This week’s factor favorite (Upchurch)
1. The Six Factors
|Field Pos||Early Conv||Bonus Yds||Avg 3rd Dist||Adj 3rd Conv||Red Zone|
|Offense||15.3 (42)||55% (40)||211 (36)||7.0 (81)||+14% (13)||7.0 (1)|
|Defense||23.4 (80)||41% (30)||145 (35)||5.1 (34)||+8% (75)||3.4 (26)|
*Game score first, season long national rank in ()
Notre Dame had a field position score advantage, mostly thanks to The Worst Pass Ever. Michigan dominated early conversions while more manageable third downs. Brian Kelly teams have traditionally been geared this way, strongly managing third down distance at the expense of facing more of them. Gallon’s big catch a run providing most of the gap in bonus yards as Mattison’s defensive plan limited yards beyond the sticks.
While Michigan continued to be a very good 3rd down team on offense, Notre Dame did well on third down when they had the ball, even beyond the more manageable distances that they faced. The story of the game though was the red zone. Notre Dame made 5 trips into the red zone and came away with 17 points, Michigan made four trips and scored 28. Michigan won by 11.
Two games into the season the national rankings don’t mean much with cupcakes galore and outliers, everywhere. Still, 18 teams have made at least seven trips to the red zone in competitive situations this season, only Michigan and Oklahoma State have scored on every trip. It’s not going to hold up all season, but the evidence is mounting that Gardner is a red zone genius.
Field Position: A team’s expected points based on where a team started its drives
Early Conversion: The percentage of first downs' that are converted prior to a third down play
Bonus Yards: All yards gained after the first down marker
Average 3rd Down Distance: Average yards to go on third down
Adjusted 3rd Down Conversion: Rate of conversion for a team on third down, adjusted for the standard conversion rate based on yards to go, 0% is average
Red Zone: Points per red zone trip (TD’s counted as 7 regardless of PAT)
All categories except field position are based solely on plays in competitive situations (all first half plays and any second half plays where the drive begins or ends within two scores).
2. Individual Performances
Devin Gardner: +19.4 pts, +51% win pct (+12, +32% pass, +7, +20% rush)
Jeremy Gallon: +16.8, +38%
Fitzgerald Toussaint: +1.7, +17%
Drew Dileo: +3.4, +4%
Two games in and Devin Gardner is putting together more evidence that he could join the elusive +14 value club. Jeremy Gallon was obviously fantastic and although Toussaint’s direct value was slightly positive, the timing of his big fourth quarter run and catch made his win contribution much higher than his point contribution (more below). Although Dileo’s touchdown was huge, the numbers indicate that The Threat’s second down touchdown catch wasn’t as big as several other plays in the game.
Tommy Rees: +1.5, –3%
George Atkinson (rushing only): +1.5, +4%
Amir Carlisle (rushing only): +4.2, +6%
Davaris Daniels: +3.8, +7%
TJ Jones: +10.8, +22%
Troy Niklas: +6.4, +10%
Tommy Rees put up the yards, but the two interceptions and 51 attempts indicate how yards aren’t always the best indicator of performance. Rees’s performance didn’t lose the game for the Irish, but he couldn’t win it for them either. On the ground the Irish had more success in limited attempts with both Atkinson and Carlisle generating positive points and win value.
TJ Jones had the big impact in the passing game, with double digit value and a significant win percentage addition.
3. Game Chart
Michigan’s odds of winning the game as time progressed. For a game that felt tight throughout, it’s interesting to see that the game was relatively secure through most of the second half.
The six biggest plays from the game:
6. +7.7%, Gardner to Toussaint for 31 yards on the wheel route
5. +7.8%, Toussaint with the miracle cutback for 22 yards
4. –9.1%, Matt Wile shanks his punt 21 yards
3. +11.3%, Gallon cloaking device: ENGAGED
2. –11.4%, Gardner thinking device: disengaged
1. 11.5%, Countess picks off Rees (+7.7%) and runs it back (+3.8%) to set up Michigan before half
A lot of interesting plays steered this one throughout. Toussaint’s big plays in the fourth quarter were huge in driving the result. Garnder’s brain fart and Wile’s ensuing shank sure felt like killers and they ended up being two of the four biggest plays of the game. In a game with swings like this, it was surprising to see a first half play take home top honors but there is no doubt that Countess’s pick AND run to give Michigan an extra possession before half was a massive swing.
4. Ron Zook Dumb Punt of the Week
Wake Forest and South Florida both went the punt route on 4th down trailing by two touchdowns with 5 minutes left. Temple punted from midfield down by 2 with 6 minutes left in the game.
And your winner is…
Southern Miss who found themselves in an early 18 point hole against Nebraska and were facing a fourth and two at the Nebraska 37. After choosing to punt, the Golden Eagles should have just punted on first down from then on.
Bonus: Futile Field Goal of the Week
Idaho kicked a field goal while down 42 points but doesn’t get the vote because they were currently sitting on zero points, so the desire to avoid the shutout is at least partially understood.
UAB gets the first ever Futile Field Goal of the Week, missing a 57 yard field goal while down 32 points to LSU. Not sure what the decision making process was there, but hey I guess if you made you only need three touchdowns with a regular conersion and only one with a two-point conversion to force overtime.
5. Around the NCAA
- Spartan fans have always dreamed of having a team like USC and it looks like may have finally gotten their wish. Both teams are elite good on defense and elite terrible on offense and have no clue which quarterback is the lesser of the evils.
- Maize & Blue Nation’s post-game wrap-up had a point that caught my attention, older RB’s don’t fumble. I quickly ran some numbers and over the last 11 years, true freshmen running backs have fumbled at a rate of 2.34% of carries (lost and recovered). Players with at least 3 years in the program have fumbled at a rate of 2.34% of carries! The experience is still important but there is no evidence to say that the value is in reducing fumbles.
- Tennessee got all of the turnovers from Western Kentucky last week but they went 0-5 in third down conversions, a distance last place at –49% adjusted conversion rate.
- Indiana scored touchdowns on their last 5 possessions, but didn’t have a possession that started beyond their own 25 for the entire game.
|Field Pos||Early Conv||Bonus Yds||Avg 3rd Dist||Adj 3rd Conv||Red Zone|
|Offense||6.9 (119)||59% (13)||18 (116)||9.9 (111)||-3% (69)||N/A|
|Defense||10.4 (9)||43% (32)||172 (94)||5.3 (88)||+19% (106)||5.0 (48)|
Akron only has one game against a decent UCF team on the books so far (I don’t include last week’s game against James Madison). The offense looks to be geared toward getting to the first down mark. They are good at early conversions but awful at bonus yards and average third down distance which means they are looking to get right at the stick a lot on offense. On defense they were decent about stopping early conversions but bad at everything else. They gave up big plays, short third downs and lots of conversions. It’s just one game of data but it is Akron.
QB Kyle Pohl (88)
RB Jawon Chisholm (108)
RB Conor Hundley (116)
I have Akron ranked 7th in the MAC in terms of talent and experience which puts them just inside the top 100 nationally at 97.
Michigan a lot, Akron not very many and hopefully a big day for the running backs