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Monday, September 21, 2009

NCAA Statistical Rankings After Three Weeks

Here are the latest statistical rankings of State versus the rest of the FBS division. At week three, the stats start to mean a little bit more than the first two weeks, but State's are still skewed by playing two FCS opponents out of three games.

Category National
Rushing Offense 84 120.67
Passing Offense 38 244.00
Total Offense 67 364.67
Scoring Offense 24 37.67
Rushing Defense 13 70.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 18 93.93
Total Defense 2 168.33
Scoring Defense 7 9.33
Net Punting 91 33.45
Punt Returns 25 13.58
Kickoff Returns 81 20.33
Turnover Margin T-35 .67
Pass Defense 6 98.33
Passing Efficiency 18 160.50
Sacks T-17 3.00
Tackles For Loss 27 7.00
Sacks Allowed T-110 3.67

A few notes:
  • Our rushing numbers after two patsies from the FCS should be MUCH higher than this. If you're not worried about our rushing attack after seeing us show up 84th in the country in ground offense when we've spent the last two weeks putting up 110 points, you should be. It screams, "WE'RE LOSING THE BATTLE AT THE POINT OF ATTACK!" Which we are. I realize that O'Brien probably would've run more against G-W in the second half were it not for trying to get Russell the passing record, but even then, State's relied heavily on the passing game for the bulk of its offense. It bit us in the SC game and could bite us in the Pitt game.
  • More bad statistical news for the offensive line: Tied for 110th in sacks allowed at 3 2/3 per game. Ten of those 11 were in two games -- six given up to South Carolina and four given up to Gardner-Webb. Granted, one of the sacks in the G-W game was on the blown snap over Mike Glennon's head, but that still falls on the offensive line. Pitt's defensive line has to be licking their chops looking at those numbers.
  • Our special teams play needs to pick up as we transition into stronger competition. Jeff Ruiz can kick it a country mile when he's on, but we need more consistency from him and our cover team needs to do a better job containing the return man fielding the kick. T.J. Graham was lighting the world on fire returning kickoffs last season, but the production hasn't been to that level thus far this year despite playing against lesser competition. His numbers need to improve to help State establish good starting field position early and often.
If it seems like I'm throwing out a lot of doom and gloom, despite some strong defensive numbers, I am. I think this team can and should be better in the areas listed above; the defensive numbers mean very little to me at this point because of the competition level. Injuries to Jake Vermiglio, Nate Irving and our defensive secondary have certainly played a role, but the special teams numbers should be better.

Bottom line: This team has not played to its potential yet but will need to if they're to get on track with the hopes many had for a solid conference season.


  1. Great point; I was also wondering why our running seemed to have so little offense. The truth will be told on Saturday.

  2. I wouldn't be too concerned about our rush yards per game, a more important stat would be yards per carry.

    However, before proceeding with a breakdown, it is important to note taht TOB decided to concentrate on the passing game/pass blocking. Perhaps to either put the game away early, get RW the record before the Pitt game, and/or to actually get in good 'scrimmage' work with our pass blocking schemes, or perhaps something else...

    Whatever the reason, we passed a lot more than most of us expected.

    Late in the games, w/ a big lead in both, we went almost exclusively to the run. As we did, Murray St and GW were both putting 9,10, sometimes 11 men in the box.

    It important to remember that TOB was obviously NOT trying to establish the run. I believe if it had been TOB's goal to establish the run, our rushing stats would have been much much more impressive.

    Breaking the rushing stats down by game:

    Murray State:
    48/191, avg of 4.0 yds per carry. Subtract out the 1 sack, and its 47/192 for 4.1 per carry.

    Subtract out the 15 runs for 39 yds in the 4th qtr, with Imhoff at QB (he attempted one pass) and Murray State stacking the box with 10 and 11 players, the avg jumps up to 4.8 yds per carry.

    Gardner Web:
    State was 31/112, for an average of only 3.6 yds per carry. However, if you factor out the 4 sacks, State was 27/132 for 4.9 yds per carry.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about the sack stats yet either. GW was often bringing up to 7,8,9 players on the blitz, almost every passing play. If you sell out like that, you're gonna get some sacks. But it is also why Bryan had such a big night against GW.

    Special teams? Yep, we need some work.

    As I had mentioned after the SoCar game, the Murray State and GW games could answer no questions, only create new ones.

    I think we 'held serve' so to speak, and the only questions/concerns we have now should be those that came out of the SoCar game...

    And from that game came questions about all aspects of the offense, not just the running game and pass protection. My point is I do not agree that Murray St and GW contributed anything to add to those questions and concerns.