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November 5, 2012Since surrendering 21 points to Alabama in the first quarter, Michigan's defense has been almost impenetrable in the opening frame this season; the Wolverines have yielded just three points in the first quarter during their past eight games, achieving perfection in seven consecutive contests dating back to the Massachusetts' contest.
"They're well prepared," head coach Brady Hoke said. "Coach [Greg] Mattison and that staff do an excellent job preparing them."
Michigan has been stingy defensively overall this year, ranking seventh nationally in total defense (288.7 yards allowed per game), 13th in scoring (16.8 points per game) and first in pass defense (145.4 yards per game), with U-M dominating the first and third quarters in yielding just 24 and 26 points, respectively.
"I know when we come in at halftime, what you think the offense will do ... the more I've learned about game planning, you kind of guess what they're going to do, but there are always new wrinkles, and our coaches are so good that we can go in at halftime, and reorganize ourselves in a way that we compensate for those new wrinkles," said senior strongside defensive end Craig Roh.
U-M has struggled the most in the second quarter, surrendering an average of 88.2 yards and 7.1 points, allowing more than 100 yards three times in the second quarter. Comparatively, Michigan has yielded just 100 yards in a quarter just four other times. The Maize and Blue have also given up 10 or more points in the second quarter four times compared to just once in the three other quarters.
The Wolverines' data is skewed considerably by the first two games. In the last seven contests, Michigan has allowed just 44.4 yards and zero points in the first quarter, 83.1 yards and 6.7 points in the second quarter, 60.4 yards and 2.3 points in the third quarter, and 62.0 yards and 3.1 points in the fourth quarter.