I decided to create the companion diary to “When We Went To The Air” because it might be interesting to show the “behavior” of our rushing offense this season. Although the results are something the MGoCommunity may not find shocking, they are intriguing when presented in this fashion, I believe.
Average yards per carry (YPC) managed to stay fairly steady throughout the season. Indeed, after Alabama, we showed very little variance in this statistic with each game. The average moved in a range between 5.6 and 5.0 yards per carry, but the game-by-game performance, as you will note, was far more erratic. In games where our YPC was above the current average at that time, we were 5-0, but when we were at or below the average, we were 3-4 (include Alabama as “at average”).
It should be noted that all three of those wins where our YPC was at or below average were games which Gardner started as well, so the implicit message is something that someone pointed out in the previous diary quite succinctly and something that is likely not going to shock anyone – when Denard Robinson was not moving on the ground, we were having issues.
A similar story can be told for net yards as well – when we were producing more than the current average, we were also 5-0, and when we weren’t, we were 3-4 overall (again, including Alabama as “at average”). You will also see in this chart the effect post-Nebraska, which is again not news but very interesting to see in this format. We did not fully recover and we took until Iowa to get back to the season average as of that time.
I also looked at total carries versus the cumulative average, and this one was interesting to me, and hopefully to the board as well. It was a subtle shift, but we end up 5-1 when going to the rushing game at a rate above the average, and 3-3 when we went to the ground at or below the average number of times.
I tried to find as well a way to get a glimpse of offensive line play statistically, which is sometimes difficult, I think. I decided to look at net yards as a percentage of gained yards, because it seems to me that this would show us – at least a little – how the offensive line was performing on rushes, and yet again, the split is 5-0 / 3-4 for above cumulative average versus at or below it.
So, to tie the two diaries together (hopefully) for a moment…
I gave the same treatment to total offense, and it was something of a feast-or-famine proposition this year. When the offense was above its running average, we were 7-0, and when it was not, we were 1-4. That sole win in the latter group is actually the win against Michigan State. Further, I also charted the percentage split between passing and rushing for both cumulative season totals as well as individual games, just to see what and where the balance might be, if any.