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Opponent Stat Preview: Clemson

Taking a look at the stats behind this week's matchup

Streeter Lecka

This Clemson game is a huge conference game for the Jackets. A win on Thursday would guarantee that we finish tied for first in the Coastal division and also an 8 win season. So what do the stats tell us about our matchup with Clemson?

When Clemson has the Ball

S&P+ is a statistical measure of a team's performance on a per play basis. The "S" stands for success rate, "P" for point value, and + is opponent adjusted. It is essentially OPS+ for football. It takes the slugging percentage, your explosiveness, and adds it to your on base percentage, your success rate, and adjusts for opponent. 100 is average and everything greater than 100 is good, (120 is about top 20 or so) so for each category the higher the bar the better. You can read more here.


  • Well Clemson's offense is pretty good. They are a great passing team and have a better than average rushing attack. I don't think it is any secret that they try to run their offense through Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.
  • This chart speaks to a big trend in Georgia Tech's defense this year; we are the epitome of a bend but don't break defense. On a per play basis our defense ranks 81st in the country (there are only ~125 FBS teams) but on a drive efficiency basis we are 39th in the country. The discrepancy is basically the fact that we allow teams to move the ball but we don't allow teams to actually score that many points. A good measure of this is something called Difference in Net Points. This is the difference between what a defense allows on their opponent's drives and what they would be expected to allow based on their opponent's starting field position. On average the Georgia Tech defense is allowing 1.23 points less than they should be allowing based on where their opponent's start their drives, good for 20th in the country. That is pretty crazy, I'm not sure its sustainable but hell, its better to not allow points than it is to allow them.
  • FBS Drive Stats provides some other contexts for how our defense is doing this year. The categories are the percentage of opponent drives that fit into the categories.
Value (NCAA Rank) Punt % eTO% Score % TD %
Georgia Tech 51.3 (9) 11.5 (115) 29.5 (27) 23.1 (51)
    • "eTO%" is the Effective turnover %. This includes fumbles, interceptions, safeties, and turnover on downs. So basically we force no one to turn the ball over, we force a lot of punts, and do a decent job of preventing teams from scoring. Just thought I would share.

When GT has the Ball


  • This is a better matchup for us than the first. As long as we can keep our offense from having to throw the ball we should have some success. Clemson's strength is their pass defense, specifically their pass rush, so if we aren't forced into passing the ball when they expect us to, we should be alright.

Because of the short week I wanted to get this up quick, the Picks breakdown will come on thursday when they are published elsewhere, with some other stat nuggets.