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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Statistical Review: Bowling Green #65

When Florida struggled against Bowling Green to kickoff the season I interpreted it as a product of first game rust. By no means did I believe that the Florida offense was a dynamo in disguise, so I wasn't anticipating a 70-14 thumping, but this game was tied at 14 late in the 3rd quarter. Now with the a little perspective, the only surprising result from that game is that Bowling Green scored at all. Let me explain.

Relative to their level of competition, the Bowling Green defense was elite. They were one of six teams nationally to allow fewer than 300 yards per game despite being league average in possessions per game (in other words, opponents had their chances). They allowed only 3.4 yards per rush and 10.4 yards per reception, touchdowns on less than 15% of possessions and 1.2 points per possession. These numbers are deflated by weak competition - Idaho, UMass, Eastern Michigan, Akron to name a few. But the best offense on their schedule, San Jose State, scored only 29 - only BYU, Utah State, Stanford and Navy (?) held Fales and Co. under 29. The surprise isn't that Florida scored only 27 against Bowling Green. If anything, it is surprising the Gators scored than many points..

Relative to their level of competition the Bowling Green offense was poor. Two numbers - 54% completions, 11.5 yards per completion - best reflect the general offensive malaise. Florida should have shut Bowling Green down completely. For the season, Bowling Green averaged 365 yards per game but they racked up 327 yards, including more than 100 yards rushing, against one of the nation's elite defenses.

Finally, Bowling Green missed two field goals against Florida. Those six points would have made the game much more interesting in the 4th quarter. But Bowling Green made only 53% of their field goals, good for 120th nationally, and their field goal team was .74 points worse per attempt than the national average. Missing field goals was just part of the M. O.

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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