In celebration of bye week #1, I’m going to post the graphs from select non-Alabama games this week. The commentary will be light, but the stats aplenty.
Clemson (21) vs. UNC (20), Sep 28th
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Team Success Rates (cumulative)
Yeah, Clemson stayed ahead for most of the game in terms of efficiency; North Carolina being so close at the last play was in part a fortunate outcome for the Heels. But Clemson, netting out at a near-average 44% SR against the league’s 77th-best defense (by SR) isn’t a great look.
Success and Explosiveness by Quarter
Play Map: Yards and Result by Play
The Tigers put up a pretty normal-looking chart, while the Tar Heels used a few key drives and big plays (especially there at the very end) to make things interesting.
Success and Explosiveness by Play Type
Per what’s apparently the Trevor Lawrence effect, Clemson’s passing wasn’t very efficient, but nearly 20% were explosive plays. I suppose it was enough this time.
Success and Explosiveness by Down
And, for the most painful chart on this page. Clemson’s 3rd-down success and explosiveness in this game is the same $*!% they pulled against Alabama in the title game in January: tottering around on early downs (especially that low second-down efficiency) just long enough to break open some big play on third and long.
Ugh. I keep saying that it’s not a sustainable strategy, but if they keep sustaining this then I guess I’m wrong. Hopefully this “3rd down playbook” strategy will bite them in the butt soon. Too bad it didn’t this time.
Rushing rate (cumulative), Clemson
Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative), Clemson
Rushing rate (cumulative), North Carolina
Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative), North Carolina
Top Runners, Clemson
Travis Etienne is great, but if Najee’s rushing line looked like this in a game we’d gumps give it a pretty low grade. Maybe that’s just gumpin’.
Top Passers, Clemson
Jar Jar’s line is bizarre here. Obviously it isn’t great overall, but it’s weird that over half of the successful plays here are explosive: probably those 3rd down prayers that keep getting answered. Maybe it’s a quirk of the playbook. Maybe he was born with it.
Top Receivers, Clemson
Top Tacklers, Clemson
Top Runners, North Carolina
Top Passers, North Carolina
Top Receivers, North Carolina
Top Tacklers, North Carolina
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The numbers here show that the winning team was pretty consistently performing more efficiently throughout the game, with explosive passing plays helping to round out the win. So this wasn’t Clemson “cheating death,” necessarily, but it was definitely an “escape” from a team that a top-5 team should probably not need to escape from.