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  1. #14
    BamaNation All-SEC Just Win's Avatar
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by uafan4life View Post
    I'm going to do a full BCSCG Preview / Statistical Differential Analysis later on but here is one statistical snippet that points toward one of Notre Dame's strengths not being as strong as it appears. As of now Notre Dame's Rushing Defense is ranked 4th in the Country. Of course, Alabama's Rushing Defense is ranked 1st in the Country. That ranking, though, is based upon Rushing Yards per Game given up. Looking at it a little closer, though, yields some interesting results.

    [NOTE: Most of the stats quoted here regarding Alabama's Defense exclude the game against Western Carolina. This, of course, actually works against Alabama by taking away a "padding the stats" game. ]

    First, on the very face of that ranking, there is a significant difference between that #1 and #4 ranking. Alabama is allowing 79.77 rushing yards per game while Notre Dame is allowing 92.42 rushing yards per game, for a difference of 12.65 yards per game. That may not sound like much but it's a fairly significant difference. While that difference puts the Irish only 3 spots behind Bama, that difference accounts for 7 spots behind the Irish and 12 spots behind the #20 ranked rushing defense.

    Second, the Irish have been run on - as in number of rushing attempts - less often than anyone else in the Country, defending 29.25 rushing attempts per game. Compare that with Alabama - which is 8th in the Country in that particular stat at defending only 32.38 rushing attempts per game - and the Irish have defended over 3 fewer rushing attempts per game than the Crimson Tide. Part of this is due to the ball-control offenses that both teams run, with both teams being in the Top 25 in the Country in Time of Possession. If Alabama had faced the same number of rushing attempts per game as Notre Dame that would have had the Crimson Tide allowing only 72.05 yards per game - over 20 yards per game less that the Irish allowed per game.

    Third, and carrying over from the previous points, the Irish gave up significantly more yards per carry than did Alabama. In this stat the Irish rank 11th in the Country, still very respectable mind you, at allowing 3.16 yards per carry. Alabama ranks 1st in the Country in this stat, allowing only 2.46 yards per carry. Given the same number of carries in a game, the Irish are allowing over 20% more rushing yardage than Alabama.

    Fourth, Notre Dame has faced offenses that are less efficient at running the ball than has Alabama. The offenses that the Irish have faced averaged netting 40% of their total offensive yardage production from rushing the football, compared to 42.1% for the offenses that Alabama faced. In addition, the "against everyone else" averages (season totals minus game against Alabama or Notre Dame) are slightly higher for the offenses Alabama faced in average yards per carry: 4.54 for Alabama and 4.43 for Notre Dame.

    Fifth, Notre Dame has taken advantage of sacks and sack yardage to "pad" their rushing defense numbers. Notre Dame ranks 16th in the Country in Sacks per Game, at 2.75, as well as 16th in the Country in Sack Yardage per Game, at 19.4. Alabama, meanwhile, ranks 26th in the Country in Sacks per Game, at 2.54, and only 44th in the Country in Sack Yardage per Game, at 14.7. If the rushing stats in College were done the same as in the NFL (sacks counting against passing yardage, not rushing) then you would have Notre Dame giving up over 111.8 rushing yards per game at just over 4.2 yards per rush while Alabama would have given up under 88.5 rushing yards per game at under 3.2 yards per rush. That's a difference of over 23 yards per game and more than 1 whole yard per rush. This difference is seen directly against the lone common opponent that the Tide and Irish shared, Michigan, where the "positive" Yards per Rush the Wolverines gained against the Irish was 4.8 versus 2.8 against the Crimson Tide.

    Sixth, you have to factor in that the most productive ground game the Irish played was Navy - who runs the ball over 80% of the time - which actually skews a bit the run/pass ratio of the offenses the Irish have faced towards the run. As good as Navy is in rushing the ball, though, they are about as one-dimensional as it gets. This allows the defense to "cheat" quite a bit, making their rushing attack easier to defend - especially when you have all off-season to prepare for their option attack.




