Three out of the Wolverines' first five drives resulted in field goal attempts. With just two of the kicks making it through the up rights through the first thirty minutes of play, Michigan blew several opportunities to put the ball in the end zone. Drives of 49, 44 and 67 yards all stalled in Nebraska territory, leaving offensive coordinator Al Borges wanting more out of his offense.
"We got in sync pretty good," said Borges. "I think we had three drives of ten plays or more. Mix of run to pass was pretty good. I felt like we were really starting to get into sync, and it's just unfortunate. We're not doing a good job of finishing drives—and that's our main focus for this week, particularly in the red area because this is not the first time this has happened."
Michigan ranks 16th in the country in red zone scoring percentage at nearly 90 percent per trip, which is up 5 percent compared to 2011. At home that percentage climbs to 100, but in road games that percentage falls to just 78 percent.
Lack of production in the running game is killer, particularly with Michigan's tailbacks, who combined for a total of 32 yards against Nebraska.
"I've just found in my experience as a coordinator, that the best red zone years we had are the years we were able to rush the football for a touchdown probably about 60 percent of the time or better," Borges said.
"It gets increasingly more difficult to throw it down there obviously because of the condensed field," he added.
Michigan's running back unit has combined for just 9 rushing touchdowns through the first 8 games of the 2012 season. Compare that to 2011 when the Wolverine RB's were able to rush for 11 at this time—not to mention another 10 rushing touchdowns out of Denard Robinson who has only seen the end zone in rushing situations 6 times this year.
Borges isn't into pointing fingers at one position though.
"I think it's a combination of everybody," said Borges. "If I said that I'd be talking out of both sides of my mouth. I think there's times it's the line and there's times it's the back, and times it's the quarterback and times it's the wide receiver. And again if you critique the tape you'll see. What I do, I go through every tape and I look at play kill charts. Why did the play not succeed? Who was responsible for the lack of the play?"
"I'm part of that, now," Borges said. "Bad calls. Dropped passes. Missed blocks. Errant throws. It tells me when we don't play well. And you guys are asking all these questions, every number shows up on that chart at one time or another, and it's usually not one guy with 10 of them."
The good news is the offense has a great opportunity to get the offense going, most importantly the running game, on the road Saturday against a Minnesota defense giving up 178 rushing yards per week and a total of 15 touchdowns on the ground in 2012.
To watch video of Borges from his Tuesday press conference, press play below.