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Here's a different looking at rushing yardage and rush yards per carry as opposed to the yardage given up by either Alabama's or Notre Dame's opponent. I don't have all the yards per carry defensive averages because only the bowl teams averages are available on the site I used. I don't think we really miss a lot in lacking those.
I really don't know how to make things line up in posts like this. These columns are Bama's opponent, Bama's rushing yards against that opponent, Bama's ypc against that opponent, the opponents season rushing yardage surrendered, and the opponents ypd yielded. The same applies to Notre Dame and its opponents in the second set of numbers.
Michigan 232 5.5 156 3.8
Arkansas 225 5.0 124
Mississippi 135 3.7 134 3.6
Tennessee 233 5.2 189
Miss St 179 4.5 166 4.3
LSU 177 7.1 102 3.2
A & M 122 3.9 147 3.9
Auburn 216 9.8
Georgia 350 6.9 178 4.1
As we can see, Alabama out-rushed virtually all their opposing rush defensive averages. They rushed for more than 50% more yardage than Michigan allows, and nearly 50% more yards per carry. Against the Mississippi's, they were more or less even with the averages. They got about 30% and 70% more than Tennessee LSU's normally gave up. They were about 20% lower than A & M's average (although the ypc was identical) largely, I think, because they needed to throw more to catch up in that game. Against Georgia, they simply dominated, rushing for nearly 100% more than Georgia allows.
Navy 293 6.4 178 4.5
Purdue 52 1.4 179 4.7
Michigan 94 3.1 156 3.8
MSU 122 3.6 99 3.3
Miami 374 7.6 218
Stanford 150 3.4 88 2.9
BYU 270 6.3 84 2.7
OK 215 5.5 181 4.8
Pitt 231 4.5 129 3.8
BC 184 4.6 213
Wake 227 7.4 166
SC 222 5.3 156 4.0
Notre Dame was more a tale of two seasons. Early on, Golson was lost in the passing game, and teams stacked up the box. It might also have taken time for the line to gel, although there was enough experience to hope that was not the case. At any rate, Notre Dame bullied two lousy rush defenses in Navy and Miami, but had three relative stinkers against Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. We actually gained a bit more than MSU allows, but that was due to time of possession rather than yards per carry.
Those first games left us wondering whether we were just bullies that beat up on weaklings but backed down against the big boys. Given our history in years past, that question was valid. It was answered against Stanford when we out-gained their average allowance by 55%, and against BYU, when we turned their 84 yard average into 270 yards gained. We also exceeded OK's allowance by about 18%, Pitt by 80%, Wake by 40% and USC by 40%.
By and large, it looks as if both teams can out-rush the defenses against which they play. The key, then, is which defense can assert itself to control the opponents ground attack. Having watched a lot of both teams, I feel a bit better about 'Bama's chances of running against us than about our chance of running against them. However, I think that edge will disappear in the red zone. At that point, 'Bama will have to throw to score, and we'll need to be able to stop them.
Meanwhile, we'll have to use the pass to open things up. I think we can do this. If 'Bama commits to taking Eifert away, it will leave match up advantages for Riddick/Toma in the slot, either Daniels or T. J. wide, or Riddick out of the backfield. We don't need lots of huge plays. We need to keep moving the chains, thus frustrating both 'Bama's offense and "D." If Golson can make throws early, 'Bama won't be able to cheat on the run. If they can't do that, the rushing game will begin to pick up yards in chunks.
I think we can win this game, but we are not going to win it easily. 'Bama is not as good as they were last year. This might be their weakest team in the last four years. But, they're still very, very good. They are easily the best opponent we've faced. They are a better running team than Stanford, have a better situation at QB than Stanford did when we played them, and have a much better wideout. We will need our best game of the year to win. I think we're ready to perform at that level. I think Golson is going to open some eyes, if for no other reason than finally, Kelly will need him to. We won't be able to play extremely conservatively with a small lead, or from behind. We'll need Golson to play four quarters like the first quarter against USC.
This post was edited by Mr Rice128364 19 months ago
I'm not sure who will win the rushing battle, but Riddick's performance in the SC game really impressed me, and you never know when Wood or Atkinson will take it the distance. Golson can also score with his legs. The only mobile qb they faced this year hurt them with his improvising, which Golson is also extremely gifted at.
Any way we cut it, it's going to come down to 60 minutes worth of blood, sweat, and tears. Except our tears will obviously be tears of joy.
Very well done, Mr. Rice.
Agree on all counts.
Ditto on the props for Mr. R. This is a strong analysis. Golson is the X factor. That's asking a lot of a redshirt Freshman, but it's not like it hasn't already been done this year.
I may not be pretty, but I'm fast.....
POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11
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