Michigan Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

Michigan Wolverines
Big Ten


Michigan finished the 2012 campaign with a disappointing 8-4 overall record. However, those four losses were to very good teams. The Wolverines kicked off the season against Alabama, losing 14-41. The next loss was at Notre Dame, which obviously turned out not to be a bad loss at all. The two conference blemishes came at Nebraska and at undefeated Ohio State. While none of those are bad losses, the best wins were probably at home against Michigan State and Northwestern. The Wolverines had plenty of chances for huge wins, but came away instead with four losses.

2012 Record: 8-4, 6-2
Coach: Brady Hoke
Coach Bowl Record: 2-1

Big Wins: 10/20 Michigan State (12-10), 11/10 Northwestern (38-31)
Bad Losses: 9/1 at Alabama (14-41), 10/27 at Nebraska (9-23)

Everybody likes to talk about Denard Robinson and the Michigan offense, but it has been the defense that has led to the Wolverines beating the teams they should beat. In the heart of the season, Michigan held five straight opponents to 13 points or fewer, including Notre Dame, Purdue and Michigan State. That is a huge step in the right direction considering how bad this defense has been over the last few years. The unit does not get much pressure on the quarterback or force many turnovers, but they play solid, straight up defense on nearly every play. There is not much flash, just good old fashioned Big Ten football led by a bruising front four that forces the opposition to run left to right. And that is when linebackers Jake Ryan, Desmond Morgan and Kenny Demens come up and make the tackle. Corner J.T. Floyd is an experienced player and Raymon Taylor is developing into a cornerback that can make some big plays, but neither has been tested consistently this season. But when the secondary does have to make a play, they usually do and that is a big change under second year coach Brady Hoke.

With Robinson, the offense can be impossible to stop. But in the season finale, Robinson was just the token starting quarterback. After that he lined up out wide and took some snaps in the wildcat formation. Wherever he is playing, Robinson is a great athlete and is finally healthy after missing a couple games. Robinson led the team in rushing attempts and yards, ending with 1,166 yards and seven touchdowns on 154 carries. Devin Gardner has been much more productive through the air than Robinson during his limited time under center. Gardner’s completion percentage is nearly a full ten percent higher than Robinson’s and his yards per attempt is sitting at 11.2, compared to Robinson’s 7.9. Gardner has already proven to be a pretty good mid-range passer. The opposition has a lot to prepare for when Robinson is coming in and out and Gardner is adding another rushing threat to the backfield. But when the receivers are not helping out Gardner or Robinson when they throw the ball, it becomes pretty easy to stack the box and contain the Michigan offense.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Denard Robinson, QB, 1,166 yards
Passing: Denard Robinson, QB, 1,319 yards
Receiving: Jeremy Gallon, WR, 684 yards
Tackles: Jake Ryan, LB, 84
Sacks: Jake Ryan, LB, 4.5
Interceptions: Raymon Taylor, CB, 2; Thomas Gordon, S, 2

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 187.33 (40th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 198.08 (95, 6)
Total Offense: 385.42 (80, 7)    
Scoring Offense: 30.00 (56, 5)
Rushing Defense: 156.00 (56, 6)
Pass Defense: 155.17 (2, 2)
Total Defense: 311.17 (12, 3)
Scoring Defense: 18.75 (20, 3)
Turnover Margin: -.67 (100, 10)
Sacks: 1.58 (87, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 1.25 (24, 1)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Sugar Bowl        Virginia Tech (23-20)
2010    Gator Bowl        Mississippi State (14-52)
2007    Capital One Bowl    Florida (41-35)
2006    Rose Bowl        USC (18-32)
2005    Alamo Bowl        Nebraska (28-32)

*all team stats through 11/24


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