Clemson’s ability to speed-up the tempo clearly hurt LSU late, as referenced here, but how the Tigers use the field may be the key to their success.
Seldom Used Reserve has kept track of Tajh Boyd’s throws by area of the field and distance this season, where the balance of side-to-side and short-to-long throws is remarkable.
The junior signal-caller fired exactly 170 passes to the left and right sides of the field (making up 39.8 percent of his throws each), averaging just under nine yards per pass to either side. Adding to the Nuk Hopkins-Boyd mystique, Hopkins was targeted over 50 times to left and right each.
In touchdowns and picks, Boyd connected for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions to the left, and 14 touchdowns and four interceptions to the right.
And up the middle, he had his highest yards per pass average (10) and touchdown rate per attempt (10.3).
In length, Clemson attempted 48.5 percent of its passes from behind of the line scrimmage to five yards with its starter, averaging 6.2 yards per play, with nine touchdowns to one interception. All totaled, the short passes amounted to 1,240 yards.
In throws of 20-plus yards, Boyd compiled 1,287 yards, with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions, completing a solid 50.7 percent (34-67) at 19.2 per attempt.
Runnin’ plays and going fast
Clemson ran 100 plays or more in two of its last three games, but it was surprising to say the least on LSU.
Maybe it shouldn’t have been.
Texas A&M, coming from ahead to lose at home 24-19 to LSU earlier this season, ran 94 plays sporting their version of the spread with Johnny (Football) Manziel. The difference? The Aggies averaged just 4.9 per pass attempt, while Clemson hit 6.9 per.
Bayou Bengal opponents averaged 77.3 plays in their final six games, after allowing 62.2 per in the first six with some weaker competition mixed in.
* LSU had two drives of 50-plus yards, both touchdowns, and two scoring drives of two plays or less and also scored twice off of Clemson turnovers.
The rest? The ACC Tigers bottled-up nicely.
On drives longer than two plays, Clemson held LSU to 2.95 yards per, with three of them in negative territory.
* In a scoreless-drive stretch from the 5:43 mark of the second quarter to the 14:52 mark of the fourth, Clemson was stifled to 2.3 yards per play (30 for 69 yards), but ran one of its fastest scoring drives of the season (in game-time) to close the game.
To end the drought, the Tigers went 63 yards in 5:26, at 25.1 seconds per play.
To draw within two points, they cut it to 23.7 seconds per play.
But for the game-winner taking over with 1:39 left, Clemson hit 9.9 seconds per play, with use of timeouts and LSU injuries aplenty helping out.
Stats To Win
The stats we’ve tracked all season (70 percent or better winning percentage with the edge) – reflect just how close it was in the Georgia Dome Monday.
We already noted Clemson held the advantage in the top category, yards per pass, but they also had the edge in total yards (445-219) and rush attempts (50-25).
LSU won three categories as well, in yards per rush (4.0-2.0), yards per play (4.6-4.4) and the turnover margin (1-2).
The tiebreaker could very well have been the tie – LSU not racking up the rushing yardage totals some of the better running teams had against Clemson, falling short of triple-digits like the other Tigers at 99 yards. It’s also a category where sacks factor in, and the Bayou Bengals lost 41 yards of field position on six sacks.
Noted in part two of the LSU/Clemson breakdown an improved Tigers’ pass rush, with 3.5 sacks per game in their final six, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl bumped that to 3.9 past midseason.
Defensive end Malliciah Goodman ended ’12 on a tear, with five sacks in the final three games – after going the first half of the season without one.
Stats to win in college football, Chick-fil-A Bowl
|Yards Per Pass||6.9||5.2|
|Yards Per Play||4.4||4.6|
|Yards Per Carry||2||4|
|Rushes Per Game||50||25|