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Georgia Tech Football: Advanced Stats Review - South Carolina State

This was a fun one!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 SC State at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia Tech did what they needed to and took care of business this weekend, beating South Carolina State 48-13. The offense as a whole had a phenomenal day. Let’s dig into it. Game On Paper didn’t break this weekend, so you can look through the full report here.

Overall production

Data courtesy of
Data courtesy of

The first chart is one that you always want to see a lot of green on. Overall, as the chart indicates, Georgia Tech played mostly pretty well, ranking in the 75th or better percentile in 7 of 11 categories. The only one that’s deeply concerning is the run stuff rate, but we’ll get more in-depth with that when we get to the defense.

The second table gives a holistic view of how Tech performed this week. In short, the passing game worked really well, the running game was fine, and the pass defense was really good. The 0.3 EPA/dropback is very impressive and is helped by Haynes King’s performance, but also by the receivers’ performance. According to Game On Paper, Georgia Tech receivers did not drop a single target. I’m also not remembering any specific drops at the moment.


Data courtesy of

Let’s talk about Haynes King. He came out last week and threw an interception early on. Since that play, he has been just about lights out. King absolutely dominated both on the ground (at least in the Louisville game) and in the air. Specifically, this week, King’s performance is probably one of the best for a Georgia Tech quarterback in recent memory.

It’s also nice to say that quarterback play is not something I’m worried about with Georgia Tech this season. I haven’t been able to say that since Justin Thomas was at Georgia Tech. And it’s not just that King is playing well for Tech, he is playing well compared to other P5 quarterbacks.

Data courtesy of

As you can see, PFF did not favor King as much as ESPN’s QBR did, but he’s in a much better place than his predecessor at quarterback.


Data courtesy of

I was actually a little surprised here that the running game was not as prominent when it comes to EPA. Georgia Tech rushers only added 0.08 EPA/rush, which isn’t a bad number, but it’s also not the 0.14 EPA/rush Tech had against Louisville. A part of the issue here is that nearly a third of Tech’s rushes went for two or fewer yards.

Looking at individual performances, Jamal Haynes was of course the top guy with 0.59 EPA/play, 113 yards, and a touchdown. Trey Cooley would have been at the exact same mark if not for his fumble at the goal line. Despite the fumble, though, Cooley still ran very well, with a 70% success rate on rushing plays (highest on the team).

The offensive line performed decently in run blocking, but some inconsistency there is likely the cause of such a high percentage of rushes being stopped or stuffed altogether. The high highlight yards total and average (rush yards counted specifically to the running backs and not the offensive line) show that when the running backs got space, they made plays happen consistently.

Defensively, Tech could have done a lot better stopping the run. Nearly half of SC State’s rushes went for 4 yards or more. Tech particularly struggled to stop option plays. Notably, Tech had a tremendously low stuff rate of 20% (9th percentile baby!!!), and yeah, that’s really bad, especially against an FCS team.

At this level, Georgia Tech’s defensive line should be absolutely pushing through an FCS team’s offensive line, and that makes me really concerned for the rest of the season.


Data courtesy of

Georgia Tech did a moderate job of getting explosive plays. My concern here, though, is that aside from those explosive plays, Tech’s offense as a whole certainly had its moments of struggle. Finishing at -0.22 EPA/play, it was about as low as SC State’s offense.

Guys like Eric Singleton and Jamal Haynes were a big part of Tech’s explosiveness, which is great because they are both young guys. But Tech needs to find a way to be a bit better on the non-explosive plays. Part of that harkens back to Tech’s up-and-down running game. Having so many stuffed runs really impacts that EPA.

Defensively, Georgia Tech did well when not giving up explosive plays, and they did a good job of limiting them to just three. But at the same time, they let an FCS team break off three explosive plays against them, two of which were runs.


Data courtesy of
Data courtesy of

Well, Georgia Tech did cause some havoc this week, but I’m still concerned. SC State is far from a pass-first team, but for the second week in a row, Georgia Tech did not get any sacks. At least they did get five tackles for loss, though, and they were spread around, so there are a few guys that were able to do things.

The Yellow Jackets also forced two turnovers, which is great! Kyle Kennard, specifically, had a big day, getting a DL interception and picking up the fumble recovery. His performance helped him get named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Moving forward, though, I hope to see a bit more pass pressure from him.

Although I’m concerned about Tech’s inability to cause havoc, it’s also slightly concerning that they gave up so many havoc plays themselves. I won’t get too focused on that this week, though, since Tech was able to move the ball with ease despite the havoc plays allowed, as evidenced by SC State’s paltry 14% stop rate (percentage of drives that are stopped without a score).

Special Teams

Data courtesy of

Well this was a little interesting, but I wanted to talk about this. Gavin Stewart continued to struggle a bit this last weekend with field goals. He missed a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter that had more than enough leg on it, and that was it for him. After that, Stewart continued to do kickoffs, but field goal and PAT duties were passed off to Aidan Birr. He nailed his 30- and 42-yard tries to help offset the FG EPA.

This is a great stat that I hope Tech does again this season. David Shanahan did not punt once the entire game. And that’s exactly how often a punter should be used.

Most impactful plays

Data courtesy of
Data courtesy of


  • Haynes King = good. Jamal Haynes = good. Trevion Cooley = good when he doesn’t fumble. Eric Singleton = good.
  • I’m a little concerned about the performance of both the offensive and defensive lines. Neither of them had overwhelmingly great performances, and SC State is the worst team Tech will play all season.
  • I have no idea what happened to Gavin Stewart, but I’m glad he’s still clutch on the kickoffs. All NINE of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.

Georgia Tech faces a pretty big test this week against Ole Miss and then next week against Wake Forest. Both of those games should really help us settle in at what we can expect from Georgia Tech the rest of the season.