3rd Down Breakdown. Much has been said by fans, the media, and Coach Weis about the Irish's lack of production on 3rd down. As noted below, the Irish 3rd down converstion rate is only 27%, after being nearly 50% last year. At first I thought that the reason for this drop in efficiency is that ND has been in 3rd and long (read 3rd and 7 or longer) on 49% of all 3rd downs. Surely this was a high number and would be adversely affecting the conversion rate. But then I looked up the 2005 numbers and saw that ND was in a similar 3rd and long on 50% of all 3rd downs. So that isn't it.
What is hurting the Irish then? Maybe it's the 3rd and short. ND converted 69% of all 3rd and short (read 3rd and 3 or under) attempts last year. So far in this season, ND is only converting 33% of all 3rd and shorts. Breaking the numbers into rushing and passing you get 30% conversion via the run (3 of 10) and 40% via the pass (2 of 5). That compares to 74% via the run in 2005 (29 of 39) and 54% (7 of 13) via the pass.
First Quarter Woes. What's the best way to stop a team defensively? Make them one-dimensional on offense. And what's the best way to do that? Put them in the hole early on and never let them dictate the pace of the game. And that is exactly what has happened to the Irish so far this year. Just look at the lopsided scoring margin in the 1st quarter.
SCORE BY QUARTERS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th TotalND has the edge in all other quarters, but not by all that much. If ND wants to keep winning, and preferably win by a more comfortable margin, the differential in the 1st quarter is going to need to change. That 44-10 margin is even more damning when you realize that 7 of those points came gift-wrapped when the ND offense took over on the 4 yard line following Ndukwe's INT return against Michigan.
-------------------- --- --- --- --- ---
Notre Dame.......... 10 45 28 33 - 116
Opponents........... 44 31 15 21 - 111
Year to Year. There has been much discussion about the apparent regression of Brady Quinn from last year to this. Ask any Irish fan and you'll hear that Brady certainly is doing far worse this year than he did last year. Then again, when you actually take a look at the numbers, you see that he's really not too far off of last year's record breaking pace.
There is however one big difference in Quinn's performance between this year and last. Sacks. Last year after 4 games, Quinn had been sacked 6 times for 37 yards. This year, Quinn has been sacked 10 times for 73 yards. I haven't broken down if they are coverage sacks or the result of some matador blocking by the OL, so I'm not looking to assign any blame, but the increase certainly stands out.
Season Long Running Averages
|Yards Per Rush||3.5||3.1||0.2||2.8||2.7||3.6|
|Avg. Yards per PA||6.5||8.0||4.9||8.9||6.9||8.7|
|Avg. Yards per PC||10.7||11.5||9.6||15.9||11.8||13.5|
|Pass Completion %||61%||69%||51%||56%||58%||65%|
|3rd Down Conv.||7/16 (44%)||5/13 (38%)||2/14 (14%)||1/11 (9%)||15/55 (27%)||90/184 (49%)|
|Rushing Yd Avg.||138.0 ||110.0||4.0||47.0||74.8 (108th)||147.08 (55th)|
|Passing Yd Avg.|| 246.0 ||287.0||241.0||319.0||273.3 (16th)||330.24 (4th)|
|Quinn Passing Eff.|| 114.91 ||163.91||92.2||170.3||133.9 (43rd)||158.40 (7th)|
|Total Offense|| 384.0 ||397.0||245.0||366.0||348.0 (55th)||477.33 (10th)|
|Scoring Offense|| 14.0 ||34.0||21.0||33.0||29.0 (39th)||36.67 (8th)|
|Time of Possession||35:25||33:11||26:04||24:21||29:45||32:51|
|Red Zone TDs||2/3 (66%)||4/6 (66%)||2/2 (100%)||2/2 (100%)||10/12 (83%)||38/55 (69%)|
|Yards per rush given up||4.2||4.8||2.9||5.8||4.4||3.9|
|Avg. yards per PA||5.8||5.5||10.0||6.1||6.6||7.7|
|Avg. yards per PC||11.7||9.4||16.9||12.7||12.1||14.6|
|Pass completion %||50%||59%||59%||48%||55%||53%|
|Rushing yards against||119.0||158.0||120.0||248.0||161.3 (92nd)||132.33 (34th)|
|Passing yards against||140.0||225.0||220.0||140.0||181.3 (50th)||264.6 (103rd)|
|Passing Eff. defense||112.75||107.8||186.64||124.6||134.0 (47th)||121.41 (53rd)|
|Total yd. against||259.0||383.0||340.0||388.0||342.5 (63rd)||396.92 (75th)|
|Scoring Defense||10.0||17.0||33.0||30.0||27.8 (94th)||24.5 (53rd)|
|Red Zone defense||2/2 (100%)||3/4 (75%)||4/4 (100%)||2/2 (100%)||9/10 (90%)||31/41 (76%)|
|Red Zone TD defense||1/2 (50%)||2/4 (50%)||2/4 (50%)||1/2 (50%)||5/10 (50%)||23/41 (56%)|
|Interceptions by ND||0 ||1||1||2||4||13|
|Kickoff Return average||39.5||13.0||22.6||24.8||24.9||19.0|
|Kickoff Return avg. allowed||17.5||13.2||14.8||20.0||16.1||21.2|
|Punt Return average||7.5||2.0||4.0||25.0||7.9||14.1|
|Punt Return avg. allowed||8.0||6.0||16.0||15.0||11.5||6.4|
|Net Punt avg. ||41.6||44.0||39.9||41.1||40.7||36.1|
|Kickoff avg. / Touchbacks ||64.7/1||59.1/2||60.0/0||60.1/2||60.4/5||59.3/10|
|Field Goal Att./Made ||0/2||2/2||0/0||0/0||2/4||12/18|