Michigan Football: Stat Predictions for Wolverines' Top Offensive Stars in 2013
Michigan had one of the more average offenses last season, and that was shown in the Wolverines’ 8-5 record—including an Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina.
In 2012, Michigan averaged 29.8 points per game, which was the 57th best in the FBS, according to ESPN. The offense averaged 383.1 yards per game, which was the 79th best in the FBS, according to ESPN. The team has now put the offense in the hands of Devin Gardner, and things should be better this season.
Gardner is sure to lead Michigan to an impressive year, and as I recently wrote, he should have big numbers by the end of the season. Last season, Gardner completed 75-of-126 passes for 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also made an impact on the ground, running for 101 yards and seven touchdowns.
Gardner was only a part-time quarterback last season, though, and that’s why his numbers aren’t as eye-appealing as one might like after an 8-5 season. But for the most part, he was productive when he was on the field. He has the skill set to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country by the time the season concludes.
In 2013, look for Gardner to make an impact through the air as well as on the ground. At the end of the season, expect the Michigan quarterback to have thrown for at least 25 touchdowns and ran for no less than five. He could potentially throw for 3,000 yards, but 2,750 yards seems more realistic at the moment.
Aside from Gardner, how are the other big names for the Wolverines going to play in 2013? Here’s a look at how each offensive star performed on the field a year ago along with a prediction for how they’ll do in the upcoming season.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, Running Back
Fitzgerald Toussaint was the primary running back for the Wolverines last season, but he didn’t end the year with the most carries on the team; Denard Robinson, the starting quarterback for most of the year, ran the ball 47 more times. Toussaint ended the year with 514 yards and five touchdowns on 130 carries.
You could consider Toussaint’s 2012 campaign a down year considering how impressive he was in 2011. In that season, the running back carried the ball 187 times for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s probably the most to expect from Toussaint in the 2013 season. But is that too high for him?
Toussaint is coming off an ugly leg injury at the end of last season but still expects to start on August 31 against Central Michigan, according to Chantel Jennings of ESPN. Since he says he’ll be ready to go, expect a big year. He won’t hit 1,000 yards on the season but could certainly run for at least 800 in 2013.
Jeremy Gallon, Wide Receiver
Jeremy Gallon has improved each season since joining the Wolverines. In 2010, he caught just four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. Two years ago, he caught 31 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns. This past season was definitely his best, as he caught 49 passes for 829 yards and four scores.
While Gallon’s receptions have led to more yards each season, it’s important to take a look at how many yards he’s gaining per catch. In 2012, he averaged 16.9 yards per catch, which was the 28th best in FBS, according to ESPN. He had more than 200 yards than anyone else on the Wolverines a year ago.
The fact that Gardner is going to be the starting quarterback this season bodes well for Gallon. He likely won’t be running nearly as much as Robinson did, meaning Gallon will have more opportunities to catch balls for big yardage. Expect at least 1,000 yards and more than five touchdowns for him this season.
All statistics in this article were obtained via ESPN unless otherwise noted.
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