Wednesday, December 25, 2013

25 Questions for Pizza

I always liked how they
gave the guy a hairy chest.
What is their body of work?

They are having a decent season.  They are 6-6, with wins over Duke and Notre Dame.  They lost 4 of their last 6.  Overall, the program has struggled with coaching issues since Wannstedt was here.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

26, which is an average number.  13 of the 44 players are freshmen, which is a lot, showing that Chryst recruits are filling the talent gap.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Aaron Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss and is 10th in forced fumbles and 13 in sacks.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +1.  This improved over the back half of the year as their QB quit throwing picks.


 How is their QB Play?

Tom Savage is a senior and improved through the year.  He finished #6 in passing efficiency.  He is a drop-back style passer.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They scored 26 points a game, which is 85th in the FBS.  They punched above their weight, ranking 102nd in total offense.  They made 5.3 yards per play, which is pretty average.

Can they run the ball?

Their stats are misleading.  It looks like they average 3.3 yards per carry, which is crappy.  However, most of that is lost yardage for Savage.  Their top two runners average 4.8 yards per carry, which is not great but it is better than you might have expected seeing the overall number.

Do they pass the ball?

They are decent.  Savage completes 61% of his passes for 7.5 yards per attempt and 12 yards per reception, both of which are pretty good.  He also has tamed his INT problem.  They have two very good receivers in Tyler Boyd and Devin Street.

How is their run/pass balance?

Once you take the sacks out, they run on 47% of their plays, which is a pretty typical ratio in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are above average at 39%

Do they score in the red zone?

This explains why their scoring is stronger than their yards.  Pitt is very good in the red zone, with 5.25 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Negative.  They have given up 41 sacks on 420 attempts, nearly 10%.

Pizza!  Pizza!

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They allowed 27 points per game, which was 11th in the ACC.  However, they were 8th in total defense, so we will probably see something below that indicates why that is.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good. allowing 4.3 yards per carry, a little more if you eliminate the sacks.

Can they be passed on?

Their passing efficiency defense is in the middle of the pack nationally.  They allow only 58% completions, which is really strong.  They are susceptible on yards, allowing 7.2 per attempt and 12.5 per reception.  18 TDs over 8 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Opponents get 39% which is around the average.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not very well.  They have only 3 red zone stops all year and one of them is a missed FG.  They allow 5.2 points per red zone trip, which accounts for why their yardage numbers are better than their scoring numbers.

Do they pressure the QB?

Despite having Aaron Donald, they do not get a lot of pressure on the QB.  They have only 18 sacks and that 4.9% of passing attempts.

BCS Quality Cheerleading
Special Teams:


Punting is not a strong point.  Their net punting is among the worst in FBS.  The punter seems pretty good.  Part of that is the return game...they gave up 16 yards a return and 3 TDs.

Punt Return?

They are average, getting about 8 yards a return, no TDs.


He's good.  11-14 overall, 5-9 outside 40 with a 47 long.  One blocked.  Should thrive in Ford Field.


Teams are starting around the 26.

Kickoff Return?

They are starting on the 26.   Which is average.

Tony Dorsett ain't walking through the door

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Intangibly, there are a couple things that seem to be interesting.

First, BG is playing without its head coach.  However, the rest of the coaches will be there, this is a senior-dominated team with a strong routine developed.  I don't believe this will be that much of an issue.  Teams win bowl games this way every year and I don't think this will be any different.  We may win or lose, but I don't expect the coaching to be the issue.

Second, you have a BCS team playing in a minor bowl.  The question here is whether Pitt feels like playing in this game is a punishment or a burden, or whether they are ready to play football.  You never know on these things.  My guess is they are ready to play.

It is an interesting matchup in that you have a 10-3 BG team against a 6-6 ACC team.  Most of the computer projections show BG winning and most of the people show Pitt winning.  I think it will be a very good game.  If BG plays they way it did since the Toledo game, I don't see any reason why we won't win this game.

Neither are these guys

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