Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Statistically Speaking - Penn State | by Pat

It's a Numbers Game

• Somewhat lost in the news that the offense is ranked 119th in the nation, is the fact that the defensive play has been improved from last year, despite some notable personnel losses. However, after strong first halves -- 0 1st half 3rd down conversions for Georgia Tech, only 100 yards of total offense in the 1st half for Penn State -- the lack of depth starts to play a role as the defense tires. There might not be a better illustration of this than the opposing team's average yards per rush stat, as broken down by quarter.

rushing average against, by quarter
3.74 yards per carry
• An interesting stat on defense courtesy of the Inside Notre Dame football program. 41% of all points scored against ND so far this season have occurred on drives of 36 yards or less. Just another reason to get the offense back in gear, eliminate turnovers, and start winning the battle of field position. Here's a breakdown of the points scored against ND this year in 20 yard increments of scoring drive length.
Drive Length
Points Scored Against
0-20 yds
• I'm not putting this stat up to deflect attention from the 0-2 start. I'm putting it up because I was genuinely surprised by it when I saw it in the pre-game media notes. This is the winning percentages in college football since the start of the 1988 season; the year ND last won a national championship.
1. Florida State 237 193 43 1 .816
2. Miami, Fla. 231 185 46 0 .801
3. Nebraska 238 190 47 1 .800
4. Michigan 234 175 55 4 .756
5. Florida 238 181 56 1 .763
6. Tennessee 235 175 57 3 .751
7. Ohio State 236 175 57 4 .750
8. Notre Dame 232 162 68 2 .703
9. Texas 232 160 70 2 .694
10. Penn State 232 158 73 1 .683
I wouldn't have figured ND anywhere near the top 10, but there it is.

• Armando Allen totaled over 100 all-purpose yards for the second straight week (13 rushing, 38 receiving, 67 kick return). While Clausen is getting most of the press as ND's impact freshman, it is his classmate Allen that is ND's leading rusher, receiver, and kick returner.

• With a career high 10 tackles against Penn State, Trevor Laws is now 50th in the nation in tackles and 2nd in the nation in tackles among defensive linemen. Laws is currently leading the Irish in tackles with 19.0.

We want M.O.E

No surprise that once again ND's M.O.E. was horrible. Against Penn State it checked in at a depressing 27%. That result is the highest (read: worst) score in Weis's tenure. That's more than one offensive mistake (penalty, sack, interception, fumble, dropped pass) for every four plays run. The Nittany Lion M.O.E. wasn't all that impressive either, breaching the 12% cutoff line at 13%, but in this case it was still good enough to win.

Full breakdown here.

Season Long Running Averages

The complete breakdown of this year's numbers can be found here. I also added the 2006 numbers for comparison's sake, but keep in mind as the season progresses that the change in clock rules will make a direct comparison between 2007 and 2006 numbers somewhat inaccurate.