Sacked. It seems that so far this year, the Notre Dame defense has had trouble generating a pass rush. After getting 31 sacks last year, ND is on pace so far this year to hit 19. Not good. But is that completely the fault of ND's defense, or have they faced a group of teams effective in not letting up sacks? The correct answer is likely a combination of both, but to help quantify ND's performance, here is a table highlighting the percentages of all opposing team pass plays that have turned into sacks. The first column gives the season total of sacks given up by the team. Next is their number of pass attempts in all games this year. Following that is the percentage of those pass plays (pass attempts + sacks) that resulted in a sack. Next is the number of sacks allowed in the game against the Irish. The last column is the percentage of pass plays that resulted in a sack for the Notre Dame game alone.
|Team||Sacks||Pass Att.||% of Att.||Sacks (ND)||% of Att. (ND)|
As you can see, ND has done a better job sacking the other team than their season average, which includes the results of the ND game. Now, that doesn't mean that ND all of a sudden has a good pass rush. There are statistics and then there is reality. But it does show that at least the Irish aren't getting stonewalled by offenses that otherwise let up more sacks on average. Well, expect for the Purdue game that is. 46 pass attempts without a sack is pretty bad. Purdue is one of the best in the nation at preventing the sack, but still. I do think that ND missed out on the speed of Travis Thomas at linebacker.
Relief does appear to be just on the horizon as the Stanford team has to this point allowed a whopping 12.1% of all pass plays to result in a sack. Put another way, Stanford has allowed more sacks in their 5 games than Georgia Tech, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State have in their collective 20 games combined.
For those interested in the Irish sack allowed numbers, ND has given up 14 sacks already on 197 pass attempts, which calculates out to a 6.6% sack/pass attempt percentage.
One last note of clarification. While I counted pass plays as pass attempts plus sacks, there is the fact that called pass plays that resulted in a QB scramble aren't counted. That additional factor would skew the numbers a bit, but honestly I'm not about to comb through opposing team play-by-plays trying to figure out if a QB run was designed or not.
In triplicate. Against Purdue, Notre Dame's three rushing touchdowns were scored by three different players; Darius Walker, George West, and Jeff Samardzija. The last time that Notre Dame had three different players rush for a touchdown in a single game was 2001, when Carlyle Holiday, Julius Jones, and Terrance Howard each rushed into the endzone in a 27-16 Irish win over the Trojans of Southern Cal. The last time ND had two wide receivers rush for a touchdown in the same game was the 2000 matchup against Air Force when David Givens and Joey Getherall each ran one in.
Catching On. It's obvious that the new pass friendly Irish offense will be re-writing the record books for the next handful of years. But it's still impressive how quickly that is happening. Rhema and Samardzija are flying up the receiving charts, but the real surprise is Darius Walker. With 32 receptions already this year, Walker is only 25 receptions away from passing Malcolm Johnson for 10th all-time. At his rate, he should pass Maurice Stovall at the end of this season or early next year and, unless the offense radically shifts next year, Walker could leave Notre Dame as the leading receiver in school history.
Most Pass Receptions
|Darius Walker||85||2004+ |
More records falling. Speaking of Walker, his 146 yard game against Purdue has moved him up in the all-time rushing record book ahead of George Gipp. Walker is now #7 all-time and only 54 yards from Phil Carter's #6 spot. If Walker wants to claim the all-time spot, he's going to have to average 94 yards a game rushing for the rest of his career (that includes bowl games). That will be difficult, but is certainly not impossible.
Season Long Running Averages
|Yards Per Rush||3.5||3.1||0.2||2.8||3.2||2.9||3.6|
|Avg. Yards per PA||6.5||8.0||4.9||8.9||8.3||7.2||8.7|
|Avg. Yards per PC||10.7||11.5||9.6||15.9||10.9||11.5||13.5|
|Pass Completion %||61%||69%||51%||56%||76%||62%||65%|
|3rd Down Conv.||7/16 (44%)||5/13 (38%)||2/14 (14%)||1/11 (9%)||8/14 (57%)||23/63 (33%)||90/184 (49%)|
|Rushing Yd Avg.||138.0 ||110.0||4.0||47.0||138.0||87.4 (100th)||147.08 (55th)|
|Passing Yd Avg.|| 246.0 ||287.0||241.0||319.0||316.0||281.8 (11th)||330.24 (4th)|
|Quinn Passing Eff.|| 114.91 ||163.91||92.2||170.3||3.5||139.6 (41st)||158.40 (7th)|
|Total Offense|| 384.0 ||397.0||245.0||366.0||454.0||369.2 (45th)||477.33 (10th)|
|Scoring Offense|| 14.0 ||34.0||21.0||33.0||35.0||30.2 (34th)||36.67 (8th)|
|Time of Possession||35:25||33:11||26:04||24:21||38:01||31:24||32:51|
|Red Zone TDs||2/3 (66%)||4/6 (66%)||2/2 (100%)||2/2 (100%)||5/6 (83%)||15/19 (79%)||38/55 (69%)|
|Yards per rush given up||4.2||4.8||2.9||5.8||5.1||4.5||3.9|
|Avg. yards per PA||5.8||5.5||10.0||6.1||8.7||7.2||7.7|
|Avg. yards per PC||11.7||9.4||16.9||12.7||17.3||13.5||14.6|
|Pass completion %||50%||59%||59%||48%||50%||53%||53%|
|Rushing yards against||119.0||158.0||120.0||248.0||92.0||147.4 (79th)||132.33 (34th)|
|Passing yards against||140.0||225.0||220.0||140.0||398.0||224.6 (91st)||264.6 (103rd)|
|Passing Eff. defense||112.75||107.8||186.64||124.6||5.8||139.7 (38th)||121.41 (53rd)|
|Total yd. against||259.0||383.0||340.0||388.0||490.0||372.0 (63rd)||396.92 (75th)|
|Scoring Defense||10.0||17.0||33.0||30.0||21.0||26.4 (88th)||24.5 (53rd)|
|Red Zone defense||2/2 (100%)||3/4 (75%)||4/4 (100%)||2/2 (100%)||2/3 (66%)||13/15 (87%)||31/41 (76%)|
|Red Zone TD defense||1/2 (50%)||2/4 (50%)||2/4 (50%)||1/2 (50%)||2/3 (66%)||8/15 (53%)||23/41 (56%)|
|Interceptions by ND||0 ||1||1||2||0||4||13|
|Kickoff Return average||39.5||13.0||22.6||24.8||20.0||24.1||19.0|
|Kickoff Return avg. allowed||17.5||13.2||14.8||20.0||21.8||17.6||21.2|
|Punt Return average||7.5||2.0||4.0||25.0||2.0||7.2||14.1|
|Punt Return avg. allowed||8.0||6.0||16.0||15.0||0.0||10.5||6.4|
|Net Punt avg. ||41.6||44.0||39.9||41.1||45.7||41.3||36.1|
|Kickoff avg. / Touchbacks ||64.7/1||59.1/2||60.0/0||60.1/2||58.0/0||59.9/5||59.3/10|
|Field Goal Att./Made ||0/2||2/2||0/0||0/0||0/1||2/5||12/18|