Clemson: The Numbers

As I was skimming over Shakin' The Southland trying to learn a bit more about Clemson for this upcoming game, I noticed a decent feature they had, comparing the recruiting numbers on the two-deep depth charts between Clemson and their opponents. I don't like how they strictly kept their analysis to recruiting, though, so I wanted to take a more in-depth look at relevant statistics. I also liked the position group comparisons the Testudo Times did for the FSU game -- although their comparisons leaned towards the ridiculous -- so I included something similar here.

If I didn't include some specific stats or useful advanced metrics, let me know. I tried to grab most stats I thought were relevant, and in most cases included per game/per play stats rather than net stats.

Before I throw the rankings out, though, the usual argument from a Clemson fan would be about schedule strength, so it's probably worth touching on that first by comparing our opponents:

Opponent Breakdown:

CU Opponent: F/+ Dunkel S&P Offense S&P Defense FSU Opponent: F/+ Dunkel S&P Offense S&P Defense
Georgia 10.00 12 12 21.00 Pitt 51.00 50 30 28
NC State 80.00 67 67 51.00 Nevada 108.00 80 50 117
Wake Forest 95.00 98 117 45.00 BC 75.00 74 48 67
Syracuse 83.00 47 81 99.00 Maryland 43.00 48 43 17
BC 75.00 74 48 67.00
Average: 68.60 59.6 65.00 56.60 Average: 69.25 63 42.75 57.25

Takeaway: Even with Georgia as clearly the best opponent either team has played, the schedules of the two teams have actually been very comparable. Clemson's schedule has been very slightly tougher in F/+ and a bit tougher than that by the Dunkel index. Interestingly, FSU has played significantly tougher offenses, which skews some of Clemson's defensive statistics.

Also, for whatever the FCS games are worth, the Dunkel Index ranks Bethune Cookman as the #17 FCS team, South Carolina State as #51.

Overall Rankings:

Advanced Metrics: F/+ S&P (Overall) Dunkel Index FEI(Overall)
Clemson: 18th 245 (14th) 109.605 (9th) .244 (8th)
FSU: 3rd 299.1 (1st) 115.520 (3rd) .244 (9th)

Takeaway: Pretty obvious. Worth noting that none of these numbers are updated for this last week yet. S&P, FEI, and Dunkel Index are updated. F/+ hasn't been released yet. (15Oct)

Offensive Rankings/Stats:

Offensive Stats S&P (Offense) FEI (Offense) Yards/Game Yards/Play Off TDs/Game 3rd Down Conversion% RZ Offense Rush Yds/Game Rush Yds/Carry Pass Yds/Game Pass Yds/Att
Clemson 111.3 (31st) .356 (20th) 514.5 (13th) 6.3 (33rd) 5 (17th) 44.1% (49th) 84.6% (53rd) 172.5 (65th) 4.01 (83rd) 342 (10th) 8.84 (13th)
Florida State 153.2 (2nd) .426 (16th) 549 (4th) 8.27 (2nd) 6.6 (3rd) 51% (12th) 96.6% (4th) 228.2 (17th) 6.01 (9th) 320.8 (18th) 11.3 (2nd)

Takeaway: I never thought our offense would have been in a position to be superior to Clemson's this season, but Clemson leads in exactly one statistic -- passing yards a game. A comparison with last year's numbers for Clemson is interestingly as well: the Clemson offense has actually been statistically better overall and in passing -- the only decline in their offense has been in the rushing game. However, Clemson is slightly more than 10% worse in Red Zone Offense from last year, and significantly worse on 3rd down -- 52.6% last year. In those two categories, they were 1st and 4th in the nation last season -- this year they're 49th and 53rd respectively (Nuk?).

