Welcome to the Matrix.
This is the another installment of Tomahawk Nation’s new feature on advanced statistics for college football, in the context of FSU. SB Nation has provided us with a treasure trove of data from Sports Source Analytics, and I get to play Grandmaster Stats Man! Special thanks to Parker Fleming of Frogs O War (@statswar), Chad Peltier of Land Grant Holy Land, and Paul Dalen of Corn Nation (@paul_dalen) for their help in getting me up to speed on these statistics.
Florida State won in a nervewracking, but decisive manner against Louisville this Saturday. Below are a select few statistics that I will be highlighting to illustrate key aspects of the game.
Here is a glossary for terms that we will use, though we will individually define statistics as we first introduce them: College Football Advanced Stats Glossary
Per Play and Per Series Efficiency
The most “basic” of early-era advanced football statistics was yards per play. FSU had a significant advantage in YPP over Louisville, with FSU’s 6.96 a staggering 1.49 (21%) better than Louisville’s 5.47.
FSU’s 6.96 was their highest of the season (power 5 or not), eclipsing the 6.87 they posted over Boise State. Boise had a much better defense, of course, but it is still an impressive offensive performance.
That 6.96 from Briles’ Seminoles is better than the 6.51 YPP Louisville allowed Notre Dame.
The Seminoles held Louisville to 5.47 YPP. This was their best against power 5 opponents, but only marginally better than their performances against Boise and Virginia. Again, those two are better opponents, but the only team to outperform FSU’s defense against UL was Notre Dame’s defense who held Louisville to 5.11. Pretty decent company.
Success rate as always is a great metric of how well your team uses each set of downs. FSU was successful on 45.3% of their plays, and Louisville was successful on 44% of their plays.
FSU’s defense effectively tied their best performance vis a vis success rate from week one against Boise. Slightly worse than the national average of 41%, FSU’s defense continues to improve.
This was FSU’s best power 5 offensive success rate by far, with the games against Boise and Virginia yielding 35% and 36%, respectively.
The numbers really back up the eye test here. FSU’s offensive performance was very good.
Recovering from getting behind the chains
Passing down success rate is where we’ll begin. This is a good indication of how well a team has successful plays when they are get behind the chains and are in obvious passing downs.
FSU has struggled with passing downs this year, especially in second halves. Teams are better able to exploit the Seminoles’ offensive line deficiencies when they know a pass is likely coming.
FSU recorded their best PD SR of the season against power 5 opponents vs Louisville, succeeding on 21.05% of passing down plays. This is still well below the national average of 29.3%, but improvement in this area is critical as FSU continues to battle its offensive line issues.
FSU allowed Louisville to succeed on 26.3% of their drives. This isn’t great, but isn’t still better than the national average.
Getting in scoring position
Much is made of red zone trips and red zone efficiency, but you can’t get into the final twenty yards until you get into the final forty yards. This area is where you can begin to look at scoring field goals. Scoring opportunity rate is how we can measure this efficiency.
Both FSU and Louisville played 13 drives. The Seminoles reached almost-paydirt at the 40 on nine of their 13 drives, an impressive 69.2% rate. This was by far their best performance of the year in this respect. Their next best performance getting into scoring position was on 46.6% of their drives against Boise. This is their first game above the 2019 YTD national average of 50.1%.
Louisville had scoring opportunities on 53.8% of their drives. Slightly worse than the average here, but not by a huge amount. This is, however, the defense’s best performance (against power 5 opponents) of the season in this regard.
On top of their success in finding these areas, FSU either scored a touchdown or made/attempted a field goal on every single opportunity. This is where Ricky Aguayo comes in. After a nice start to the season, Aguayo missed 3 field goals. They were not easy, by any means, but the misses were quite bad, not even coming close to scoring.
FSU was very good on offense, but let down by their kicker. The game could have been much easier had one or two more field goals been executed (like a turtle).
I am very thankful to have SB Nation’s treasure trove of Sports Source Analytics data available to us, and this is just a small sample of what we will be doing this season. Below you will find the advanced box score for FSU’s game against Louisville this past Saturday.
FSU Louisville Advanced Box
|Exp. Rush Rate||10.26%||4.88%|
|Exp. Pass Rate||33.33%||20.59%|
|SD Rush Rate||60.00%||71.43%|
|PD Rush Rate||31.58%||42.11%|
|3D Yds to go||7.64||7.47|
|Scor Opp SR||37.84%||45.00%|
|Short Rush SR||62.50%||50.00%|
|Scor Opp Rate||69.23%||53.85%|
|Scor Opp TD rate||55.56%||42.86%|
|RZ Drive Rate||30.77%||23.08%|
|RZ TD Rate||75.00%||66.67%|