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 1,077 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions, proved not to be the answer (he has since transferred to Tennessee), while redshirt freshman Cade McNamara, who connected on 60.6 percent of his pass attempts for 425 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions, showed flashes of promise. The defense, meanwhile, took a few steps back in its fifth year under coordinator Don Brown, who was ultimately dismissed following the campaign. It was the pass defense, which ranked 96th in the country (255.5 yards per outing), failing in some games and the run defense, which finished 79th in the land (178.8 yards a contest), in others. The disappointment wasn't just on the field, either. The Wol- verines saw their season come to an abrupt end after six games due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, and they didn't play archrival Ohio State for the first time since 1917. A season that began with a blowout win on the road against a ranked Minnesota team ended with the program facing more ques- tions than answers. 2020 2020 THE YEAR IN REVIEW 140 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2021 FOOTBALL PREVIEW " Head coach Jim Harbaugh has posted a 49-22 record in six seasons at Michigan. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Losses Pile Up, Pressure Mounts For Michigan Football In 2020 TEAM STATISTICS U-M OPP. Total First Downs 116 144 Rushing 36 57 Passing 71 73 Penalty 9 14 Total Net Yards 2,291 2,606 Total Plays 385 466 Yards Per Play 6.0 5.6 Yards Per Game 381.8 434.3 Rushing Attempts-Yards 172-789 258-1,073 Yards Per Attempt 4.6 4.2 Yards Per Game 131.5 178.8 Pass Att.-Comp.-Int. 213-123-4 208-123-2 Passing Yards 1,502 1,533 Yards Per Completion 12.2 12.5 Yards Per Game 250.3 255.5 Punting: No.-Avg. 28-42.6 27-43.1 Fumbles-Lost 4-2 3-1 Penalties-Yards 35-345 32-288 Sacks By-Yards Lost 9-67 8-54 Third-Down Conversions 27-75 43-93 Conversion Percentage 36.0 46.2 Fourth-Down Conversions 4-9 5-8 Conversion Percentage 44.4 62.5 Avg. Time Of Possession 25:38 34:22 SCORING BY QTR. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Total Michigan 42 24 49 42 13 170 Opponent 59 58 40 43 7 207

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