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Break Out the Zoloft

After a refreshing week of Coach Robinson consistently taking the heat for the West Virginia debacle (and simultaneously charging his staff and motley crew of ragtag footballers to remedy the team’s deficiencies) it’s about time to take a look at some of the statistical underpinnings of the Labor Day Disaster.

When a team turns in a pathetic performance such as the clunker Syracuse laid last Sunday, there is no particularly good place to start. All roads lead to the same conclusion - Syracuse looked like they were playing in wheelchairs. However, some of those roads are more scenic than others.

With this in mind, the examination is going to start by looking at Syracuse's drive efficiency. For a full description of what the numbers below mean and how they are determined, check out this article on Syracuse's 2004 drive efficiency.

Drive Efficiency - Syracuse v. West Virginia

Just to reiterate a point clearly illustrated above, Syracuse’s offense benefited the Orange football team just over half a point. Not a half point per possession, mind you. Rather, the Syracuse offense, for the full 60 minutes, generated only enough offense to abstractly create one half of one point.

Pitiful, but not unexpected when the offensive unit goes 0 of 15 on third down conversions.

What's also interesting is that the two interceptions thrown by Patterson had very little effect on the offense's ability to score considering Syracuse's points factor (calculated to be a team's points per drive if a turnover was not committed) was almost equivalent to the Orange's ultimate true offensive benefit.


If the above isn't cooking your grits, take a look at the difference between West Virginia's offensive efficiency and Syracuse's. It doesn't take a genius to realize that if an offense can’t even come close to matching its counterpart, a situation is created where it becomes very difficult for a team’s defense, no matter how good the unit may be, to put a team in a position to win.

Especially when Syracuse's offense is only averaging about 6.059 yards per drive.

Reaching for the tissues yet? Here's some more fun stuff to chew on.

Syracuse was only able to run 57 plays against the Mountaineers on Sunday. More than half of the snaps Patterson took went for zero or negative yardage. All this amounted to a staggering 1.8 yards per play and .123 points per play.

Apparently, “three yards and a cloud of dust” would’ve been a marked improvement in offensive strategy.

What about value per play when illustrated against the backdrop of time of possession, you say?

Syracuse ran 57 plays over 26:05 minutes of gametime. That amounts to a whopping .2684 points per minute. To match the 15 points West Virginia put on the board, Syracuse would have had to have possessed the ball for over 55 minutes of gametime. Awesome.

Need a respite? Too bad. Here are some quick hitters.

  • Perry Patterson's quarterback rating was a dismal 58.516;
  • Damien Rhodes accounted for 2.913 yards per touch, .261 points per touch, and a pass receiver rating just south of 44;
  • Speaking of pass receiver ratings, Rhodes' rating of 44 was almost 20 units higher than his closest peer - Rice Moss; and
  • Syracuse's average starting field position was its own 27 yard line while West Virginia began each drive with an average starting position of its own 34.

Finally, it's time to take a look at the player participation report so as to identify those players proudly becoming a part of the "Johnnie Morant Burned Redshirt" tradition. Please put your hands together and welcome Bruce Williams, Lavar Lobdell, and Boonah Brinkley. Your pointless participation in Sunday's game officially makes you eligible to stunt your growth as a football player.


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