It’s the most important stat in college football, besides, the final score. Clemson racks it up, and LSU shuts it down.
I’m talking yards per pass attempt, which when teams had the advantage in it – won 76.2 percent of games in 2012 and 78.8 per last season.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are sixth nationally in yards per pass (9.04), while the Bayou Bengals are 10th in yards per pass allowed (5.7).
On the flipside, LSU averages offensively (7.5) about what Clemson gives up (7.44), and it’s about the same in yards per play (Clemson giving up 5.7 to LSU’s 5.6).
Stats to win in college football, Clemson offense v. LSU defense
|Yards Per Pass||9.04||5.7|
|Yards Per Play||6.5||4.5|
|Yards Per Carry||4.4||3.1|
|Rushes Per Game||44.8||32.5|
Part of Les Miles’ Tigers having a full turnover edge in turnover margin is a ball-hawking defense – 9th in interception percentage (4.42). Clemson is in the bottom tier (worst 30 teams) in INT percentage thrown (3.3).
Also worth exploring from the numbers is the rushing stats.
It’s no secret LSU wants to establish the run (more on this later in the week when our bowl preview special edition is out) – around 60 percent of playcalls runs.
Clemson runs the ball a little over 55 percent of the time, at 44.8 attempts per game, averaging slightly more than LSU per carry (4.4-4.3). What’s interesting is Bayou Bengal opponents ran about 12 less times per game than Clemson’s Tigers – LSU ranking ninth in rush defense (101.8 YPG).
If the run isn’t there early, will Chad Morris go away from it like everyone else against them? Establishing a ground game in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve could very well correlate to the advantage in yards per pass.
Stats to win in college football, LSU offense v. Clemson defense
|Yards Per Pass||7.5||7.44|
|Yards Per Play||5.6||5.7|
|Yards Per Carry||4.3||4.2|
|Rushes Per Game||41.8||38.3|
The Long and Short of It
The Tigers had 12 plays of 50 or more yards, with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins making up five of them each. Hopkins had catches of 58, 58, 58, 60 and 62 yards, while Watkins caught three (50, 57, 61) and rushed (58) and passed (52) for one.
The longest play of the season was a Tajh Boyd connection with tight end Brandon Ford for 69 yards.
In short-yardage, Tiger fans can be thankful a troubling 2011 stat didn’t trend into this season.
In third-and-one and fourth-and-one situations, Clemson converted just 63.9 percent of the time in year one under Morris, but in year two, they jumped to an 85.7 percent success rate (30-35).
One factor, he notes, is Boyd’s increased mobility, converting on 15-of-16 tries.