Though Michigan‘s defense is the only reason the Wolverines have been able to avoid being completely blown out by teams this season, they’re still not forcing turnovers, which is something that needs to begin happening tonight at Rutgers.
Michigan ranks 127th out of 128 teams in forced turnovers per game with 0.4. Yes, the Wolverines’ defense is not even forcing half a turnover per game this season, and that’s just terrible. It was a big focus coming into the year for defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, but those plans have not come to life yet. I hate to place blame on Michigan’s defense when the offense is playing so terribly, but it’s tough for a struggling offense to have to start inside its own 20-yard-line so often.
Tonight might be a good opportunity to start forcing turnovers. Rutgers’ offense, though better than we originally thought, is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to turning the ball over with an average of two giveaways per game. Most of those turnovers are interceptions thrown by quarterback Gary Nova, who is prolific at times, but struggles with consistency, very much so like Devin Gardner.
Michigan’s defense can be counted upon to come up with a stop, but when it comes to forcing turnovers and shifting the momentum of the game, that is something totally lacking right now. Tonight’s game against Rutgers will be another opportunity to take that next step for this defense, and we all know this team needs it.