Friday, November 06, 2009

Statistically Speaking: Washington State | by Pat

It Came From the Game Notes

• Sophomore LB Darius Fleming's 1.64 tackles for loss per game is tied for 8th in the nation.

• Based on the cumulative record of future opposition, only two schools (Ohio State and Pittsburgh) ranked in this week’s BCS top 25 face a tougher schedule the rest of the regular season.

• Golden Tate is 2nd in the nation in receiving touchdowns, 4th in the nation in receiving yards, and 18th in all-purpose yards.

• Nick Tausch is currently tied for 2nd in the nation in field goals made percentage at 93% and is tied with Golden Tate for 23rd in the nation in scoring.

Battle for 1st Down

Updated table here.

When I started this metric, I really didn't know if it would prove useful. It was just a way to track how ND did against one of Tenuta's stated defensive goals. I have to admit that it doesn't appear terribly useful on a game by game basis. Perhaps over the long run it does a decent job showcasing the ability of the defense, but taking a single game doesn't add much insight without the best of context.

The obvious example of this is this past weekend's game. ND's 1st down run defense was the worst it was all season, winning only 18% of all downs. And it was low before ND cleared the bench too. Through the first 3 quarters it was only a 12% win rate. Compare that with the SC game, where ND stopped 70% of the Trojans's first down runs. Perhaps the numbers can't be terribly trusted against a completely outmatched opponent in a blowout game. After all, ND only won 11% of 1st down rushes against Hawaii, another lopsided ND victory.

Against the pass, ND was far better, winning 58% of the passing first downs. Both of ND's interceptions and two of the sacks came on 1st down as ND won 7 of 12 first downs. That grades out to an overall win rate of 39%, the third lowest of the year. Like I wrote earlier, perhaps this metric can point to why a team did better or worse than expected, but isn't terribly useful on a game by game basis. Or maybe I'm missing something. What do you think?


Updated table here.

As you might expect, the ND offense was able to slice through the Cougar defense. Even with a few dumb penalties and red zone mistakes, ND picked up 85% of available yardage in the first half on way to a game long percentage of 62.14%, the third highest number of the year.

Defensively, it was about what you would expect from looking at the final score as well. The Cougars only amassed 19.66% of all possible yardage. Only the hapless Huskies from last season have done worse in the past two seasons.

Gimme M.O.E.

Updated table here.

It says something about either ND's offense or the defense's that they are facing that ND can be the 5th overall offense in the country and still make so many mistakes. For the 6th time out of 8 games, ND was over the 12% goal with a M.O.E. score of 13%. Just imagine what this offense could do if they toned down the penalties. 7 penalties against the Cougars are the main culprit this week as ND has already picked up as many offensive penalties (33) as they did all last season.

Defensively, the Cougars made mistake after mistake including penalties, sacks, and interceptions. Their 23% score is easily the highest of the season for an opposing offense and was topped only last season by Hawaii.

Season Long Running Stats

Updated table here.

With only four games left in the season, it's unlikely that too many numbers will make large leaps. So we can all start to compare where ND has experienced some of the biggest gains and biggest setbacks, statistically, from last season.