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Sports Analytics: 2019 ACC Passing Analysis

Let’s dive into the digits.

Florida State v Boston College Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

With football season just around the corner, let’s take a quick look at how each ACC team’s Quarterback performed in 2019. To do this, we will be looking at the QBs cumulative expected points added (EPA). Cumulative EPA is a good measure that can give us insight on the efficiency and consistency of the QB throughout a game or season. We will be acquiring data from, courtesy of @CFB_data, using the cfbscrapR package, created by Meyappan Subbaiah (@msubbaiah1), Saiem Gilani (@SaiemGilani) and Parker Fleming (@statsowar).

The first pair of quarterbacks that standout are the oft-discussed of the ACC: Trevor Lawrence and Sam Howell. Both showed consistent success throughout the season, and will certainly provide challenges to the ‘Noles pass defense this season. The other non-FSU QB worth mentioning is Micale Cunningham, who showed success in his limited play size. Cunningham is a signal-caller fans should pay attention to before the ‘Noles make the trip up to Louisville on October 24th. Finally, we have James Blackman, who is competing for the starting QB job in Mike Norvell’s inaugural season. Overall, Blackman was not as consistent or efficient as his ACC counterparts, and we can see evidence of this by looking at his cumulative EPA broken down by game:

As shown in the plot above, Blackman’s best outing came in a pivotal game against Boston College, while his worst performance came against the league’s best team in Clemson. You can see games in which he started strong (e.g. Boise State, Louisiana Monroe), only to conclude the game shakily. In order for the ‘Noles to improve in 2020, Norvell must get the QB play to a more consistent level.

If you liked this post and would like to see more graphs and stats, stay posted for more articles and in the mean time, you can follow my Noles Analytics twitter account at ScalpRNoles