We’re fortunate here at Tomahawk Nation to be part of the SB Nation network of college football team sites. We’re particularly lucky to have Bill Connelly in the SB Nation network running his Football Study Hall site during the college football season. Bill posted his updated advanced statistical profile on the 2017 Miami Hurricanes yesterday. Let’s take a look at his key findings, and key outliers, as we prepare for our annual tilt with the ’Canes on Saturday.
The Miami offense is humming through three games so far this season. Their offensive standard downs success rate, which calculates the number of downs that the offense could conceivably run or pass (first down, second-and-7 or fewer, third-and-4 or fewer) and therefore gives the offense a general advantage over the defense, is 61.5%, good for second nationally.
In particular, the ’Canes have featured an explosive rushing attack. Their rushing success rate through three games is 63.9%, which is tops in the country. The Hurricanes star junior RB Mark Walton, who is averaging a whopping 9.2 yards per carry, including 7.25 yards per carry BEFORE contact, which is good for second most in the Power 5. While he might be banged up, even his backup, sophomore Travis Homer, is averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
The one key outlier has been their power success rate, which is a team’s percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown, is 42.9%, good for 128th in the country. Given their standards down success rate, it will be vital that the FSU defensive front seven exploit the UM’s lack of short yardage rushing success on third downs with less than 2 yards to go. Overall, however, their rushing attack has been efficient through three games.
The Miami passing attack has been fairly pedestrian, which was to be expected when Mark Richt announced that junior Malik Rosier would be his starting QB in 2017. The Hurricanes’ passing success rate is 46.2%, good for 31st nationally, but their passing downs IsoPPP, which calculates the unadjusted points-per-play on successful passing downs only, is 2.61, which is currently best in the country. While Rosier is only completing 65.8% of his throws, he’s thrown 8 TDs to only 2 INTs and looked good this past Friday against Duke, their toughest opponent to date. These stats bear out that Miami tends to throw on passing downs and have been successful in doing so.
Miami’s efficiency success rate, which calculates an offense’s consistency in putting itself in position to move the chains, is 53.9%, which is good for third nationally. Their explosiveness IsoPPP is 1.48, good for fourth nationally. Their average points-per-trip inside the 40 is 5.39, good for 14th nationally. Their average field position is mediocre, good for 36th nationally, but that likely speaks more to their defense and special teams than it does their offense. In short, this offense relies on its rushing attack, but isn’t afraid to throw the ball on passing downs, which it does so with above-average success.
Miami’s defense is somewhat of an anomaly so far. Their standard down success rate on defense is 38.9%, good for 18th nationally. However, their rushing success rate is 39.4%, which is ranked 57th in the country through three games. Furthermore, their rushing opportunity rate, which measures the percentage of carries in which the defensive line allows the offensive line to produce at least five yards of rushing for the runner, is only 42%, which is good for 110th nationally. Finally, their standard downs run rate is 44.4%, which is 129th overall. FSU may have some opportunities to attack Miami’s defense on the ground.
Miami’s standard downs sack rate, which calculates sacks produced by a defense against an offense on standard downs, is 4.3%, which is only good for 72nd in the country. The Hurricanes’ overall defensive havoc rate, which calculates the percentage of plays in which a defense either recorded a tackle for loss, forced a fumble, or defensed a pass (intercepted or broken up), is 5.2%, good for a 28th overall nationally. The havoc rate will be important to monitor against the ’Canes given that Wake Forest produced 17 TFL last Saturday against the Noles. Thankfully, the Hurricanes’ LB havoc rate is a dismal 0.8%, which is ranked 127th nationally. Given FSU’s offensive line struggles to keep the defensive front seven off of James Blackman, these defensive statistics will be particularly important factors for FSU’s offensive efficiency against the ’Canes front seven on Saturday.
Finally, Miami’s passing rate success on defense is 34.9%, good for 29th nationally. However, the Hurricanes’ secondary PD-INC rate, which calculates the percentage of an opponent's incomplete passes that the secondary either intercepted or broke up, is 30.4%, 96th in the country. This means that the Hurricanes’ secondary hasn’t been particularly aggressive in breaking up passes or producing interceptions. As a unit, they only have two interceptions on the year.
Miami Special Teams
The Hurricanes’ special teams S&P+ ranking is good for 49th nationally, but their kickoff success rate is ranked 90th in the nation and their punt success rate is ranked 78th. The Seminoles’ two special team coverage and return teams could have a big day on Saturday if they’re up to the challenge. Flipping field position will be crucial for the ’Noles.