    All of these things added together point towards Notre Dame's Rushing Defense being much less of a dominating strength than many would have you believe. What does this mean for the BCS National Championship Game? Here are a few points to consider toward that end:

    - Notre Dame hasn't faced an offense that runs the ball as efficiently as Alabama, which averages 5.6 Yards per Rush.
    - Notre Dame hasn't faced an offense as efficient overall as Alabama, which averages 6.92 Yards per Play. (The closest was USC, which they faced without Barkley.)
    - Notre Dame gave up over 140 yards rushing in 4 games this season to Navy, Michigan, Stanford, and Pittsburgh - teams averaging 5.38, 5.02, 4.44, and 3.58 Yards per Rush, respectively, against everyone besides Notre Dame on the season. (Alabama gave up 140+ rushing yards in 1 game, to Texas A&M which averaged 5.82 Yards per Rush against everyone else.)
    - Notre Dame gave up 3.0 or more Yards per Rush in 7 games this season to Navy, Purdue, Michigan, Miami (Fl.), Stanford, Pittsburgh, and USC having given up over 4.0 Yards Per Rush twice, against Miami and Pittsburgh. (Alabama gave up 3.0 or more Yards per Rush only twice, to Texas A&M and Georgia and did not give up 4.0 Yards per Rush in any game.)

    A quick glance at the stats/rankings - or a quick listen to most talking heads or fans - would leave you to believe that Alabama hitting that "magic" number of 150 Yards Rushing against Notre Dame would be a difficult feat. A closer look at the reasons behind Notre Dame's Rushing Defense number, however, makes that seem like much less of a daunting task.
    That's so much info it makes my head spin. But I'll simplify it for everyone:

    On January 7th, Alabama will likely give up about 75 yards rushing, while Notre Dame will likely give up about 300.
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  3. #15
    BamaNation All-SEC Just Win's Avatar
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by califbamafan View Post
    The one thing to remember is that we haven't played our best game yet. It seems every year we have the perfect game where everything just seems to come together. we haven't had one of those games yet and we are overdue for one. I sure hope it happens in the championship game.
    Another thing to mention is that Saban is undefeated in National Championship games, and i just don't see that streak ending. I'd much rather be facing Notre Dame than Oregon, Kansas State, LSU, Texas A & M, or Stanford.
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  4. #16
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Good read...Thanks

  5. #17
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by califbamafan View Post
    The one thing to remember is that we haven't played our best game yet. It seems every year we have the perfect game where everything just seems to come together. we haven't had one of those games yet and we are overdue for one. I sure hope it happens in the championship game.
    To the op great info. I always enjoy your breakdowns.

    I was at the Michigan game and it was pretty close to perfect until it got totally out of hand. I'll be fine if our two best games are the first and last of the season.

  6. #18
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    I don't think we'll have a problem running against ND if that's what we set out to do. What I think happened to us in the LSU and A&M games is our offense seemed to be more AJ or QB centric versus what we've historically done even before Saban arrived which is be run first and let the QB manage the game. That means we don't rely on great QB play but one that can make strategic pass plays when they're needed.

    The second half against GA it seemed we went back to our real style of offense and it paid off, which is why AJ was able to connect with Cooper on the 45 yard TD that was a strategic play if I've ever seen one.

  7. #19
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    In every championship game in which Bama has participated since 2009, the offense has faced a defense that was highly touted and has run roughshod over them.

    In the 2009 SEC Championship game, Florida's defense was ranked 1st nationally in total defense (233 ypg), passing defense (143 ypg), and scoring defense (9.8 ppg), and was ranked 6th in rushing defense (90 ypg). Bama gashed them, gaining 490 total yards (239 passing, 251 rushing) and scoring 32 points.

    In the 2009 BCS Championship game, Texas' defense came in ranked first in rushing defense (62 ypg), third in total defense (251 ypg), 8th in scoring defense (15.2 ppg), and 18th in passing defense (189 ypg). Bama put two running backs over the 100 yard mark, gaining 205 net rushing yards (more than 3 times their average allowed) and scoring 4 TDs on the ground which fell one short of the total number of rushing TDs (5) allowed by Texas for the entire season.

    In the 2011 BCS Championship game, LSU's defense was ranked second in total defense (251 ypg) and scoring defense (10.5 ppg), third in rushing defense (85 ypg), and ninth in pass defense (166 ypg). Bama came up 20 yards shy of rushing for double what LSU usually allows, McCarron threw for 234 yards... many of them right at LSU's famed "Honey Badger", and put twice as many points on the scoreboard as LSU averaged all season.

