February 15, 2019

Total Yards Matter: Clemson Version

On Tuesday I explained why total yards matter in the big picture of college football – total yards correlates to points at a much higher rate than other statistic in college football.

I realize however, that many of those that read this site don’t care about this stat for college football as whole, but rather what it means for Clemson in particular.  The answer: The same thing.

While the number of plays run for Clemson has a strong (but smaller) correlation to points, I’m struck by the other numbers below.  The passing stats have weak to almost non-exisitent correlation to points scored and the rushing stats all have negative correlations.

Clemson Correlations

If you think about it, the negative correlation to rushing numbers makes sense – for Clemson.  While the rushing game is important, the Tigers are much more efficient at passing and plays spent rushing decrease the overall efficiency of the offense (yards per play) even if the rushing plays are successful.

Running plays are obviously an important part of the offense and the analysis above made no distinction between a passing play when behind by 10 or a rushing play when ahead by 10.  Perhaps that is something I can develop at some point – analyzing these numbers by game situation.

The data also confirms what we learned in Tuesday’s post (total yards matter) and refines the findings for Clemson – Total yards (no matter how they are gained) and plays run are two key stats for the Tiger offense.

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