Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Statistically Speaking: Stanford | by Pat

It Came From the Game Notes

• Notre Dame entered last Saturday’s contest with 13 passing plays of over 20 yards. The Irish totaled five in the opening 30 minutes alone against the Cardinal. In fact, Notre Dame has recorded 11 over its last two games (had five last week against Purdue). The Irish now have 19 for the season after recording just 28 all of 2007.

• Notre Dame surrendered 132 rushing yards on 23 carries in the first half against Stanford (5.7
average per rush), but limited the Cardinal to minus-three yards rushing on seven carries in the
third quarter. The Cardinal totaled 208 yards in the opening half and averaged 5.5 yards per play, but managed just -3 total yards in the third quarter.

• Here is a look at how Michael Floyd’s freshman season could rate against the rookie campaigns of Notre Dame’s top five all-time leaders in career receptions (does not include Tom Gatewood [1968] or Jim Seymour [1965], who were not eligible to play as freshman).

Player (Year) Rec. Yds. Avg. TD
^Michael Floyd (2008) 50 799 16.0 7
Jeff Samardzija (2003) 7 53 7.6 0
Rhema McKnight (2002) 9 91 10.1 0
Tim Brown (1984) 28 340 12.1 1
Maurice Stovall (2002) 18 312 17.3 3
Derrick Mayes (1992) 10 272 27.2 3

^projected numbers over 12-game regular season
Battle for First Down

The Stanford run game gave ND fits, especially in the first half and the Win Rates against the Cardinal reflect that. After starting at 50% and rising every game, hitting 75% against Purdue, the Win Rate against the run fell sharply to 35% against Stanford.

Against the pass, the Win Rate was also lower at 42%. ND started and ended the game with two straight "wins" on first down. But the middle 8 passes saw only 1 "win". I'm beginning to think that win rates against the pass aren't nearly as important as win rates against the run. After all, when ND is winning, they appear content to let the opposition complete short passes which forces them to dink and dunk down the field in a time-consuming manner. It doesn't do much for the passing win rate, but it does make victory a much more likely outcome.

I added a game total to the season long 2008 Win Rate numbers, and the overall 38% Win Rate against Stanford is noticeably lower than any other game.

Gimme M.O.E.

(M.O.E. primer here)

The Fighting Irish offense had their most mistake filled afternoon of the season, which resulted in a M.O.E. of 13%. It was the first time all season that ND was above the 12% goal. The major factor was penalties. Of the 9 mistakes the ND offense make, 6 were penalties. After 7 total penalties in the first 4 games, the 6 penalties called against ND this past Saturday nearly doubled the season total in that category.

ND wasn't alone in the mistake category as Stanford had a M.O.E. of 21%, the second highest opponent M.O.E. in the past two seasons. Only the UCLA Bruins in 2007 were higher. Interceptions, sacks, and offensive penalties are what did in the Cardinal on Saturday.

Through the first five games
, the ND offense has a M.O.E. score of 10% compared to the opponents 13%. At this point last season, ND's M.O.E. was 20%, so it's fair to say that the Fighting Irish offense has cut its mistakes in half from a year ago.

Season Long Running Game Notes

I tinkered again with the season long running game notes by adding a trend arrow to compare the 2008 numbers with the 2006 numbers as well as the 2007 numbers. Most of the 2007 numbers are so terrible that just saying a certain category is better doesn't say much. The 2006 team was an extremely strong offensive team and a lackluster defensive one. Hopefully the extra comparison adds a bit more context to the 2008 numbers and a better sense of just where this growing team is.