    In the 2012 SEC Championship, Bama held the ball for almost 2/3 of the game, set a rushing record with 350 yards on the ground, and averaged 7.1 yards per play. Georgia's defense was not highly ranked primarily due to several bad games early in the season, but a mid-season course change had given them a lot of respect and they were considered one of the best defenses in the nation by the time of the game.

    Bama seems to save its best for the big games with the most on the line. Notre Dame is just the latest in the line of highly-touted defenses that will attempt to stand firm and stop the machine. As confident as they appear to be, they can't avoid contemplating if they'll be the next to be pulled harshly from their pedestal and crushed mercilessly.
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  8. #20
    BamaNation Hall of Fame BamaJama17's Avatar
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by deliveryman35 View Post
    Didn't ND edge us out in scoring D?
    Yes but we have played 13 games while they have only played 12.

  9. #21

    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    We commit to our power running game and kick their rears with the play action, like we did Georgia.
    Honey Badger can take what the Tide gives him and like it.

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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Win View Post
    Another thing to mention is that Saban is undefeated in National Championship games, and i just don't see that streak ending. I'd much rather be facing Notre Dame than Oregon, Kansas State, LSU, Texas A & M, or Stanford.
    Absolutely agree, of the teams we could have faced (Notre Dame/oregon/Kansas State), Notre Dame is the matchup that bests suits our team.

  11. #23
    FB Moderator Bamabuzzard's Avatar
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Our biggest advantage is the 5 weeks of rest and preparation. Most experts will tell you given a month to prepare for a game Nick Saban is the best in the business.
    The existence of God isn't determined in the thoughts of man. God exist, no matter what man thinks.

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  12. #24

    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by skrayper77 View Post
    We commit to our power running game and kick their rears with the play action, like we did Georgia.
    I suspect we'll retake the lead after the BCSCG.
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  13. #25

    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    certainly we're going to have to run the ball effectively. if we can't run and are forced to pass then that ND sack machine can get going and tee off on our relatively pedestrian pass protection.

    one thing to keep in mind....ND have a RS Frosh qb. No freshman (RS or true) have won a title since Jamelle Holieway in 1985. That brings up the 2nd big point (our running game being the #1 key) which is confusing their RS Frosh QB. In nearly every game in the past several years that we lost or even played close it was the opponent's QB having a truly memorable effort....Murray, Mettenberger, Garcia, sCam, Manziel, Tebow. Basically the opponent's QB always has to have a great game to even keep within a dozen points. I think that'll be the case on Jan 7. Manziel proved that a RS Frosh can do it but I don't think anyone is putting Golston in Johnny Manziel's class yet

  14. #26
    FB Moderator Bamabuzzard's Avatar
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    Re: A BCSCG statistical snippet: Why Notre Dame's Rushing Defense ranking is misleadi

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolltide_PA View Post
    certainly we're going to have to run the ball effectively. if we can't run and are forced to pass then that ND sack machine can get going and tee off on our relatively pedestrian pass protection.

    one thing to keep in mind....ND have a RS Frosh qb. No freshman (RS or true) have won a title since Jamelle Holieway in 1985. That brings up the 2nd big point (our running game being the #1 key) which is confusing their RS Frosh QB. In nearly every game in the past several years that we lost or even played close it was the opponent's QB having a truly memorable effort....Murray, Mettenberger, Garcia, sCam, Manziel, Tebow. Basically the opponent's QB always has to have a great game to even keep within a dozen points. I think that'll be the case on Jan 7. Manziel proved that a RS Frosh can do it but I don't think anyone is putting Golston in Johnny Manziel's class yet
    I've come to expect key players to have their best performances against us. Simply because we are the team with the target on our back. It is the price for being on top. Teams, fanbases etc. get up for us. WAAAAY UP!!! So I fully expect their freshman quarterback to play lights out. But I also expect our staff to prepare for him as well. With five weeks Nick Saban and Kirby Smart will know every voluntary and involuntary move this kids makes on any situation that happens during a game. That gives me peace.
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