First-stringers. While some PSU fans pointed out that ND only out-gained the Nittany Lions by 14 yards (397-383), ND fans counter that a lot of that yardage came in garbage time against ND backups. And while there is some truth to that, a breakdown of the numbers shows that total yardage stats may have been inflated by the final few drives, but the Penn State yards per play numbers were about the same.
|Team||Rushing yards||Passing Yards||Total Yards||Yards/Play|
So while the final score is all that matters and ND certainly did a good job keeping Penn State from scoring, the 5.1 yards per play average suggest that the defense really wasn't as effective as the final score indicates. As a point of comparison, ND only averaged 5.5 yards per play. And while I was thinking that this where the time of possession stat comes into play -- ND dominated this stat by having the ball more than 7 minutes longer than PSU -- Penn State actually ran more plays than did the Irish (75 to 72).
In and of itself, this isn't a horrible stat, but it should set off a few warning bells and certainly make ND fans a bit more nervous about the upcoming Michigan game. My take is that the defense is still benefiting off of turnovers and teams forced to abandon parts of their game plan in an effort to score more quickly. Eventually though, the turnovers and scoreboard disparity won't be there. What will happen then?
Slow start. Another defensive stat that is rather disheartening is how the Notre Dame defense starts both the game, and individual series of downs. The great stats website, cfbstats.com, has the breakdowns of the Irish defense and it isn't pretty in the first quarter. Taking the Tech and State games into consideration, ND is allowing 6.2 yards per rush and 7.8 yards per pass in the 1st quarter of games. The numbers all get better in the 2nd quarter and over the rest of the game, but that sort of porous start isn't a good sign.
The start of a series isn't much better either. Against Penn State, Notre Dame allowed an improbable 8.4 yards per play on Nittany Lion first downs (21 plays, 176 yards). In the first half alone it was 9 yards per play. (Thanks to BGS writer Michael for digging this stat up.)
Blitzkrieg. Here are the week 2 results of the blitzin' Irish. The total is lower than it was against Georgia Tech, which wasn't what I would have predicted. Then again, some of that is due to the fact that ND called off the blitz as the score disparity increased. After blitzing on 55% of 1st half plays, ND only blitzed on 29% of 2nd half plays.
|Down||# of blitzes||# of chances||Percentage|
Season Long Running Averages
|Yards Per Rush||3.5||3.1||3.3||3.6|
|Avg. Yards per PA||6.5||8.0||7.2||8.7|
|Avg. Yards per PC||10.7||11.5||11.1||13.5|
|Pass Completion %||61%||69%||65%||65%|
|3rd Down Conv.||7/16 (44%)||5/13 (38%)||12/30 (40%)||90/184 (49%)|
|Rushing Yd Avg.||138.0 ||110.0||124.0 (71st)||147.08 (55th)|
|Passing Yd Avg.|| 246.0 ||287.0||266.5 (27th)||330.24 (4th)|
|Quinn Passing Eff.|| 114.91 ||163.91||138.75 (45th)||158.40 (7th)|
|Total Offense|| 384.0 ||397.0||390.5 (39th)||477.33 (10th)|
|Scoring Offense|| 14.0 ||34.0||27.5 (56th)||36.67 (8th)|
|Time of Possession||35:25||33:11||34:18||32:51|
|Red Zone TDs||2/3 (66%)||4/6 (66%)||6/9 (66%)||38/55 (69%)|
|Yards per rush given up||4.2||4.8||4.5||3.9|
|Avg. yards per PA||5.8||5.5||5.6||7.7|
|Avg. yards per PC||11.7||9.4||10.1||14.6|
|Pass completion %||50%||59%||55%||53%|
|Rushing yards against||119.0||158.0||138.5 (73rd)||132.33 (34th)|
|Passing yards against||140.0||225.0||182.5 (55th)||264.6 (103rd)|
|Passing Eff. defense||112.75||4.2||138.8 (50th)||121.41 (53rd)|
|Total yd. against||259.0||383.0||321.0 (63rd)||396.92 (75th)|
|Scoring Defense||10.0||17.0||13.5 (31st)||24.5 (53rd)|
|Red Zone defense||2/2 (100%)||3/4 (75%)||5/6 (89%)||31/41 (76%)|
|Red Zone TD defense||1/2 (50%)||2/4 (50%)||3/6 (50%)||23/41 (56%)|
|Interceptions by ND||0 ||1||1||13|
|Kickoff Return average||39.5||13.0||30.7||19.0|
|Kickoff Return avg. allowed||17.5||13.2||14.2||21.2|
|Punt Return average||7.5||2.0||5.7||14.1|
|Punt Return avg. allowed||8.0||6.0||7.2||6.4|