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Monday, April 29, 2013

Statistical Review: Maryland #90

If you count Danny O'Brien, who transferred away a year removed from being the ACC Rookie of the Year, Maryland went through 6 quarterbacks (or 5 quarterbacks and a linebacker) in 2012. And injuries behind center played a major role in Maryland's struggles; the Terps completed only 54% of their passes in 2012, and Shawn Petty (who can double as a linebacker and quarterback and, I'd assume, race car driver if needed) completed only 46% over the last four games.

Perry Hills stepped in for the best quarterback on campus, C.J. Brown. He averaged just under 8 yards per attempt, threw more TDs than INTs (but just barely), and had a QB rating equal to Everett Golson's, who was good enough to not prevent his team from playing for a national championship (and losing terribly). He had an EPA on passing plays of 31.9 and .190 per pass play, but he added -14 yards on 70 rush attempts to bring his total EPA below 0 (this is foreshadowing of the bigger point).

Shawn Petty, a high school quarterback, was definitely less dynamic as a passer, but he threw only 2 INTs and managed a positive EPA on pass plays (meaning that he was better than average, if slightly so). He did manage positive rushing yards, but Petty, the high school option quarterback, was weighed down by .24 yards per rush attempt and 3.5 rush yards per game - not exactly Johnny Manziel numbers.

So, while Hills, Burns, Rowe and Petty were unspectacular, injuries and inexperience at QB were a much smaller part of the story than one might assume. The Maryland offense averaged only 2.5 fewer points per game in Petty's four starts than in the seven with Hills behind center. The bigger story was an inability to control the line of scrimmage; Maryland was 121st nationally in sacks per pass, TFL per run play, and yards per rush (2.6). On one hand, a more explosive passing game would pull defenders out of the box, but on the other hand, 39 sacks is a good way to get your QB knocked out of the game.

The defense was solid if unspectacular.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions of the stats used in the table below.

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