Monday, November 27, 2006

"Stats Are For Losers" | by Jay

So said Charlie in his postgame comments. When I got the paper yesterday morning I flipped immediately to the box score. It's pretty amazing that if you just look at the surface indicators, the offensive performances between both teams were remarkably similar (on paper):

                      ND     SC
First Downs 18 21
Rushing Yds 130 139
Passing Yds 274 265
Total Yds 404 404
Time of Poss. 30:53 29:07
Total Plays 76 60
Turnovers Lost 1 2
Looks like it should be a close game, right? Yet that added up to a 20-point loss. Scanning the box score further, I think the story of the game is right here:
                             ND        SC
Average Per PA 6.1 9.5
3rd-Down Conversions 7 of 18 5 of 11
4th-Down Conversions 2 of 6 2 of 2
I rewatched the first half when I got home last night, but already it's pretty clear. In an otherwise statistical dead heat, this game boiled down to efficiency: Southern Cal's ability to make the most of its possessions, and our failure to do likewise. More on the way.