Friday, October 23, 2009

Statistically Speaking: Southern Cal | by Pat

Just going to squeeze this in for some late Friday reading...

It Came From the Game Notes

• Since becoming a full-time starter vs. Washington, freshman LB Manti Te’o ranks first on the Irish defense with 18 tackles.

• Only three FBS schools have committed fewer turnovers than Notre Dame this year (Air Force, Cincinnati and Oregon State).

• Junior QB Jimmy Clausen – nicknamed Captain Comeback by the South Bend Tribune – has been tremendous in the clutch this year, recording 11 touchdowns and no turnovers when the Irish are tied or trailing (10 passing TDs, one rushing TD).

Battle for First Down

Updated table here.

Somewhat surprisingly, ND posted the best 1st down win rate against the run of the season and 3rd best of the past two seasons with a 70% win rate. As Mike mentioned earlier, ND's success against the run was much better than anticipated. Even the pass defense wasn't so shabby, winning 47%.

Overall, it was the best defensive performance of the season, with ND winning 55% of all 1st downs. For as bad as the defense has been this season, especially yardage wise, the play on 1st down defensively is probably what prevented SC from running away with things in the 2nd half.


Updated table here.

While the overall percentage of 56.7% was very solid, what is noteworthy is the 1st half/2nd half split. After largely getting shut down in the 1st half and only gaining 35.5% of all available yards, Jimmy and the offense were as efficient as they have been all season, posting an incredible 76.6% in the 2nd half.

In addition to the strong 2nd half, ND enjoyed a distinct advantage in starting field position. ND's offense started on average at the 35 yard line, the best starting spot of the year, while SC started on average at the 22 yard line, the worst starting spot of the year for ND opponents.

Gimme M.O.E.

Updated table here.

I confess I wasn't able to rewatch the game yet and tally up the number of drops. If you recall some, let me know so I can update the table.

As it is, both ND and SC put up good M.O.E. scores with a 9% mark. That's great news for the Irish offense as it's the best score of the season against what is clearly the best defense. Unforunately the team still lost, only the 3rd time under Charlie that ND got under a 12% M.O.E. and still lost ('08 Pitt, '08 'Cuse).

As for the Irish defense, well, it's only the second game all year that teams hit single digits in the M.O.E. metric and ND is 0-2 in those games. With the idea that ND's defense is built around disruption and forcing mistakes, when those mistakes don't happen, winning becomes a tall task.

Season Long Running Stats

Updated table here.

Don't look now, but for the first time all season, an offensive stat category isn't doing better than last year. Hopefully Jimmy's toe heals as much as possible in-season and this stat improves.