Beyond the Hashes: Florida A&M

By Chad Peltier on September 22, 2013 at 12:30p
34 pass attempts in a half? Heart be still.

Looking at the numbers before the game, it was fairly easy to predict the outcome and approximate margin of victory, but I could have never predicted how the Buckeyes dismantled FAMU yesterday. 

Between Guiton's six touchdown passes, Ezekiel's stellar running in the second half, and the 80 total yards allowed by the defense, this kind of game is the reason for strength of schedule-adjusted statistics. 

  Yards/play Yards/PoiNT Point/play
OFfense vs. FAMU 7.5 7.93 .95

You know it was a good day when you score roughly a point for every snap the quarterback takes. While these numbers aren't really replicable this season, it's good to point out that the point metrics are far more impressive than the yards/play number. This indicates that the Buckeye offense benefited from field position and turnovers (thanks for the interception, punt returns, and blocked punt, guys) in addition to being efficient on offense. 

As for the defense, this is a great example of how point-based efficiency metrics have a tough time dealing with shutouts:

  Yards/Play Yards/Point Points/Play
Defense Vs. FAMU 2.1 N/A 0

The defense faced the worst offense it will see all season and it's difficult to read too much in to the numbers except to s ay "wow, that's a bad offense. I might not see a worse offense until MSU" (only kind of kidding).

A Tale of Two Halves

The defense remained consistently oppressive throughout the game, but the offense completely shifted between the two halves as the Buckeyes let backups (and previously unknowns) get work and milk the clock. The time of possession by quarter illustrates this shift, going from 8:27 and 7:45 in the first and second quarters to 9:03 and 11:47 in the fourth. 

The first half saw just twelve rushes by the first three running backs compared to 34 pass attempts. 

Like everything else about this game, we have to moderate how much stock we put in to these numbers, but wow was Elliot's performance solid:

  Hall Hyde Smith Elliot Ball
RBSR 50% 60% 100% 93% 57%

Elliot certainly took advantage of his fourteen carries, with thirteen of them considered efficient. This brings his season totals to 21 carries for 200 yards, which is 9.5 yards per carry. He is fifth in all purpose yards on the team, hasn't had a negative carry as a Buckeye, and owns the longest rush of the year at 57 yards.

Shazier is hungry for another shutoutFAMU just needed their band in Columbus

The Two Most Important Numbers

It's almost coaching cliché at this point, but many argue that the turnover and the explosive play ratios are the two most important indicators of success. 

The Buckeyes won the turnover ratio 2:1 thanks to Jordan Hall's fumble recovery after Guiton goal line interception on the opening drive. 

The Buckeyes dominated the explosive play ratio, 6:0, with all six coming on the ground. The Rattlers' longest play from scrimmage was a ten yard run that resulted in one of their two first downs.

Elliot led the Buckeye runningbacks with three explosive plays. While both efficiency and explosiveness are important, we may find that explosive plays to make the difference against stingy defenses like Michigan State's. 

Defensive Dominance

There weren't any defensive statistical superstars against FAMU, partly because it's difficult to pick up numbers when the opposing offense can only pick up 40 total plays and two first downs. 

  Tackles TFL Sack INT Fumble
Marcus 5        
Shazier 4 1.5      
C. Grant 4        
P. Brown 4 1      
S. Miller 3 1 1    
Bell 2 1      
Spence 2 .5      
Roby 2     1  
D. Grant 1       1
Ferris 1 1 1    

Quick Hitters

  • The longest reception of the day went for 20 yards (Devin Smith must be upset about his yards per catch now). Three rushers had carries over 20 yards, and a fourth came close (Hall's 18 yard touchdown run). 
  • Before being encased in carbonite for the second half, Dontre had just three receptions for twelve yards and a long of seven. He'll be needed far more against Wisconsin.
  • The Buckeyes had only three penalties for 20 yards despite playing half the game with backups. This is the season low and much closer to where Urban wants to be. 
  • The Buckeyes won the three-and-out ratio 8:1. Studies have shown that a team has a much higher chance of winning if the defense can force at least two three-and-outs per game.
  • It doesn't mean very much considering the Buckeyes were just bleeding clock in the second half, but the Buckeyes ran a play every 27.8 seconds.
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