Defensive Rankings/Stats:

Defensive Stats S&P (Defense) FEI (Defense) Yards/Game Yards/Play Off TDs/Game (Allowed) Sacks/Game TFL/Game 3rd Down Conversion% RZ Defense Rush Yds/Game Rush Yds/Carry Pass Yds/Game Pass Yds/Att
Clemson Offensive Line 106.0 (46th) -.714 (5th) 344.8 (22nd) 5.06 (32nd) 2.33 (30th) 4 (1st) 10.2 (1st) 23.7% (1st) 60% (4th) 158.3 (64th) 3.94 (50th) 186.5 (17th) 6.66 (45th)
Florida State 145.9 (6th) -.479 (14th) 276.8 (7th) 4.33 (8th) 1.4 (4th) 2 (53rd) 6.6 (40th) 29.4% (16th) 75% (30th) 127.8 (27th 3.35 (23rd) 149 (2nd) 5.78 (13th)

Takeaway: The S&P advantage to FSU is expected given the tougher offenses FSU has faced, but the advantage in raw numbers is more interesting given that. FSU's defense is better across the board except for in four categories where Clemson is performing incredibly: Sacks, Tackles for Loss, 3rd Down Conversion percentage, and Red Zone Defense. The RZ battle between Clemson and FSU should be very interesting -- the #1 RZ defense versus the #4 RZ offense.

Recruiting Breakdown:

Recruiting Breakdown: FSU Scout FSU Rivals CU Scout CU Rivals
Off All: 3.59 3.55 3.27 3.27
Off Starters: 3.82 3.73 3.45 3.45
Def All: 4.00 4.00 3.41 3.59
Def Starters: 4.00 4.18 3.45 3.45
Overall: 3.80 3.77 3.34 3.43
Overall Starters: 3.91 3.95 3.45 3.45

Takeaway: I don't think this is as important as STS obviously does, but it's relevant. I didn't bother to factor in special teams recruiting, but the recruiting breakdown is about what you'd expect given our recent recruiting success: dominant across the board.

Position Groups:

Offensive Line:

Clemson Height Weight Scout Rivals FSU Height Weight Scout Rivals
Overall: 76.1 304 3 3.1 Overall: 76.6 311.8 3.1 3
Starters: 75.6 303 3.2 3.2 Starters: 77 317.8 3.6 3.4

Various Statistics: TFL Allowed/Game Sacks Allowed/Game
Clemson 6.67 (91st) 2.17 (81st)
Florida State 5.2 (46th) 1.8 (61st)

Takeaway: FSU has the better regarded OL in terms of recruiting by a bit. Interesting to note that FSU has a significantly larger group here -- an extra 1.4" and 14.8 lbs. per starter. By the stats, Clemson's OL has been very bad -- the struggles by the running game are evident from the overall offensive stats, but their TFL/Sacks numbers are also terrible. FSU's aren't particularly great, either, and we're facing a team that is great defensively in those numbers. FSU fans haven't been overjoyed with the OL yet this season, but I don't think I've heard too many thoughts regarding our OL similar to the one in STS' recap of the BC game:

Clemson's offensive line has clearly regressed in the run game over the last few weeks. They are not physical. They got beat like a collection of 5 year old girls today. Every one of them either got his ass kicked or completely missed an assignment at least once that wrecked a play. Kalon Davis was the worst offender, having pissed down his leg in pass protection, and can't get his ass in gear when he pulls. He was doing his best to refresh my memory of the worthless Antoine McClain. I thought I had blacked that shit out but apparently not. My gut feeling is that we are not hitting in practice enough since the UGA game and its showing on the field. We had to go max protect quite often to keep BC from planting Tajh in the turf, TEs still could barely pick anyone up, and its unacceptable.


Various Statistics: Comp% Yards/Attempt Yards/Completion Rating TD-to-INT (>=10TDs) Yards/Rush (Adj for sacks) (Rushing) TDs Starts:
Tajh Boyd 66.5% (24th) 9.6 (9th) 14.5(10th?) 172 (8th) 7.5:1 (9th) 4.36 5 33
Jameis Winston 73.2% (3rd) 11.7 (2nd) 16.01(7th) 213.9 (2nd) 8.5:1 (7th) 6.9 2 5

Takeaway: Clear victory for FSU based on lack of Jameis for Clemson. (Boyd's numbers are extremely good as well and he's a legitimate Heisman contender if Clemson wins this game and he's a significant reason why.)

