The Florida State Seminoles lost this weekend to Notre Dame, 42-13.
FSU had a post-game win expectancy of one (1) percent. That is a number which takes into account all of the factors, and compares it against thousands of games, finding ones with similar performances and looks at the outcomes.
I thought this game would be a blowout before the season, before all of the offensive line issues, and in pre-game. FSU physically can’t match up to a team like Notre Dame right now.
Here is a prime example.
This is how Notre Dame played Florida State for much of the night.
This is extreme disrespect for FSU’s offensive line. Notre Dame is playing its two safeties 11 and 13-yards off the football, and all of the receivers are covered. You won’t be able to throw well against this look.
This defensive look is designed to take away the pass.
It should, in theory, struggle mightily against the run. Any decent offense will see there are five defenders to stop the run, and there are five blockers, leaving zero unblocked defenders. This is a look at should be run on repeatedly for five, six, seven yards a pop.
But it didn’t, not relative to alignment. And that is because its defensive front physically whipped FSU’s offensive line despite being repeatedly outnumbered at the point of attack.
If you can’t run against this look, you’re dead as an offense. 100% DOA.
And against a defensive line like N.C. State, Clemson, or Notre Dame, that’s what FSU’s offense is.
FSU’s offensive line has broken math.
The game entered garbage time when…
Notre Dame scored to go up 42-13 with 13:10 left, as per Bill Connelly’s definition of garbage time (22+ in Q4).
Let’s go over the five factors from Bill Connelly.
Efficiency edge: Notre Dame (small)
The Irish had a 40% to 35% edge in success rate. That is a lot better than I figured Florida State would do, but obviously not as well as Notre Dame did.
But there are two areas of real concern.
- Thanks to numerous drops, FSU’s passing success rate was only 32 percent, compared to 40 percent for Notre Dame.
- On passing downs (3rd and 5+, 2nd and 7+, etc.), FSU had only a 21 percent success rate. Notre Dame had a 41 percent. That is atrocious by both sides. But I didn’t expect that from the defense. Yes, Notre Dame’s receivers made some excellent catches, but I thought FSU’s defense would do better when it actually did get the Irish to a passing down.
FSU having a 40 percent rushing success rate on its face is strong, but when factoring in how Notre Dame was aligning, not as much.
Explosiveness edge: Notre Dame (significant)
Notre Dame had a 1.2 IsoPPP against a .98 from FSU.
1.2 is not great for Notre Dame (national average 1.18), but under 1.0 is bad for FSU, but not at all unexpected, since Notre Dame was clearly aligning to take away the big play, and betting (correctly) that FSU could not make it pay.
FSU, on the other hand, was selling out to stop the run, and in doing so, when the selling out failed on a given run play, the run play would turn out to be very big.
Turnovers (and turnover luck) edge: Even
Both sides had two turnovers and about the same expected turnovers.
Field position edge: Even
Before garbage time, FSU started at its own 31.3 and Notre Dame at its own 33.8.
Finishing drives edge: Notre Dame (huge)
Notre Dame had 6.83 points/opportunity (trips inside the 40), while FSU had 2.33.
This is where the game margin got so big. At a 4.47 point differential per scoring trip, that’s a 27-point differential.
Now, I would take issue with this a bit, in that a drive entering the 40 with no time left is not a real opportunity to score, but I don’t have time to filter it out. And it’s not the point.
Notre Dame made some awesome plays in the red zone, and FSU also played some poor red-zone defense at times. A push-off call or two would have been nice to be sure.
Any questions? Just ask.