Numbers: Crunching stats for title time

November is upon us. It used to be the month when championships were decided. How very 2010. Now, it’s the month when spots in the Championship Game are decided. All in the name of progress…

In an odd scheduling quirk, there is just one game in the early window on Saturday – as Minnesota and Michigan battle for the Little Brown Jug in a game you can see on BTN/BTN2Go.

Obviously, much of the focus will be on the health of Michigan’s Denard Robinson, after he left the Nebraska game Saturday with an elbow injury. Without him, the Wolverines offense ground to a halt.

2007: Michigan was held under 100 yards rushing and passing against Nebraska – the first time that has happened since their 14-3 loss to Ohio State in the final game of the 2007 regular season.

Russell Bellomy struggled mightily when he came in for Robinson, throwing as many interceptions as completions. He certainly didn’t get any help from the tailback run game, though – an ongoing issue for the Wolverines.

5, 0: Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint had 5 games with more than 100 rushing yards last season. He has 0 this year. In fact, no Michigan running back has gone over 100. Thomas Rawls came the closest when he went for 90 yards against Illinois.

The Wolverines will need some sort of running game against an improved Gophers defense, as passing the ball against Minnesota has become a far bigger challenge.

[RELATED: Track the latest football statistical leaders in the Big Ten.]

66.7%, 54.4%: Last year, Gophers’ opponents completed 66.7% of their passing attempts – only four teams nationally were worse. This year, Minnesota is allowing a completion percentage of 54.4% – 18th best in the nation.

Impressive as that number is, it’s nothing compared to what Nebraska is doing.

47.5%: Huskers’ opponents are completing 47.5% on the season – the lowest percentage nationally.

Nebraska visits a Michigan State team fresh off a three-point overtime win at Wisconsin. The close game continued a trend for the Spartans.

6: Michigan State has had 6 games decided by 4 or fewer points so far this season. That is the most in the nation.

With the win, Michigan State heads into November riding some momentum. It’s a month that’s been good to them under Mark Dantonio.

13-3, 5-19: The Spartans are (13-3) in November in five seasons under Dantonio. They were (5-19) in the month in the seven seasons before he arrived in East Lansing.

MSU isn’t the only team that’s happy to see the calendar turn. Last year aside, the month has been incredibly good lately to Ohio State.

Braxton Miller

US Presswire

3,1: The Buckeyes lost 3 November games last season. They had dropped just 1 game total in the month before that since 2005.

This week, Ohio State faces an Illinois team that, frankly, will probably be happy to see December come. It’s tough to isolate just one issue in a very rough opening season for Tim Beckman in Champaign, but this next one certainly doesn’t help.

30: After surrendering seven sacks to Indiana, including six in the fourth quarter, the Illini have now allowed 30 sacks on the season. Only three teams nationally have yielded more.

The Illini missed out on a golden opportunity for their first conference win in that game against the Hoosiers. For Indiana, it was a breakthrough victory – the first in conference play under Kevin Wilson. Stephen Houston played a major role in the victory – scoring three touchdowns.

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9: Houston has now scored at least one TD in 9 straight games. That is the longest active streak in the nation. It’s also the second longest in IU history – trailing only a 12-game run by Anthony Thompson between 1988 and ’89.

This week, Houston squares off against an Iowa run defense that has been having its problems.

349: The Hawkeyes gave up 349 rushing yards last week against Northwestern – the 3rd-most in any game under Kirk Ferentz. They’ve allowed 564 yards on the ground over the last two weeks.

The first game in that stretch was against Penn State – as the Nittany Lions ran for 215 yards against the Hawks and threw for 289.

Penn State couldn’t get the run game going at all last weekend in the loss to Ohio State, but Matt McGloin did have another big game through the air – throwing for 327 yards.

4th: The game was the 4th 300-yard passing game of McGloin’s career, tying a school record held by Kerry Collins.

Not surprisingly given Bill O’Brien’s background with the Patriots (think Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski), the tight ends have been a big part of McGloin’s success.

61: Nittany Lion tight ends have caught 61 passes so far this season – most for any team nationally.

This week’s opponent, Purdue, had another poor defensive outing against Minnesota, yielding 44 points – the most the Gophers have scored against them since 1993.

After a dreadful stretch offensively which saw them punt 6 times and turn it over once in a span of seven possessions against Minnesota, the Boilers did put together a few scoring drives when the game was out of reach. They ended the game with 381 total yards, which led to this statistical anomaly.

1st: The game marked the 1st time since the start of the 2010 season that Purdue had lost a game where it gained 380 or more yards. The Boilers are now (10-1) in such games.

See you Saturday for “The Big Ten Football Pregame Show” presented by Auto-Owners Insurance Pregame. All the fun starts at 11 a.m.  ET. On the show, we’ll air our Daydrion Taylor-Bob Stephenson feature that looks back at the vicious 1997 hit that ended both players’ careers.

Watch a preview of the feature below:

BTN’s Dave Revsine hosts a number of TV shows, including our Big Ten Football Pregame show every Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. His popular Big Ten football stats column “Numbers” runs Thursdays during the football season. Find previous columns here, subscribe to his “Numbers” RSS feed, and follow him on Twitter @BTNDaveRevsine.

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