By the Numbers: LSU-Notre Dame

TSD publisher Ben Love goes inside the numbers for the Tigers and Fighting Irish in 2014 to get a better sense of how the two Music City Bowl combatants match up.

When No. 22 LSU (8-4) and Notre Dame (7-5) meet on LP Field in Nashville Dec. 30, the Music City Bowl will feature two teams with contrasting styles of play and, over the course of the 2014 season, wildly different levels of production/effectiveness on both sides of the ball.

TSD is taking a thorough look inside the numbers, today running with team statistics for the Tigers and Fighting Irish and then dropping noteworthy observations. (All numbers in parentheses represent rank nationally among the 125 FBS schools.)

LSU Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense


Rushing Yards/Game – 219.5 (27)
Rushing Touchdowns – 23
Total Rushes – 583
Yards/Rush – 4.52

Rushing Yards Allowed/Game – 161.7 (62)
Rushing Touchdowns Allowed – 19
Total Rushes Defended – 487
Yards/Rush Allowed – 3.98

ND Rush Offense vs. LSU Rush Defense


Rushing Yards/Game – 150.8 (81)
Rushing Touchdowns – 21
Total Rushes – 433
Yards/Rush – 4.18

Rushing Yards Allowed/Game – 143.5 (T-38)
Rushing Touchdowns Allowed – 13
Total Rushes Defended – 409
Yards/Rush Allowed – 4.21

LSU Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense


Passing Yards/Game – 163.9 (114)
Passing Touchdowns – 16
Interceptions Thrown – 9 (T-39)
Total Passes Attempted – 262
Completion Percentage – 50.0 (119)
Yards Per Attempt – 7.5
Yards Per Completion – 15.0 (6)
Sacks Allowed/Game – 1.92 (T-49)

Passing Yards Allowed/Game – 239.8 (83)
Passing Touchdowns Allowed – 22
Total Passes Defended – 399
Interceptions – 16 (T-14)
Opposing Completion Percentage – 60.7
Yards Per Attempt Allowed – 7.2
Yards Per Completion Allowed – 11.9
Sacks/Game – 2.0 (T-71)

ND Pass Offense vs. LSU Pass Defense


Passing Yards/Game – 293.8 (16)
Passing Touchdowns – 29
Interceptions Thrown – 14 (T-91)
Total Passes Attempted – 437
Completion Percentage – 59.3 (56)
Yards Per Attempt – 8.1
Yards Per Completion – 13.6 (26)
Sacks Allowed/Game – 2.3 (T-85)

Passing Yards Allowed/Game – 162.3 (4)
Passing Touchdowns Allowed – 9
(Total Passes Defended – 359)
Interceptions – 10 (T-76)
Opposing Completion Percentage – 50.4
Yards Per Attempt Allowed – 5.4
Yards Per Completion Allowed – 10.8
Sacks/Game – 1.6 (T-97)

Other Vitals (LSU listed first)


Turnover Margin – Plus-4 (T-38)
Scoring Offense – 27.6 (T-73)
Scoring Defense – 16.4 (3)
Average Time of Possession – 33:59 (4)
Third Down Conversion Percentage – 39.3 (72)
Third Down Defense Conversion Percentage – 33.3 (15)
Red Zone Scoring Percentage – 80.0 (T-83)
Red Zone Scoring Defense Percentage – 77.8 (T-31)
Penalty Yardage/Game – 49.0 (46)
Net Punting Yardage – 41.3 (7)

Turnover Margin – Minus-4 (T-89)
Scoring Offense – 33.0 (39)
Scoring Defense – 29.3 (82)
Average Time of Possession – 29:15 (78)
Third Down Conversion Percentage – 45.7 (29)
Third Down Defense Conversion Percentage – 40.7 (71)
Red Zone Scoring Percentage – 80.7 (78)
Red Zone Scoring Defense Percentage – 85.4 (T-87)
Penalty Yardage/Game – 39.3 (T-17)
Net Punting Yardage – 37.8 (53)

What’s it all mean?


- Everyone expects LSU, which finished the season with a run/pass ratio of 583/262 (69.0%), to line up and pound away at Notre Dame on the ground, and these numbers illustrate exactly why the Tigers would be wise to do so. The Irish rank in the second half of the country in run defense and conceded an average of 244.2 yards/game rushing over its last five games (four losses). What’s more: Notre Dame is a poor time of possession team, as was Texas A&M. Look for LSU, which is among the national leaders in ball-hogging, to maintain a similar approach as it had in College Station, when the Tigers held the ball for 41 minutes and 13 seconds.

- Staying on that matchup (LSU offense vs. Notre Dame defense), the Golden Domers have been statistically bad against the pass, which is obviously not LSU’s strength. The most damning figure is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 60.7% of their passes. Some of the other numbers aren’t much better, but there is one area where ND was not just solvent, but strong, in pass defense – interceptions. The Irish picked off 16 passes this season. So there is an opportunistic aspect of Brian VanGorder’s defense.

- On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame does complete a healthy percentage (45.7%) on third down but hasn’t been nearly as effective in the red zone, failing to score on 19.3% of possessions inside the 20. The Fighting Irish, despite being behind much of the time over the last two months, have been remarkably balanced, though. Consider Brian Kelly’s troops have run the ball 433 times this fall and thrown the pigskin 437 times. It’ll be interesting to see if Notre Dame tries to retain that type of balance given quarterback Everett Golson’s penchant for throwing interceptions lately and the prowess of LSU’s pass defense.

- Final observations: LSU has a distinct punting advantage that could affect field position . . . The Tigers are also plus-4 in the turnover margin compared to minus-4 for Notre Dame . . . The Irish, despite awful cumulative showings in run defense, are holding foes to 3.98 yards per carry. So there’s a chance the Tigers have to fight through short gains early and be persistent in the run game (not exactly a problem of this staff’s) . . . At a dead-even 50% completion percentage LSU ranks 119th of 125 in the FBS. That is putrid.



Tiger Blitz Top Stories