Thursday, September 11, 2008

Statistically Speaking: San Diego State | by Pat

Statistically Speaking is back for another season and I'm going to try to stick to a four act script this year. Here we go.

It Came From the Game Notes

In this spot each week will be a random stat or fact from this week's game notes or box score that I found interesting. Hopefully you will too.

Sophomore WR Golden Tate recorded a career-best six receptions last week, equaling
his entire output from his rookie campaign.

The Battle for First Down

Coach Tenuta has used the saying "win first down" as one of his main coaching points for years. The idea is simple. Keep the opponent to little or no yardage on first down to force more second and long and third and long. It's easier to let the defense pin their ears back and come blitzing when teams are in obvious passing downs. This season I'll be keeping track of how the ND defense does in the so-called Battle of First Down.

I'm still trying to figure out how to accurately define "winning first down". For starters, I'm going to consider any 1st down where the opponent gets two or fewer yards a "win" for the defense. Critiques and comments are more than welcome on how to refine this stats breakdown.

San Diego State had 33 first down plays. 6 were runs and a whopping 27 were passes. Against the run, ND won 3 downs and lost 3 for a Win Rate of 50%. Against the pass, ND had 15 wins and lost 12 for a Win Rate of 56%. The total Win Rate for the game was 55%.

For comparison, in 2007, ND had a Win Rate against the run of 41% and a Win Rate against the pass of 52%. The total First Down Win Rate for the 2007 season was 44%.

It will be interesting to see over the course of the season if this metric has any notable relevance to the overall play of the defense.

Gimme M.O.E.

For those new to the blog, here is the primer on the M.O.E. (Major Offensive Errors) metric. The executive summary is the M.O.E. number is obtained by taking a percentage of total plays that were offensive mistakes (sacks, penalties, interceptions, fumbles, dropped passes). The goal is to get under 12% in a game. Here are the results for the Fighting Irish over the past three seasons. On to the numbers.

Against the Aztecs, not only did Notre Dame have a better M.O.E. than San Diego State, they dipped under the 12% mark with a M.O.E. of 10%. What helped obtain that number was a sack-free performance and only two offensive penalties. It's the lowest M.O.E. for ND since the Army game in 2006.

The San Diego State offense faced off against ND's aggressive defense and put up a 14% M.O.E. The big hits for the Aztecs were drops and penalties.

This table will keep the season long M.O.E. numbers.

Season Long Running Stats

Here are the game by game and season totals for ND in most of the major stats categories. I added national rank to a lot of the numbers to try and provide a bit more context. Special kudos to for providing most of the national ranks. Keep in mind these numbers won't mean too much until everyone gets a chance to get a few more games under their belt.

Season numbers here.