Whither the Wildcat Offense?

Northwestern has had an effective offense this season, leading the Wildcats to its 7-3 record. Problem is, the NW offensive stars are injured. Here is the NW "O" vs. the U-M "D" -- but in this case do the numbers matter?

Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher is 2nd in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 243.0 yards per game, 212.5 passing and 30.5 rushing. He is 4th in the league in passing, averaging 212.5 yards per game (59.1% completion rate). However, for Bacher, this is over eight games, not 10. He has been out with a hamstring injury, although for this coming Saturday he is somewhere between probable and questionable ... closer probably to probable.

In Bacher's absence last week against OSU, Mike Kafka, known as primarily a runner, ran 29 times for 126 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and through the air was 18-27 for 177 yards (9.8 ypc) and one int.

The Wildcats have also been hit hard in the RB dept. with their star Tyrell Sutton out with a dislocated wrist (in 8 games he is 5th in the league in rushing at 97 yards a game, 5.0 ypc), and backup Omar Conteh out with a knee injury. Against OSU, third string RB Stephen Simmons rushed 14 times for 39 yards (2.4 ypc).

At any rate, here is the NW "O" vs. the U-M "D" by the numbers.

Northwestern overall: (7-3 overall, 3-3 Big Ten)

Syracuse W, 30-10
at Duke W, 24-20
Southern Illinois W, 33-7
Ohio W, 16-8
at Iowa W, 22-17
Michigan State L, 37-20
Purdue W, 48-26
at Indiana L, 21-19
at Minnesota W, 24-17
Ohio State L, 45-10

Northwestern's Average score: 24.6 (8th in the league) to 20.817.9 (6th in the league).
Michigan is 10th in the league in scoring defense, giving up 28.4 per game.

Northwestern is 5th in the league in total offense, averaging 368.8 yards per game.
U-M is 10th in the league in total defense, giving up 393.6 yards per game.

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NORTHWESTERN RUSHING OFFENSE vs U-M RUSHING DEFENSE:

Northwestern's Rushing: 160.3 yards per game (4.2 yards per carry), 7th in the B-10.

Michigan Rushing defense: 135.2 yards per game (3.5 yards per carry), 6th in the Big 10.

For Michigan, Obi Ezeh leads in tackles, averaging 8.6 per game, 6th best in the B-10.
Brandon Harrison is 20th best in the conference with 6.3 per game.
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NORTHWESTERN PASSING OFFENSE vs U-M PASSING DEFENSE:

Northwestern's Passing: 208.5 yards per game, 5th in the Big Ten. NW is 8th in the league in pass efficiency.

Michigan Passing defense: 10th in the league, giving up 237.8 yards per game. In pass efficiency defense, U-M is 9th in the conference.

Northwestern's receivers Lane Ross and Eric Peterman are 7th and 9th the league in receptions per game, at 4.2 and 3.9, and Peterman is 9th in receiving yards per game, 46.4.

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MISC.

Northwestern is 2nd in the league in 3rd down conversions, 46.8%.
Michigan is 10th in the league in 3rd down defense, allowing a 38.8% conversion rate.

Northwestern is 5th in the league in Red Zone offense, scoring 86.4% of the time.
Michigan is 4th in the league in Red Zone defense, allowing a 77.5% scoring rate.

Northwestern is 10th in the league in turnover margin, at -.6 per game.
Michigan is last in the league in turnover margin, at -.9 per game.

Northwestern is 2nd in the league in sacks allowed, allowing 1.4 per game.
Michigan is 6th in the league in sacking the QB, with 2.3 per game.

Zoltan Mesko leads the league in punting, averaging 44.6 yards per punt (and he's turning into quite a running back as well!)

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