PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: A general view of Heinz Field during the game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the game on September 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Notre Dame 15, Pittsburgh 12
|Notre Dame||Pittsburgh||Notre Dame||Pittsburgh|
|Close %||100.0%||STANDARD DOWNS|
|Field Position %||41.1%||38.6%||Success Rate||46.8%||39.1%|
|Close Success Rate||41.1%||38.6%||Success Rate||30.8%||37.5%|
|Close Success Rate||46.7%||34.4%||Turnover Pts||9.4||0.0|
|Close PPP||0.34||0.17||Turnover Pts Margin||-9.4||+9.4|
|Line Yards/carry||3.01||2.62||Q1 S&P||0.399||0.436|
|Close Success Rate||37.2%||42.1%|
|Close PPP||0.21||0.20||1st Down S&P||0.582||0.437|
|Close S&P||0.586||0.621||2nd Down S&P||0.885||0.789|
|SD/PD Sack Rate||4.2% / 5.3%||16.7%/15.0%||3rd Down S&P||0.503||0.498|
|Projected Pt. Margin: Notre Dame +-3.0 | Actual Pt. Margin: Notre Dame +3|
- Both teams ran under 42% of their plays in opposing territory, and both faced a higher than normal number of passing downs. This is not a recipe for a watchable game. Even as things got really tight down the stretch, I still felt free to flip channels for a few minutes at a time, knowing I probably wasn't going to miss anything while I was gone.
- Typically, producing a Passing Downs S&P higher than your Standard Downs S&P is a sign of an exciting offense and some serious play-making. In Pitt's case, it was a sign that their standard downs offense was atrocious. Notre Dame's was only marginally better.
- Enough negativity. Things that impressed me from Notre Dame: their pass rush (then again, Tino Sunseri got lit up by Maine too) and their Q2 and Q4 offense. They did what they needed to do, even if they were god-awful in Q1 and Q3. Things that impressed me from Pitt: their pass defense. Michael Floyd was only targeted five times (four catches, 27 yards), and he wasn't exactly roaming free downfield that much.
- Once again, Notre Dame committed a potentially devastating turnover deep in Pittsburgh territory (a pass that was picked off at the Pitt 5), but once again they proved they can overcome anything less than 20 points' worth of turnovers or more. Odd, odd year for Notre Dame. I still don't know if they're almost good or almost terrible. I'm leaning toward almost good, but I'd appreciate it if they backed me up in that sentiment a few more times a game. (Same with PItt, really. They've shown quite a bit of competence but have still managed to get in their own way too much.)
- God, Jonas Gray's touchdown run was both gorgeous and completely out of nowhere.
Quick glossary after the jump.
A Quick Glossary
F/+ Rankings: The official rankings for the college portion of Football Outsiders. They combine my own S&P+ rankings (based on play-by-play data) with Brian Fremeau's drives-based FEI rankings.
Passing Downs: Second-and-7 or more, third-and-5 or more.
PPP: An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game.
S&P+: Think of this as an OPS (the "On-Base Plus Slugging" baseball measure) for football. The 'S' stands for success rates, a common Football Outsiders efficiency measure that basically serves as on-base percentage. The 'P' stands for PPP+, an explosiveness measure that stands for EqPts Per Play. The "+" means it has been adjusted for the level of opponent, obviously a key to any good measure in college football. S&P+ is measured for all non-garbage time plays in a given college football game. Plays are counted within the following criteria: when the score is within 28 points in the first quarter, within 24 points in the second quarter, within 21 points in the third quarter, and within 16 points (i.e. two possession) in the fourth quarter. For more about this measure, visit the main S&P+ page at Football Outsiders.
Standard Downs: First downs, second-and-6 or less, third-and-4 or less.
Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.