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State Vs Clemson, A Numerical Comparison

November 4, 2010
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After crucial wins against Boston College and Florida State, N.C. State is now in the proverbial driver’s seat of the Atlantic Division. With each passing game the stakes get higher and higher, and this weekend’s game against Clemson supplants the Florida State game as The Biggest Game In Tom O’Brien’s Coaching Career At State.

Let’s take a look at how both teams are faring in the statistical rankings and how they match up. (Clemson’s numbersState’s numbers.)

The numbers in parentheses next to the rankings indicates the change in State’s ranking from the prior week. The number in parenthesis in the Advantage section indicates how much of a gap there is between the two teams in terms of percentage of the total ranking from 1-120. In other words, if there’s an advantage gap of +12, the gap percentage would be 10% of the 120 FBS teams in the rankings.

When State has the ball:
State Rushing Offense: 74 (+9) Passing Efficiency: 62 (-5)
Clemson Rushing Defense: 72 Pass Efficiency Defense: 27
Advantage: Clemson, +2 (1.67%) Clemson, +35 (29.17%)

Conversely,

When Clemson has the ball:
Clemson Rushing Offense: 45 Passing Efficiency: 99
State Rushing Defense: 60 (-2) Pass Efficiency Defense: 64 (-8)
Advantage: Clemson, +15 (12.5%) State, +35 (29.17%)

Finally,

The scoring numbers:
State Scoring Offense: 20 (-3) Scoring Defense: 58 (-3)
Clemson Scoring Defense: 18 Scoring Offense: 58
Advantage: Clemson, +2 (1.67%) All square

Thoughts:

You know you’re living right when you’re 6-2 and are statistical underdogs in four of six categories to a team that’s 4-4.

Yet here we are. Clemson has a significant upper hand in the passing efficiency matchup when State has the ball while State has an identical advantage when the ball changes hands. But Clemson has a slight edge in both rushing categories and the scoring numbers.

So if Clemson’s winning the race on paper and only a .500 ballclub, you might expect there to be a large discrepancy in the turnover margin numbers. Oddly enough, the Pack holds only a slight edge here—0.50 versus the Tigers’ 0.38 per game.

I think the Tigers’ woes boil down to three of these numbers: their rushing offense, their rushing defense and their passing offense.

Their rushing offense is merely adequate while their passing game has been a real disappointment. State conversely has been able to live without much of a running game to this point because the passing game has been so explosive. (Aside: If I ruled the world, I’d tweak the passing efficiency formula to place less emphasis on completion percentage. It penalizes a quarterback like Russell Wilson who often dumps the ball out of bounds when needed. We praise it as a smart play at the time, yet it counts against the quarterback in this rating.) I think we’ll see more rushing attempts against the Tigers, however, as it was clear Mustafa Greene and the run game sparked the second-half rally against the Seminoles.

And because the Tigers struggle stopping the run, teams are able to extend drives and remain balanced on offense, further wearing down the Clemson defenders come the fourth quarter.

The numbers say both teams will be matching strength on strength and weakness on weakness rushing the ball, and I think that’s where the game will be won. If State can keep Clemson bottled up on the ground (and the loss of Ellington improves State’s chances), the weakness of Clemson’s passing game should play into State’s hands. If the Pack can’t contain the Tigers on the ground, the pressure on Kyle Parker to get back on track will be lessened.

Scoring early is a priority for State to turn up the heat on Parker and to diminish the impact of the Death Valley crowd.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Plz2BStateFan permalink
    November 4, 2010 9:04 am

    hollaHollLAHoLllahOLLAhollahollaAHOLLLAHollahaollHHOALLAhoollHOLLAhollAhoLLAhOLLaHOLlaHollaholla

    holla

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