Clemson Statistical Expectations and Performance: VT Edition

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

It was a glorious day in Death Valley this past Saturday—the first time I’ve been able to get back in a few years. The Tigers were able to pull out a win against the Virginia Tech Hokies—a very ugly win (but a win nonetheless). So, let's see how that unspectacular offensive showing impacted the year to date statistics.

Category

Top 25 Goal

Top 15 Goal

VT

2012 Season

Rank

Scoring

33.38

36.77

38

40.9

15

Total

445.77

469.54

295

492.9

16

Rushing Offense

192.08

217.23

135

191.7

40

Passing

274.17

294.17

160

301.1

20

Pass efficiency

147.13

153.32

136.86

153.0

23

Sacks allowed

1.29

1

5

2.1

76

Turnovers Lost

18

17

1

8

19

3rd downs

45.8%

47.0%

37.5%

52.2%

9

Red Zone TD%

66.7%

69.2%

75.0%

69.7%

26

As expected, the offense is performing at a very high level for the season--expectations were set fairly high and the offense is largely delivering. Exceeding the Top 25 goal in nearly every category and achieving the Top 15 goal in the majority. However, Chad Morris' unit had its worst showing of the season this past weekend against Virginia Tech. This was by far the lowest yardage total, the fewest plays in a game (only 66), the lowest passing yardage (160), lowest 3rd down conversion rate and most sacks allowed in any game so far this season. The ineptitude began with a 3 play, 2 sacks allowed opening series drive through most of the game. Tajh Boyd was never able to get comfortable in the pocket and was rarely given enough time to let the patterns develop--when they did, he was rattled and off target more often than usual. He did make a very nice, key throw to Deandre Hopkins for the TD that effectively sealed the game late in the 3rd quarter. The final stats show that only 21 passes were attempted, but this is very misleading as there were several more pass attempts that turned into runs (the 5 sacks plus several scrambles).

Just as we’ve seen in other games this season, it felt like the offense got a bit ‘pass happy’ at times Saturday and didn’t feature Andre Ellington enough. He had 10 carries in the first half—would love to see him get closer to 15 in the first half of most games—to be fair to the playcalling of Chad Morris, there were a handful of zone reads that Tajh kept and probably should not have throughout the game, which would have pushed Ellington’s carry total into the 20-25 range. This may sound like a stupid complain when the final play mix was 45 rush attempts to 21 pass attempts, but again...those are misleading numbers as the play call split was probably more 50/50...at best.

There really isn’t too much else to say about the performance against Virginia Tech—while Tech is one of the better defenses the Tigers have faced this season, they are not anywhere near as solid as they traditionally have been defensively and I don’t think I’d go so far as to even say they are a ‘good' defense. Very average is probably the best description. Another performance like this out of the offense on Thursday night could spell trouble—as they say in the world of stats...one data point does not a trend make. Let’s hope that was an anomaly and not a new trend.

Onto the defensive side of the ball…they created a couple of turnovers and were the recipients of good fortune on a couple of others. Either way, it was good to see some turnovers created and awesome that one interception was taken to the house, which resulted in a comfortable half time lead and nice surge in momentum. As I said in the stats preview column last week, Logan Thomas is going to give defenses opportunities to intercept the ball and he did just that—fortunately for the Tiger faithful, the defense did not waste those opportunities and made the Hokies pay for those mistakes.

Category

2012 Top 40

2012 Top 20

VT

2012

Rank

Scoring

23.1

20.3

17

25.9

61

Total

351.69

323.92

406.0

440.3

93

Rushing Defense

132.69

113.54

199

202.6

103

Pass

208.71

192.31

207

237.7

76

Pass Efficiency

123.34

114.65

102.37

130.85

64

Interceptions

13

15

3

10.0

20

Sacks

2.21

2.58

2

1.3

101

TFL

6.46

7.23

7

5.7

64

3rd Downs

36.7%

34.2%

37.5%

33.7%

9

Red Zone TD%

56.0%

50.0%

50.0%

46.2%

19

Sacks/Pass Att

7%

8%

7%

4%

INT/Pass Att

7%

8%

10%

5%

For the season, the defense is well below the Top 40 rankings in nearly every category. The 2 bright spots are the 3rd down conversion percentage and the Red Zone TD %--both of which rank in the top 25 nationally at this point in the season. If a defense is going to allow a crap ton of yardage and first downs, the saving grace can be (must be) the ability to hold teams to 3 points as often as they allow seven as well as making sure they get off the field when they are able to force a 3rd down attempt.

Yes, there is reason to celebrate the defensive performances from the past 3 games--allowing just 1 TD in each second half and holding the last 2 opponents to fewer points than their season average (7 points below Georgia Tech’s and 12 points below Virginia Tech’s). But, let’s not get carried away just yet and think the corner has been turned as there is still far more that needs to be fixed with this defensive unit than has been fixed to date. Couple that with the litany of injuries in the defensive backfield and any optimism gained should be immediately wiped away.

Let’s face it—Virginia Tech is a terrible offensive team. They have little to no explosiveness at the skill positions, an average offensive line and are led by a TE trying to play quarterback. While Logan Thomas is athletic and made a few very nice throws Saturday, every game he plays is marred by a handful of terrible throws (way off the mark), terrible decisions (lofting balls into double coverage, locking on one receiver; not checking down/going through progression) and mis-management of the game (how about on the 4th down call early in the game, with Tech up 7-0 and driving? Why Thomas didn’t adjust and sneak for the first, I’ll never know because there was a massive gap between the center and left guard with no Clemson defensive player—a knowledgeable, good QB recognizes that and gets 5 yards and possibly a 14-0 lead).

Last item for this week…Below is a chart that shows the Tigers opponents so far this year and their ranking in terms of scoring offense and scoring defense along with upcoming opponents. When looking at Wake, the Tigers D should be aiming to hold them below their averages in both points per game as well as yardage per game (316) and use Thursday night as a confidence booster for the rest of the season.

For the upcoming opponents, the vs. Clemson columns represent the current predicted points scored or allowed for those games--these are based off the offensive and defensive efficiencies calculations that I've created along with some strength of schedule adjustments. We will certainly be favored to win the rest of our games, save the last one (based on today's information) and looking for a 13 points tomorrow night.

Opponent Offense Rank vs. Clemson Defense Rank vs. Clemson
Auburn 15.7 121 19 25.1 55 26
Ball State 34.1 38 27 34.8 104 52
Florida St 44.4 6 49 12.6 5 37
Boston College 23.6 90 31 33.3 99 45
Georgia Tech 37.7 24 31 28.3 75 47
Virginia Tech 29 58 17 24 48 38
Wake Forest 22 96 27 28 73 40
Duke 35 32 35 27.8 72 41
Maryland 21.3 99 21 20.3 31 37
North Carolina St 26.9 70 28 20.1 28 38
South Carolina 31.3 49 37 16.3 15 27
















































In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Shakin The Southland

You must be a member of Shakin The Southland to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Shakin The Southland. You should read them.

Join Shakin The Southland

You must be a member of Shakin The Southland to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Shakin The Southland. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker