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Three for One

Posted by cuorange on October 12, 2009

I usually do a post for each of the stats I’ll give you here.  I’ve decided to combine the three this week in an attempt to pound home how important these are to any improvement the Tigers may make (or not) on offense. 

Third down conversions
Regression here for the Tigers, as they went a putrid 4 of 16 against Maryland including a 1 for 8 mark in the second half.  Combine that with a 2 for 8 second half against TCU and you have 3 for 16 with 0 points (on offense) in the second half of the last two losses.

The good news is the Tigers converted the only two third and shorts against Maryland.  The bad news is they were 0-4 on third and 4-6.

Year 3rd and 1-3 3rd and 4-6 3rd and 7-10 3rd and 11 or more
2008 60.71% 38.10% 20.69% 8.33%
2009 55.00% 33.33% 23.33% 20.00%
2009 11/20 7/21 7/30 3/15

The Tigers 32.56% conversion rate is good for 94th in the NCAA Bowl Subdivision.  It’s an improvement over last years 29.94% and 111th ranking, but not by much.

Field Position should equal points
Every talking head and high school blogger knows that field position determines the winner in most games.  Unless you’re Clemson.  In the Tigers three losses the Tigers have started 12 drives starting at their 40 or better (including 5 times at Maryland, 2 of which were in Maryland territory).  What has become of these 12 drives? 65 plays, 191 yards (16 yards on average) and 13 points (1 TD, 2 FGs), 1 interception, 3 punts, 3 failed fourth down plays and 2 missed field goals.  Horrific. 

 

Opponent Started Plays Yards Result
Georgia Tech CU 40 6 17 Downs
Georgia Tech CU 45 3 7 Punt
Georgia Tech CU 42 6 20 Punt
Georgia Tech CU 43 7 57 TD
TCU CU 40 3 0 Punt
TCU CU 44 7 20 Downs
TCU CU 43 4 3 Downs
Maryland CU 41 10 35 FG
Maryland CU 43 9 24 FG
Maryland CU 40 2 8 Int
Maryland MD 29 4 -1 MFG
Maryland MD 31 4 1 MFG
Total 12 65 191 1 TD, 2 FG, 1 Int, 3 Punts, 3 Downs, 2 MFG

Sure, I realize that the Tigers have also given up some field position in those losses, such as Maryland returning a punt to the Clemson 1, but the point is when you get the ball at the 40 or better you should score more than 3 of 12 times.

Offensive and Defensive Efficiency
In the last three games the Tigers have had 40 possessions and scored 41 points (excluding returns).  1 point per possession. 

At times I’ve been accused of comparing Clemson’s offense to the best in the business (say OU from 2008).  So let’s look dead in the middle of the pack, which at the time of this writing happened to be South Carolina.  The Gamecocks and their “terrible” offense comes in at  2.19 points per possession, which equates to .77 points more per possession than Clemson’s offense.  Big deal you say?  It is when you average 14 possessions a game.  Averaging 2.19 points per possession would mean close to 11 points more per game for Clemson.  Clemson has lost by 3, 4 and 3.  You do the math.  A team with an “average” offense would probably be undefeated with Clemson’s defense.

Offensive Efficiency

Opponent TD FG Punts TO Downs Half Possess Points OE
MTSU 2 3 3 2 3 1 14 23 1.64
Georgia Tech 3 2 6 2 2 0 15 27 1.80
Boston College 0 6 5 3 1 1 16 18 1.13
TCU 1 1 5 0 4 0 11 10 0.91
Maryland 1 2 6 1 2 0 13 13 1.00
Totals 7 14 25 8 12 2 69 81 1.32

Defensive Efficiency

Opponent TD FG Punts TO Downs Half Possess Points DE
MTSU 1 0 7 3 3 1 15 7 0.47
Georgia Tech 2 3 6 2 0 2 15 23 1.53
Boston College 1 0 10 4 1 1 17 7 0.41
TCU 2 0 6 0 1 2 11 14 1.27
Maryland 3 1 7 1 1 2 15 24 1.60
Totals 6 3 29 9 5 6 58 51 1.03

Speaking of the Clemson defense, I am a little worried about those two Maryland drives (particularly the final one) before the half.  That said, these stats are a bit misleading because the third Maryland touchdown “drive” began at the Clemson 1 (and it still took them 3 plays and a questionable call to score). 

The last drive before the half absolutely killed the Tigers and when you look at these stats it paints a disturbing picture assuming the offense doesn’t improve.  Give up 1 point or less per possession and Clemson wins.  More than a point per possession and Clemson loses.  Not good odds.

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One Response to “Three for One”

  1. […] Clemson planning to alternate centers with Dalton Freeman and Mason Cloy. CUOrange drops all that not so promising stat-age on us. Paul Strelow of the State says it’s not over for the Tigers. Ed McGranahan says Dabo […]

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