Navy Football 2013 Stats Review: Low Yellow
LESS LAUNDRY EQUALS FEWER MESSES TO CLEAN UP
College students don't enjoy doing loads of laundry. Last season, the Navy football team didn't leave a lot of laundry on the field, at least not in comparison with its opponents.
It's true that turnovers are much, much more of a game-changer (positive or negative) than penalties over the course of a football season. A brief survey of data will quickly lead you to this not-very-complicated conclusion. However, it's not as though penalties are always able to be shrugged off, either. They might not matter more than turnovers, but they certainly can swing a game outcome if timed poorly. Just ask Army, after the Black Knights' crucial penalties aided Navy's cause last December in Philadelphia. Just ask Middle Tennessee, whose outlandish lack of restraint eventually burned the Blue Raiders in the Armed Forces Bowl.
It also has to be said that since Navy (as mentioned in previous weeks) didn't outpass an opponent in any of its 12 FBS games last season, the Midshipmen can't fall too far behind the sticks, at least not very often. For this reason, minimizing penalties on offense is particularly significant for Navy. Did the Men of Ken Niumatalolo comport themselves with poise? Very much so.
In nine of 12 FBS games last season, Navy committed fewer penalties than its opponents. In 10 of 12 games, Navy did not commit more penalties than its opponents (it tied once). That's the kind of consistency the Midshipmen need to be able to display every season if they're going to reach their goals. Navy went 6-3 in the nine games in which it committed fewer penalties than its opponents, and it won the game in which it finished in a statistical tie. The Mids split the two FBS games in which they committed more penalties than their opponent. If there's perhaps one small nit to pick here – something Niumatalolo can challenge his team on – it's that Navy needs to lose fewer than three games with a negative penalty differential. Still, the Midshipmen fulfilled their potential in 2013 because they didn't make the zebras throw the yellow handkerchiefs.
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