Champs Bowl By the Numbers

Today, Badgermaniac breaks down the respective passing games, both offensively and defensively, of Wisconsin and Florida State, in Part 3 of his Champs Sports Bowl Breakdown.

If you missed either of the first two parts of the series, you can read them here:

PART ONE.
PART TWO.

In today's analysis, I take a look at the Wisconsin passing attack vs. the Florida State passing defense and the Florida State passing offense going up against the Wisconsin passing defense.

Wisconsin Passing Offense vs. Florida State Passing Defense

The Badger offense averaged 14 completions on 26 attempts (54%) for 193 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 10-11. They averaged 7.3 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 7.6 percent of their passing attempts.

Wisconsin opponents typically allowed 19 completions on 32 attempts (58%) for 218 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 187/122. They allowed 6.7 yards per attempt and sacked the QB on 6.2 percent of the passing attempts.

So what does it all mean?

1. They didn't throw the ball as much as typical teams, which is obviously not a surprise.

2. The Badger completion percentage was 4% lower than your average QB.

3. Yards per attempt was pretty good, picking up 1.1 yards per attempt. Given the lower completion percentage, this takes on a little added significance. Two years ago, the Badgers were at almost 9 yards per attempt, so 7.3 isn't off the chart or anything, but in general, they do a good job of getting the ball down the field.

4. Their TD/INT ratio of 0.9 to 1 was quite poor, especially when compared to the average rate of 1.5 to 1.

5. The sack rate was improved from the prior two years, where they were up over 9%. Still they did give up sacks more than the typical team. Some of this was more an issue of the QB holding the ball too long, which was a problem for both Alan Evridge as well as Dustin Sherer from time to time.

All in all, it looks like mediocrity across the board. Again, this is not a surprise going simply off the eyeball test.

The Florida State defense averaged 14 completions on 27 attempts (51%) for 165 yards per game. Their TD/INT allowed ratio was 14-9. They averaged only 6.1 yards per attempt allowed and sacked the quarterback on 9.9% of their attempts.

Florida State opponents in non-FSU games averaged 16 completions on 28 attempts (57%) for 184 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 169/127. They averaged 6.5 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 7.5% of the passing attempts.

When taken as a whole, here is what we know about the Florida State passing defense:

1. Teams did not throw more or less against the Seminoles.

2. They cut 6% off of opposing QB's completion percentage. This is a nice figure.

3. They allowed 0.4 yards fewer per attempt than average. Now, this is also a nice figure, but the 6.1 yards per attempt is someone misleading in that the 6.5 yards per attempt average is a very low figure. They simply did not face many teams that could challenge them down the field. Could this be related to the pass rush numbers?

4. Their TD/INT rate of 1.6 to 1 was actually higher than the 1.3 to 1 norm.

5. Their pass rush above average, picking up 1.4% from the norm. Now, this is going to be a key figure that many pundits have noted or will note leading up to the game. FSU's raw sack totals rank in the top 10 in the nation and their 9.9% sack rate is very high. However, what is also high is that 7.5% average against them. Basically, they happened to play a whole bushel of teams that frankly had terrible pass protection. Credit to FSU for taking advantage, but their pass rush is not as it first appears, at least by looking at the numbers. Chatanooga, Western Carolina, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Clemson, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest all had protection issues EVEN IN GAMES NOT AGAINST FLORIDA STATE.

I should also note that in the Georgia Tech game this year, the Yellow Jackets threw the ball just 6 times (they ran for 288), so some of the numbers were skewed a little bit in that regard. The bottom line is that the FSU pass defense numbers look very good on paper, and I am not doubting that they are solid against the pass, but they aren't as good as they first appear when you break down the numbers.

Analysis: I believe this all comes down to one thing, and that is the pass rush. Wisconsin has always been vulnerable with regards to protecting the quarterback and Florida State's ability to rush the passer has to scare the Badgers. This is where the ability to run the ball becomes vitally important (as noted in part 2). Wisconsin has not been especially good with the pass all year, but if they protect the passer, there is the chance for moderate success.

Edge: Florida State

Florida State Passing Offense vs. Wisconsin Passing Defense

The Seminole offense averaged 16 completions on 29 attempts (54%) for 186 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 16-16. They averaged 6.4 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 6.4 percent of their passing attempts. (Those numbers look a lot like Wisconsin's don't they?)

Florida State opponents typically allowed 18 completions on 30 attempts (58%) for 192 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 169/162. They allowed 6.4 yards per attempt and sacked the QB on 6.3 percent of the passing attempts.

So what does it all mean?

1. They threw the ball an average amount of the time.

2. While their overall numbers were very similar to Wisconsin's, it should be noted that they faced much better pass defenses in getting to those numbers.

3. Like the Badgers, the Noles' completion percentage was 4% lower than your average QB.

4. Their yards per attempt were exactly average. Getting the ball deep wasn't a huge problem, but it wasn't a strength either.

5. Their TD/INT ratio of 1 to 1 was very mediocre on the surface, until you realize that their opponents were right around 1 to 1 as well, a much better figure than the Wisconsin opponents. Now, one thing I will also throw out here is that after their two games against FCS teams, they were sitting at a ratio of 8 to 0, which means that their TD to INT ratio against D1 schools was a pitiful 8 to 16.

6. Their pass protection was exactly average.

The bottom line is that we have a whole heap of average here. Their numbers don't look too good, but when taken in context, they look a bit better.

The Wisconsin defense averaged 16 completions on 31 attempts (51%) for 189 yards per game. Their TD/INT allowed ratio was 13-12. They averaged only 6.2 yards per attempt allowed and sacked the quarterback on 5.4% of their attempts.

Wisconsin opponents in non-UW games averaged 16 completions on 28 attempts (57%) for 200 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 187/108. They averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 5.6% of the passing attempts.

When taken as a whole, here is what we know about the Wisconsin passing defense:

1. Teams threw the ball a little bit more than average against the Badgers.

2. They cut 6% off of opposing QB's completion percentage. This is a good figure and exactly the same as the FSU defense.

3. They took a full yard per attempt off the opposition average. This indicates that they did a good job of keeping balls in front of them and eliminating YAC and/or did not allow many deep throws. You can also see from this figure that the Badgers played better passing teams than Florida State.

4. Their TD/INT rate of 1.1 to 1 was very solid, and better than the typical 1.7 from their opponents…another indicator that the Wisconsin passing defense was pretty darn good this year.

5. The Wisconsin pass rush has been the subject of much debate this year, and ttheir rate of 5.4% is very low (nearly half the rate of the FSU defense). HOWEVER, take a look at those figures of what the opposition typically allowed. Wisconsin opponents typically allowed sacks on only 5.6% of their passing attempts. Contrary to the FSU defense, which played a ton of crummy pass blocking teams, the Badgers actually faced quite a few teams that protected the QB very well. Their rate is still a bit below average, but not nearly as bad as you might have thought…context, context, context.

In every objective measure, the Wisconsin pass defense came out quite solid.

Analysis: This one is a simple matter of a decent passing game going against a pretty good passing defense. While Wisconsin does not put great pressure on the QB, they do a good job on coverage and they eliminate big plays. The FSU quarterbacks have been somewhat turnover prone and Wisconsin will need to (and should have chances to) get a couple picks here.

Edge: Wisconsin. So, to recap, both offenses get the edge in running the ball, while both defenses get the edge against the pass.

Next: Special Teams


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