Florida State football: the hidden yards v. Wake Forest

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, Florida State statistically demolishes an inferior opponent.

So this game was just, strange. To me at least. Florida State was all over on the field on this one, mostly due the 7 turnovers the defense forced. At one point, FSU started on Wake Forest's 2 yard line, and on another drive they were on their own 1 yard line. This was also by far the offense's worst performance of the whole season, even if you take out the drives in which Jameis Winston was not playing.

The defense turned in a great performance against an absolutely abysmal offense (Wake's offense is 110th in the F/+ rankings). On the flip side, the offense turned in a decent day against a pretty stout defense (Wake's defense is ranked 39th in F/+), but it seriously did not matter.

Garbage time for this game started right after Wake Forest punted with 3:57 left in the 3rd quarter, and that's being slightly generous in my opinion. Let's dig into the numbers a bit more.

Florida State's Offense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
TOUCHDOWN 80 80 13 6.15 100%
TOUCHDOWN 2 2 2 1.00 100%
TOUCHDOWN 15 15 2 7.50 100%
TOUCHDOWN 0 0 0 0.00 100%
TOUCHDOWN 0 0 0 0.00 100%
Fumble 99 50 6 8.33 51%
Punt 71 19 4 4.75 27%
Missed FG 28 4 2 2.00 14%
TOUCHDOWN 57 57 8 7.13 100%
Interception 91 52 9 5.78 57%
TOUCHDOWN 5 5 1 5.00 100%
FIELD GOAL 40 15 6 2.50 38%
Punt 82 3 9 0.33 4%
Punt 90 3 7 0.43 3%
Totals 660 305 69 4.42 46%

  • As you can see the two touchdown drives that did not have any yards gained on them were the defensive touchdowns scored.
  • This was by far FSU's worst offensive effort of the entire season as they were only able to gain 4.42 yards per play on 69 plays. That's honestly unacceptable in my eyes, especially given the way the offense has been performing the entire season. Some of this was due to FSU having a very short field to work with, but you could tell the offense gave up pretty quickly and tried to get cute with some plays (Jameis forcing a pass to Giorgio Newberry that ended in an interception).
  • FSU is still doing this ridiculous thing where they string together multiple scoring drives consecutively. Their ability to do this has lead to very early leads that often lead to blowouts. It feels weird typing this, but the only team that FSU did not end up blowing out this season is Boston College.
  • No explosive drives (drives of more than 10 YPP) at all!! What?! That's weird. Also another first on the season for the Noles.
  • The Noles also only gained 46% of their possible yards, which is their lowest mark on the season as well.
  • A lot of this can be attributed to the ridiculous amount of turnovers that the defense forced, as well as a very bad performance from the second string offense (2nd team O-line is pretty bad).
  • The Noles' average starting field position was on their own 45 yard line. That's really ridiculous, on average starting most drives near the 50 yard line. This is a recipe for disaster for an opposing team that has to deal with giving up that short of a field consistently. Turnovers will lead to something like this happening. Essentially, FSU's best offense came from its defense in this game. That is also the highest average starting field position the Noles have had all season long.

Florida State's Defense
Result Possible Gained Plays Per Play % Gained
Punt 75 9 3 3.00 12%
Interception 75 0 1 0.00 0%
Interception 91 18 7 2.57 20%
Interception 75 26 6 4.33 0%
Fumble 83 6 1 6.00 7%
Punt 75 31 6 5.17 41%
Punt 51 -7 3 -2.33 -14%
Interception 80 3 2 1.50 0%
Punt 74 2 3 0.67 3%
Interception 69 0 1 0.00 0%
Interception 75 2 3 0.67 0%
Punt 75 3 3 1.00 4%
Punt 59 9 3 3.00 15%
Totals 957 102 42 2.43 11%

  • Now the defense was an entirely different story from the offense, they were pretty much lights out, and they did not give up any points during non-garbage drives. The Noles' defense only allowed 2.43 yards per play on 42 plays. Wake did not necessarily play at a slow pace, but more than half of their drives ended in turnovers and another 5 of them were 3 and outs. That's pretty ridiculous, even if Wake's offense is awful.
  • The most explosive drive Wake could muster up was a 1 play six yard drive that immediately ended in a fumble.
  • Wake Forest could only gain 11% of all possible yards in the game. I don't care how bad your offense is, that's ridiculous.
  • Wake's average starting field position was on their own 26 yard line, so essentially a touchback to start every drive. FSU outgained Wake Forest in hidden yardage by 202 yards. That's just downright silly. You definitely won't see too many teams lose games with that kind of hidden yardage advantage.
So what do we take away from this? Not a ton. I would like to believe this was an amazing defensive performance but Wakes low offensive ranking makes me back pedal a bit, however, 7 turnovers is incredible no matter who you're playing. We will have to hope that the offense is not generating a new pattern here, but with a pretty cake schedule for the rest of the season we could still see some poor offensive performances.

There's still a lot of football left to be played, and up next week is ACC newcomer Syracuse. After the game on Saturday we'll discuss these stats a bit more. As always I enjoy discussion on this topic immensely, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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