There is only one household name on Michigan’s defensive line, Aidan Hutchinson, but the entire group deserves recognition for what it’s done through the first half of the season. Whether it’s been stopping the run or pressuring the QB, the Wolverines have established themselves in the trenches.

There were concerns about depth along the D-line, but some of them have been answered through the past few weeks.

Several components will play a part in UM’s quest for success during the home stretch of the Big Ten schedule, and having a strong D-line will definitely be necessary if the plan is to come to fruition.

So let’s dive into some numbers that accurately reflect just how solid UM’s D-line has been this year.

Sacks and pressure

Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson leads the Big Ten in sacks, when looking at per game average. Big surprise, right? The surefire All-American and first-round NFL draft pick comes up with 0.92 sacks per game and has a total of 5.5 sacks. With another game around the corner, it’s safe to say that Hutchinson will tack more onto that total this weekend vs. Northwestern.

He’s not only considered the best defensive player in the game, he’s also considered among the best overall players at the collegiate level.

The Wolverines have 14 sacks as a team, good for No. 9 in the Big Ten. But consider the following: UM had 4 sacks vs. Washington and 6 vs. Wisconsin. The ability to dominate a game in the trenches has already been demonstrated.

LB David Ojabo and DT Kris Jenkins have found their way into the backfield a few times this season, either directly helping or making the tackle. Obviously, Ojabo isn’t on the D-line. But pressure created by the likes of Jenkins, Mazi Smith, Hutchinson and Christopher Hinton have allowed others to reap some benefits.

Michigan is getting in backfields, period. UM has applied aggressive pressure on QBs more than 40 percent of the time this season, with Hutchinson among the nation’s best at rocking the boat.

Rushing D

Michigan has the No. 7-ranked rushing defense in the Big Ten, allowing 119.3 yards per game. The Wolverines have yet to be severely gouged by a running back this season. Rutgers’ Isaih Pacheco rushed for 107 yards during a 20-13 loss to Michigan. He’s the only RB to break the 100-yard plateau vs. the Wolverines this season.

They’ll face Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III and Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson later this year, so they’ll certainly be challenged — but so far, the Wolverines have looked good against the run.

Prior to the bye week, Michigan had the highest-graded D-line in Week 6.

Michigan’s pass coverage is improving because DBs don’t have to cover as long — which helps a lot. Michigan really outdid itself, D-line-wise, against Wisconsin 2 weeks ago. Six sacks, constant pressure — the Badgers couldn’t do anything that Saturday.

Nationally, UM has the No. 34-ranked rushing defense (3.48 yards per play, No. 14 opponent first-down defense (99 given up total), No. 9 scoring defense (15.5 PPG) and No. 21 total defense (310 yards per game).

Hinton came up with a fumble recovery this year. Smith has done his part stuffing RBs and chasing down QBs. Pockets and backfields haven’t been safe vs. the Wolverines this season, which is a key reason why they’re ranked No. 6 in the country.

Give UM’s trench warriors some credit. And recognize others beyond just Hutchinson, who is the anchor but has a solid supporting cast that’s helped progress Michigan’s D-line by leaps and bounds through the first 6 games.