Running Backs:

Individual Statistics: Yards Yards/Carry TDs Receptions Yards/Rec Games Played
Roderick McDowell 385 4.9 (132nd) 0 8 6 32
Zac Brooks 180 5.3 (100th) 2 4 18.75 10
Devonta Freeman 385 7.1 (25th) 3 5 9.2 28
James Wilder Jr. 214 5.9 (66th) 2 3 9 27
Karlos Williams 244 8.7 (6th) 6 1 15 4

Takeaway: Clemson's running game has clearly regressed from last season, whereas FSU has been very effective. FSU actually has 8 players (Freeman, Wilder, Williams, Winston, Abram, Coker, Maguire, Green) all averaging more yards/carry than all but one Clemson player -- their freshman QB (6.2 yards/carry). FSU's backs are superior in every facet but receiving.


Individual Statistics: Receptions Receptions/Game Yards Yards/Game Yards/Reception TDs
Sammy Watkins 36 6 582 97 (24th) 16.2 (83rd) 4
Rashad Greene 23 4.6 407 81.4 (44th) 17.7 (48th) 5
Adam Humphries 24 3 319 53.2 13.3 2
Kenny Shaw 23 4.6 466 93.2 (27th) 20.3 (14th) 3
Martavis Bryant 17 3 316 52.7 18.6 (32nd) 3
Kelvin Benjamin 17 3.4 299 59.8 17.6 (50th) 3
Stanton Seckinger 12 2 147 24.5 12.25 2
Nick O'Leary 11 2.2 132 26.4 12 5

Takeaway: Sammy Watkins is almost certainly the best receiver on the field. Even with Watkins as a consensus 5* recruit, FSU has a significant recruiting advantage in their receiving group (3.5* to 4* among the starters, bigger difference across the whole two-deep). Clemson's #2 WR on the depth chart (Peake) is out for the season.

Defensive Line:

CU Height Weight Scout Rivals FSU Height Weight Scout Rivals
All: 74.75 281.88 3.25 3.5 All: 74.5 290.88 4.375 4.25
Starters: 74.25 273.75 3.25 3.25 Starters: 74.75 301.5 4.5 4.5

Takeaway: Our defensive line depth is incredible, and our starters are huge. Yet Clemson clearly has a significantly stronger DL from last year, with Vic Beasley leading the way. Worth noting the health of Beasley's backup, Shaq Lawson:

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that Shaq Lawson's shoulder popped out. They will wait and see how he is doing Monday." - @ClemsonTigerNet


CU Height Weight Scout Rivals FSU Height Weight Scout Rivals
All: 73 231.666667 3.142857 3.285714 All: 75.33333 234.8333 3.5 3.666667
Starters: 74.33333 238.333333 3.666667 3.666667 Starters: 75.66667 237.6667 3 3.666667

Takeaway: This is the only position group on offense/defense I'd give Clemson the advantage at.

Defensive Backs:

CU Height Weight Scout Rivals FSU Height Weight Scout Rivals
All: 71.625 191.875 3.375 3.5 All: 71.875 192.875 4 4
Starters: 71.25 192.5 3.5 3.5 Starters: 71 194.5 4.25 4.25

Takeaway: I don't think there's any comparison here -- Clemson's DBs have been their weakness on D all season, while FSU's have been our strength. The Clemson safeties have been especially awful -- Travis Blanks is playing hurt, and his backup Jayron Kearse was terrible against BC.

None of that means that FSU is guaranteed a victory in Death Valley by any means. On a position group basis, though, how many groups would FSU fans rather have Clemson's?

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