at least it's not just us?
**A few people thought this was worthy of a diary post, so here you are.**
I've seen a few diaries analyze the defense in terms of total yardage, points allowed, etc. However, I don't think total yardage and points are necessarily the best measurements to evaluate our defensive performances. Those measurements fail to account for how quickly we score on offense, our special teams (or lack of in this case) play, turnovers, and starting field position for the opposition.
I decided to evaluate the defense in a more comprehensive manner, using several statistics to get a "big picture" view of the defense. I used several statistics to evaluate the defense during B10 play:
- % of stops (defined as non-scoring drives by the opposition)
- % of punts forced by the defense
- % of 3-and-outs forced by the defense
- Points per drive allowed by the defense
- Average starting field position by the opposition
- Yard Per Drive By Opposition
Here's how B10 play stacks up
Game 1 (Indiana):
- 7 stops on 13 drives (53.8%) - 2 stops were forced by turnover on downs
- 4 punts on 13 drives (30.8%)
- One 3-and-out (7.7%)
- 35 points on 13 drives = 2.69 points per drive
- Average starting position by Indiana = 26.31 yard line (Indiana Territory)
- 568 yards on 13 drives = 43.69 yards per drive
Game 2 (MSU)
- 4 stops on 10 drives (40%)
- 4 punts on 10 drives (40%)
- Two 3-and-outs on 10 drives (20%)
- 34 points on 10 drives = 3.4 points per drive
- Average starting field position by MSU = 30.1 yard line (MSU Territory)
- 536 yards on 10 drives = 53.6 yards per drive
Game 3 (Iowa)
- 5 stops on 11 drives (45.5%)
- 5 punts on 11 drives (45.5%)
- Five 3-and-outs on 11 drives (45.5%)
- 38 points on 11 drives = 3.45 points per drive
- Iowa average starting field position = 38.09 yard line (Iowa Territory)
- 383 yards on 11 drives = 34.82 yards per drive
Game 4 (Penn State)
- 2 stops on 9 drives (22.2%) - That is a very ugly number
- 2 punts on 9 drives (22.2%)
- One 3-and-out (11.1%)
- 41 points on 9 drives = 4.56 points per drive
- Average Starting Field Position for Penn State = 37.78 yard line (Penn State Territory)
- 435 Yards on 9 drives = 48.33 yards per drive
Game 5 (Illinois)- Regulation Only
- 8 stops on 14 drives (57.14%) including 1 fumble and missed FG -
- 6 punts on 14 drives (42.75%) -
- Four 3-and-outs (28.57%) -
- 45 points on 14 drives = 3.21 points per drive -
- Average starting field position for Illinois = 40.43 yard line (Illinois Territory) - TO's and special teams absolutely killed us
- 486 yards on 14 drives = 34.71 yards per drive
Game 6 (Purdue)
- 12 stops on 15 (80%) including 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions - That's a NICE number!
- 7 punts on 15 drives (47%) - tainted by generating TO's
- Four 3-and-outs on 15 drives (27%) -definitely tainted by generating TO's
- 9 points on 15 drives = .6 points per drive(Purdue's TD was off an INT)
- Average starting field position for Purdue - 35.93 yard line (Purdue Territory) - Wasn't really this bad, a few TO's in our territory really skewed the numbers
- 244 yards on 15 drives = 16.27 - Holy Shit there is a God!
Game Standings from Best to Worst:
|Stop%||Punt%||3-and-out%||Points/Drive||Starting Field Position|
|purdue (80)||purdue (47)||iowa (45.5)||purdue (.6)||Ind (26.31 yard line)|
|illinois (57.14)||Iowa (45.5)||illinois (28.57)||Ind (2.69)||MSU (30.1 yard line)|
|Ind (53.8)||ill (42.75)||purdue (27)||ill (3.21)||purdue (35.9 yard line)|
|Iowa (45.5)||MSU (40)||MSU (20)||MSU (3.4)||PSU (37.78 yard line)|
|MSU (40)||Ind (30.8)||PSU (11.1)||Iowa (3.45)||Iowa (38.09 yard line)|
|PSU (22.2)||PSU (22.2)||Ind (7.7)||PSU (4.56)||ill (40.43 yard line)|
**Yards Per Drive**
Purdue (16.27 Yards Per Drive)
Illinois (34.71 Yards per Drive)
Iowa (34.82 Yards per Drive)
Indiana (43.69 Yards per Drive)
Penn State (48.33 Yards Per Drive)
MSU (53.6 Yards Per Drive)
What does all this tell us:
I'm not foolish enough to believe we have a defense that is even approaching slightly below average, however, I do think we've made some improvement during 3 of the past 4 weeks with PSU being the outlier for the entire season. Taking into account that we've basically been without Mike Martin the past few weeks, and Mouton is playing at half strength, I definitely think we're trending upward. Even Avery is starting to look like a reasonable option at CB.
We all understand the defense is going to be a liability for the rest of the year, but if the secondary can play semi-adequate for the Wisconsin game, we might have a reasonable chance of winning if the offense doesn't turn the ball over. Wisconsin's pass offense is ranked #74 in terms of passing efficiency and only average 200 yards per game. However, they have a potent rushing game that is ranked #12 in terms of yards per game. Our rush defense certainly isn't good(#75 in the country), but it's not absolutely horrible either. If we play clean football, we might have a chance at winning this game. Wisconsin is not a big play team, and if the secondary can just be something approaching average, I think we have enough firepower on offense to pull it out.
Vincent Smith continued his good play for the second straight week. It looks like he's finally healing up from that ACL injury he suffered last year. Thoughts?
I've seen this called incorrectly in several games in the past week, and it's something that really bothered me today when Michigan was flagged for delay of game after advancing a punt. According to the NCAA rulebook (http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/FR09.pdf) Rule 2-7 article 2 states:
"A valid signal is a signal given by a player of Team B who has obviously signaled his intention by extending one hand only clearly above his head and waving that hand from side to side of his body more than once."
Using a signal similar to an incomplete pass is quite common, and by definition is legal. This is pretty cut and dry, I'm not sure why multiple officiating crews struggle with it.
Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein's twitter, NU's QB Dan Persa is out for the rest of the year:
Fitz on persa: ruptured achilles. Out for remainder of season. Surgery tonight. What a blow.
Huge loss for the Wildcats. Persa was arguably the best all around QB this season in the Big Ten. He MADE PLAYS. Lots of them, including several key plays to lead them to victory over Iowa today.
While we're enjoying the deliciously ugly Purdue win I wanted to bring up another win, this one for Brian and MGoBlog. Does anyone remember the back and forth between Brian and BHGP, when our fearless leader predicted that Iowa would run out of luck this season after all the lucky bounces in 2009? Looks like Brian was right, no?
Brian 1 BHGP 0
P.S. Will someone make up for my depressing laziness and post the link?
For all the crap that has happened this off season, there are 1000 reasons why this season could have completely gone into the tanks. From losing 3 recruting classes worth of Secondary players, to the NCAA investigation, all the questioning about his job, continual rotation of injuries... RR has our boys 7-3 with a garunteed winning season and a bowl game.
This is not where we want to be as a final product. It has not been pretty. However, these are steps in the right direction of getting there, and I am looking forward to seeing the product that steps out onto the field in 2011-2012, and us making a run for the first championship in the new Big X(II).
Now, let's get our heads wrapped around Wisconsin coming to town next Saturday, and the chance for an 8 win season!