Advanced Stats: Improvement on Offense is Cancelled Out by a Drop on Defense

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With half a season in the rear view mirror, we can take a look at some advanced statistics and compare them to last season. Once you digest all the numbers I’m about to give you, it’s easy to see why the Hokies are 3-3.

The numbers included in this article are from the S&P+ metrics. You can find them on FootballOutsiders.com, and you can also find easy listings for the 2015 Hokies here.

Offense

Here is how the offense ranks in the three main S&P+ categories when compared to last season.

Overall: #85 last year, #62 this year. +23 overall.
Passing: #86 last year, #42 this year. +44 overall.
Rushing: #108 last year, #87 this year. +21 overall.

I know it’s hard to believe, especially with the Pitt game happening just 12 days ago, but Virginia Tech has been a lot better on offense this season. If they had just a mediocre game against the Panthers, the Hokies would likely be somewhere around #40-45 in S&P+ offensive ratings. As it stands, they have improved 21-44 spots in all three categories since last season.

Let’s dig a little deeper and look at four detailed categories‚Ķ

Explosive plays: #119 last year, #65 this year. +54 overall.

Success rate (efficiency): #99 last year, #92 this year. +7 overall.

Field Position: #117 last year, #20 this year. +97.

Finishing Drives (points inside the 40): #83 last year, #53 this year. +30 overall.

Tech is hitting a lot more big plays this year, they are winning the field position battle offensively, and they are doing a much better job of scoring points when they get inside the opponent’s 40 yard line. Their success rate ranking is nearly the same as it was a year ago, but that’s the only advanced metric in which the Hokie offense hasn’t made vast improvements.

In the seven categories listed above, Virginia Tech has improved an average of 39.42 spots. Throw out

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