The 3rd Quarter: Is FSU Still a Second Half Team? (UPDATED)

Longtime fans of Florida State might fondly recall the days where FSU would enter the locker room at halftime, losing to (insert university name here) by (insert score).  And you would feel badly because you hate being behind the eight ball.  But you also knew something else.  You knew it would be okay.  Your Florida State Seminoles, as much as you hated to admit it, were a Second Half team.  Coach Bobby Bowden would give up some sort of inspirational gobbledygook, Assistant / Associate / Deputy Head Coach (insert name) would scramble Xs and Os on a chalkboard, and the 'Noles would run out of the tunnel in the 3rd quarter and hang up (insert score) on (insert school) to win the game.  And the Seminole faithful rejoiced with beer, hot wings, etc.

As of today, it appears those days may be over.  At least for 2011 and Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.

Since yesterday was a College Football Saturday with no Seminole action, I took the opportunity to sit down and crunch some numbers.  It was my personal belief that Florida State had performed poorly in the 2nd half of games vs BCS competition.  Here is my process, followed by the results.  Please feel free to critique and offer suggestions or corrections as necessary.

METHODOLOGY: I used data compiled from AP Media drive statistics, segregated by quarter, for games FSU played vs BCS competition only.  (Seven games total.)  PLEASE NOTE that the data are inexact, in that it is compiled by quarter in relation to the quarter in which each drive begins.  Ergo, if a drive begins in the 1st quarter with 2:05 left on the clock and the drive lasts for five minutes and thirty seconds, the entire drive is compiled into first quarter statistics.  As part of your evaluation of these statistics, please keep in mind that SOME activity played in the 2nd and 4th quarters of SOME games are given as credit to the 1st and 3rd quarters.

I attempted to annotate such data, as is described below in the chart legend.  But if you bear with me long enough, you will see that this discrepancy is mostly irrelevant to the data.

Again, using data provided by AP Media drive statistics, I gathered the total sum of plays, yards (positive and negative), and points scored per quarter.  The number of plays will also include ALL snaps, even "garbage snaps" such as taking a knee to run out the 2nd quarter clock, since I was otherwise unable to remove garbage snaps from the 4th quarter.  (Again, you will find this to be mostly irrelevant to the data as well.)  Given this fact, readers may choose to use caution when evaluating 4th quarter data.  When evaluating the score, please keep in mind that this data is NOT segregated in the same manor as the drive statistics.  Point values listed were actually scored in the quarter presented.  Please read the chart legend for further clarification.

Also, please use discretion when evaluating the data for other variables we all know to exist.  For example, the injury to EJ Manuel et al during the Oklahoma game, or the Manuel for Trickett substitution during Wake Forest, etc.


LEGEND:  The data are presented as follows.

  • Number of downs played in a quarter.  This sum apparently does not include punt snaps, but scoring snaps (TD or FG) are included.
  • Number of net yards gained in a quarter.  Self explanatory.
  • Yards per play average.
  • Total points scored in the applicable quarter.

NOTE:  I attempted to negate the instances where drives overlapped the second and fourth quarters by annotating on the chart using a series of asterisks when these instances occurred.  This was done as follows.

  • *   = Only a very small percentage of the drive occurred in the following quarter.
  • **  = About half of the drive occurred in the following quarter.
  • *** = A significant portion of the drive occurred in the following quarter.
  • An asterisk next to a score denotes an instance when the overlapping drive was also a scoring drive.






1st Quarter - 124 plays, 912 total yards, 7.35483 ypp (68 total points)

2nd Quarter - 108 plays, 632 total yards, 5.85185 ypp (55 total points)

3rd Quarter - 111 plays, 576 total yards, 5.18918 ypp (30 total points)

4th Quarter - 115 plays, 776 total yards, 6.74782 ypp (74 total points)

Now if you followed my methodology at all, you will see that SOME of the statistics compiled in the 4th quarter of SOME games were added to 3rd quarter drives.  But not that much.  The 3rd quarter of FSU's season manages to produce 88.67% of the ypp of the 2nd quarter, 76.9% of the ypp of the 4th quarter, and 70.55% of the ypp of the 1st quarter.  By half, FSU totaled 1544 yards in the first half (53.31% of the season) compared to 1352 in the second half (46.68%), and as a reminder, this does include 4th quarter garbage time.

Florida State has also scored 227 points vs BCS competition, and yet only 13.21% of those points came in the 3rd quarter, compared to 29.95% in the 1st, 24.22% in the 2nd, and 32.59% in the 4th quarter. 

CONCLUSION:  The third quarter has proven to be overwhelmingly the least productive quarter for Florida State thus far.  If you also choose to exclude 4th quarter garbage scoring drives, the 4th quarter looks less impressive as well, which would appear to present Florida State very much as a First Half team.

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