This hurt. [Fuller]
Longtime readers will know the MGoBlog policy on sacking: sacks and sack yardage should be counted as passing, because they are pass plays, not rushing, as the NCAA and thus everybody else is wont to do. Counting sacks as passing leads to a better understanding of success and where yards come from, and prevents problems like the computer in the NCAA videogames passing every play because the sacks that generates keep making the rushing numbers look progressively more awful.
For the Hail to the Victors preview books (kickstarter coming soon) each year we put these "At-a-Glance" boxes into the opponent previews, complete with offensive and defensive stats that we've adjusted for this. Having done the calculations for that, I thought I'd share them with you.
First, the difference it makes to passing stats:
|Team||Pass Att||Pass Yds||YPA||Rk||Sacks||Sack Yds||YPA||Rk|
By counting sacks as passing Michigan drops from 8.15 yards per attempt (good for the best passing team in the conference last year) to a more realistic 6.85 YPA, dropping them to fourth. Minnesota's passing game dropped from middling to awful, Iowa's climbed from the bottom to the middle.
And the difference to running stats:
|Team||Rushes||Rush Yds||YPC||Rk||Sacks||Sack Yds||YPA||Rk|
Michigan's awful running game is still awful, but it no longer looks like the Scheelhaase option-running game was a disaster. Ohio State's 7.27 YPC isn't just first among the conference; OSU and Wisconsin were the #1 and #2 rushing offenses in the country. Michigan: 115th out of 125 teams.
This isn't perfect since quarterback scrambles still can't be pulled out of rushing stats, but that's not so big of a deal considering a running QB should be contributing to your rushing success.
[Jump for Devin Garder's passing season and profiles of next year's opponents]
Individual passing: Like an idiot I went and personally input every sack number for Big Ten QBs from NCAA's box score totals before thinking to ask Mathlete, who had all that already. Anyway here's the pure passing stats of QBs of interest:
|Rk||Player||Team||PA (Adj)||P Yds (Adj)||YPA|
|2||Tommy Rees||Notre Dame||422||3194||7.57|
|6||Braxton Miller||Ohio State||276||1879||6.81|
|7||Christian Hackenberg||Penn State||413||2810||6.80|
|10||Kenny Guiton||Ohio State||110||740||6.73|
|11||Tommy Armstrong Jr.||Nebraska||135||891||6.60|
|13||Connor Cook||Michigan State||396||2610||6.59|
|17||Ron Kellogg III||Nebraska||141||848||6.01|
The Indiana offense is crazy-awesome and that plus the receivers they had last year made their quarterbacks' stats crazy-awesome. Tommy Rees was a good QB but he was also the beneficiary of a system designed for high-efficiency passing. My point is Devin Gardner is right behind them. He too was helped by good receiving—Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess were two of the higher-efficiency targets in the conference according to a study I'll share at a later date. And the TD/INT ratio will certainly reflect a higher level of risk from him. That's still some dang impressive pure passing stats.
But there's totally a QB controversy guys.
2014 Opponents (who were FBS last year, i.e. not App State):
Wallowing any further in the 2013 offense won't do us much good, so let's shift our focus to things we can learn about next year's enemies. How to read this: Ranks are given as if they were part of a 14-team Big Ten conference. YPP is total yardage/play. Show?
|Team||YPC||Rush Rk||YPA||Pass Rk||All YPP||YPP Rk|
Tendency: A more accurate accounting of sacks provides a more accurate portrayal of teams' tendencies, although this still has all sorts of two-minute drills and comebacks or clock-killing all-runs-with-the-backups drives, etc.
Touchdown rate is simply touchdowns divided by total plays. Turnover rate is the percent of plays there ought to have been a turnover—given that 50% of fumbles ought to be recovered I took interceptions plus 50% of total fumbles and divided that total by the number of plays.
|Team||Run%||Run % Rk||TD Rate||TD% Rk||TO Rate||TO% Rk|
What we get is a rough idea of how that team played. As you might imagine turnovers were inversely correlated with how good the offense was in general: Ohio State's highly efficient offense got into the end zone on a remarkable 1 out of every 12 plays, but they didn't turn the ball over either; Miami (not THAT Miami) was awful at scoring and turned the ball over a ton because they were awful on offense.
Michigan got into the end zone on 5.4% of their plays—good for fourth in the conference—but also had a high turnover rate, suggesting an offense playing risk-ball. Among next year's opponents only Utah (4.7% scoring rate against a 3.2% turnover rate) seems to have the same profile. Conservative teams were Minnesota, Michigan State, and Northwestern.
Interesting thing about the run/pass ratios: primarily running offenses were Ohio State, Minnesota and a lot of teams not on Michigan's schedule next year. Notre Dame, Utah, Rutgers, Indiana and Maryland are passing offenses. In other words, Michigan's likely to be facing a lot more passing this season than they did in 2013.
Defense: Sure, I can flip these to show how the defenses did.
|Team||YPP||YPP Rk||YPC||Rush Rk||YPA||Pass Rk|
Not a lot of surprises here. Among new opponents, Miami (NTM) is just really bad on defense, Rutgers is not good against passing, and Utah's defense was a lot like Michigan's. Notre Dame was weak against the run despite a very good defensive line, reportedly because their linebackers were a problem.
|Team||Run%||Run % Rk||TD Rate||TD% Rk||TO Rate||TO% Rk|
This has more to do with schedules than how the defenses play, e.g. Rutgers saw a lot of dinky-dunk offenses in the Big East/American, while MSU saw lots of passing plays because running on their defense was suicide. Notably Michigan was second only to MSU in generating turnovers.
Indiana's defense was just bad and MSU's was just really good, but the discrepancies in TD% and TO% ranks for Notre Dame, Utah and Maryland (bolded above) demonstrate defenses playing bend-don't-break. That fits with what we've heard about their defenses, though Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator says he's going to reverse that, having his backfield play a lot more man as opposed to the mostly zone they were in last year. Michigan's was the only defense that seemed to stand out as high-risk, or "aggressive" if you're using coach speak.
- All the stuff they said about our offensive line was true. Giving sacks to the passing game didn't help the rushing game, but painted a picture of a devastating passing game if only could protect the quarterback.
- Michigan is "aggressive," if you consider the high TD and turnover rates purposeful, and high-event if you don't. So there's a reason to watch, eh?
- Ohio State's offense and Michigan State's defense were off-the-charts good. They should be emulated.
- The 2014 schedule has way more passing offenses than last year, and that's not even considering Northwestern going from Kain Colter to Unstoppable Throw God Trevor Siemian and Penn State going to a dunky James Franklin offense.
- Purdue was all kinds of horrible.
- Utah is the most similar team to Michigan on our schedule next year.