Northwestern begins the stretch run of the 2013 season and it needs a win against Michigan to try and edge towards bowl eligibility. Fortunately, there are some stats that point to a Wildcat victory heading into the week.
NU is currently favored by 3, which, if the line holds, would be the only time the 'Cats have been favored against the Wolverines since at least 1986; in the 18 games during that span NU has been an underdog by an average of 18.1 points/game.
Under Fitz, Northwestern is 3-1 when favored in November games and is currently riding a 3 game winning streak in such games in which the 'Cats have won by an average margin of 24.3 points/game.
Michigan comes into the game unranked and receiving no votes in the major polls (AP & Coaches). The last time that happened, 2008, was NU's last win in the series. Additionally, the last 2:30PM CT start in the series also occurred in 2008.
The Wolverines are coming into the game with 3 losses. NU is 10-5 under Fitz when facing a team with 3 or more losses in the month of November.
Now time for some bad news: NU is coming off of a bye week, and Fitz is 0-5 following an in-season bye. Northwestern's last win following a bye was 2005 against Wisconsin. But, this is the first time that Northwestern will be favored coming off of a bye since at least 1995 (over that span, NU has played 11 games following an in-season bye and was an underdog by an average of 9.3 points; the 'Cats went 3-8 in those games).
And now, some ways in which NU has been successful against Michigan in the past. Second half performance has definitely decided this series since 1995: NU is 4-0 when outscoring the Wolverines but is 0-10 when even or being outscored. The fourth quarter scoring margin is also telling: NU is 3-0 when outscoring Michigan in the fourth, 1-1 when it's even, and 0-9 when being outscored.
The Wildcats have won both games in which they converted a two-point attempt against Michigan since 1995 (1996 & 2000). Since 2003, Northwestern has missed just 1 field goal against the Wolverines (in 2004), while Michigan has missed 8 (most recently in 2011).
Also, make sure to check out some more stats from last week's post.