Friday, October 30, 2009

Statistically Speaking: Boston College | by Pat

It Came From the Game Notes

• 8 of ND's 15 forced turnovers have occurred inside ND's 25 yard line.

• No other FBS player has more 100-yard receiving games than Golden Tate.

• The only time since 1990 an Irish player has topped Kyle McCarthy's five interceptions was seven by Shane Walton in 2002.

Battle for 1st Down

Updated table here.

Following up on a strong performance against the Trojans on 1st down, ND put up the best 1st down win rate in the past two and a half seasons. Winning 68% of all first down battles, the Irish defense clearly set the stage for more 2nd and 3rd and longs than they have in a few years. Obviously that isn't enough as the Eagles were able to convert far too many of those 3rd and longs, but combined with the SC game, there has been a definite uptick against offenses to start a series of downs. The next step will be for the defense to carry that success over to 3rd down, but even if they are still maddeningly giving up too many long pass plays on 3rd down, I think all will agree that facing multiple 3rd and longs is better than continually having to face 3rd and short.

Most of the success came against the run, where the ND defense matched their SC performance by winning 70% of all 1st down runs. Against a team with a strong running game like BC, that's a notable mark. And against the pass, ND won 63% of all 1st downs, the first time all season ND has been over 50% against the pass.

As mentioned earlier, these numbers don't mean everything is going to be fine on defense. There is still plenty of work to be done. But they are perhaps positive indicators that the defense is at least pointed in the right direction and making progress.


Updated table here.

Folks might be upset with the defense letting another freshman quarterback have a career day, but the D balanced it out with an impressive clampdown on the BC running game. Overall, BC only picked up 41.6% of the yards available to them. This compares to Nevada (38.9%) and Purdue (37.9%) as the least efficient output against the Irish defense.

The Irish offense was another story, putting up the worst number of the year: 40.1%. That's a good 18 percentage points below where the season average was before the game. Many are looking for high point totals against Washington State, but the more important thing would be to see a high drive efficiency rating, especially in the first half.

Gimme M.O.E.

Updated table here.

Offensive penalties were still an issue, but another turnover free game kept the ND M.O.E. under 12% for only the 3rd time this season. With a score of 11%, ND played more mistake free than in games past, but the conservative BC defense kept everything in front of it and ND didn't attempt to test it too much.

On defense, BC tied Purdue and Washington for the worst M.O.E. score of the season with 18%. And like Purdue and Washington, the game went down to the wire. The odd thing is the difference between ND's and BC's M.O.E. was the 2nd largest of the season. Only the 9% difference against Nevada was larger and that game was a 35 point blowout win. Clearly just looking at M.O.E. isn't telling the whole picture of the ND-BC game.

Season Long Running Stats

Updated table here.