Study Hall: Clemson 35, Florida State 30

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I heart Sammy Watkins...

Clemson 35, Florida State 30

Clemson FSU Clemson FSU
Close % 100.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 41.9% 24.5% Success Rate 44.6% 57.1%
Leverage % 65.1% 66.0% PPP 0.35 0.38
S&P 0.800 0.952
TOTAL
EqPts 30.8 20.9 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 39.5% 45.3% Success Rate 30.0% 22.2%
Close PPP 0.36 0.39 PPP 0.37 0.42
Close S&P 0.753 0.846 S&P 0.666 0.641
RUSHING TURNOVERS
EqPts 8.2 1.6 Number 1 1
Close Success Rate 36.2% 30.8% Turnover Pts 2.8 5.1
Close PPP 0.18 0.12 Turnover Pts Margin +2.3 -2.3
Close S&P 0.537 0.428
Line Yards/carry 2.01 2.69 Q1 S&P 1.377 1.057
Q2 S&P 0.623 0.259
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.672 0.709
EqPts 22.5 19.3 Q4 S&P 0.536 1.069
Close Success Rate 43.6% 50.0%
Close PPP 0.58 0.48 1st Down S&P 0.628 1.064
Close S&P 1.014 0.982 2nd Down S&P 0.742 0.441
SD/PD Sack Rate 0.0% / 9.5% 0.0% / 12.5% 3rd Down S&P 1.129 0.982
Projected Pt. Margin: Clemson +12.2 | Actual Pt. Margin: Clemson +5

Five Thoughts

  1. Field position killed Florida State. The Seminoles produced solid overall numbers, but they started just one of their 11 drives beyond their 30-yard line -- it was at their 34. Average starting field position: their 22. Percentage of their plays that took place on Clemson's side of the 50: 24.5%. Clemson was barely any better -- only three of their drives started past their own 26 -- but they were still better.

  2. Clemson rode a strong first quarter as far as it could. The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first three drives (over the course of the game's first 20 minutes) and built a 21-10 lead, but they managed just two sustained drives the rest of the way. It was enough, but just barely. FSU, meanwhile, managed just nine plays for 16 yards in a second quarter full of wasted time.

  3. FSU's defensive line is outstanding. They held Oklahoma to under 2.50 line yards per carry and got to Landry Jones multiple times, then they held Clemson to 2.01 line yards per carry and brought Tajh Boyd down a couple of times as well. Nice job.

  4. FSU also has to be encouraged by the success of their passing game. With the injuries they have suffered at both the quarterback and receiver positions, it had to be nice to see Clint Trickett (redshirt freshman) finding Rashad Greene (freshman) eight times for 98 yards, Christian Green (redshirt freshman) seven times for 77 yards and Rodney Smith (junior) four times for 118 yards. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, Sammy Watkins (seven catches, 141 yards, two touchdowns) was in an orange jersey.

  5. Sorry, but I can't not bring up this play. That Clemson overcame diminishing returns on offense AND the most charitable touchdown of all-time is impressive. (And yes, FSU fans, Clemson's second-to-last TD drive had some charity involved too -- a face mask penalty on third-and-8. There was a key roughing-the-kicker call earlier in the game, too.)

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.

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