We looked at the offensive stats yesterday, and I asked you to weigh in. Here are the defensive stats. I’ve also added a little analysis today since I have some more time.
It’s clear that the strength of this team is the defensive line and the pass rush. I am grading them an A, although you could argue for an A+. They sack the quarterback better than 98% of teams in college football, and have more TFL’s than 92% of teams. They are a big part of Pitt’s top-20 ranking against the run. Average all three and hey, there’s your A.
The linebackers get a B based on the stats on this page. They are playing a big part in pass coverage, and have done a great job limiting our opponent’s short passing game. That is a big part of why Pitt is better than 93% of teams when it comes to opponent’s passing efficiency. The linebackers are also an integral part of Pitt’s 16th ranked run defense. Pitt is better than 87% of teams when it comes to giving up yards on the ground. Red zone defense is abysmal though. Pitt is only better than 31% of teams when it comes to stopping teams inside their own 20. While you can’t pin that on any one unit, I’d like to see the linebackers step up here.
Defensive backs get a B+. They are doing a great job (along with the LB’s) in keeping opposing team’s passing games inefficient, but in order to earn an A they need to step up their third down defense. Pitt is “only” better than 77% of teams in this area. Get that up towards 90% and this defense would go from good to great. Also – something not evident in the stats below, but very evident when you watch the games is Safety Play. Hamlin and Ford are Pitt’s top two leading tacklers, and they’ve each defended four passes. Yes, Hamlin was a little bit suspect in coverage early in the year, but he’s seemed to have cleaned that problem up. Ford, as we all know, is just getting started.
There are four areas that need improvement in the second half (of games and of the season…):
- Red Zone Defense – Pitt is 88th out of 130. This defense is so much better than that.
- Turnovers – Pitt is just slightly better than average. The Duke game was a huge step in the right direction, but Pitt needs to continue to take away the ball.
- Scoring Defense – Pitt is better than 2/3 of the NCAA here, but given the talent and coaching, this defense needs to hold themselves to a higher standard.
- Fourth Down Defense – Maybe I’m picking nits here, but Pitt is 81st out of 130. Again, given the talent on this defense, you’d expect this to be higher.
Defense – Overall Statistics
- Total Defense: 298.7 YPG. 19th out of 130 – 85th Percentile.
- Scoring Defense: 22.5 PPG. 43rd out of 130 – 67th Percentile.
- Red Zone Defense: 88th out of 130 – 32nd Percentile
- Rushing Defense: 97.0 YPG. 16th out of 130 – 88th Percentile
- Team Passing Efficiency Defense: 105.62 (pass rating allowed). 9th out of 130 – 93rd Percentile.
- 1st Down Defense (# of First Downs Allowed): 38. 25th out of 130 – 81st Percentile.
- 3rd Down Conversion % Defense: 33.7% (conversions allowed). 29th out of 130 – 78th Percentile.
- 4th Down Conversion % Defense: 51.7% (conversions allowed). 81st out of 130 – 38th Percentile.
- Turnovers Gained: 8. 54th out of 130 – 58th Percentile.
- Fumbles Recovered: 3. 54th out of 130 – 58th Percentile.
- Passes Intercepted: 5. 50th out of 130 – 62nd Percentile.
- Team Sacks: 4.5 per game. 2nd out of 130 – 98th percentile.
- Team Tackles For Loss: 8.2 per game. 10th out of 130 – 92nd Percentile.
Defense – Nationally Relevant Individual Statisics
Patrick Jones (DE)
- 6th in Forced Fumbles. (3)
Damarri Mathis (CB)
- 23rd in Passes Defended (1.3 per game)
Dane Jackson (CB)
- 37th in Passes Defended (1.2 per game)
Jaylen Twyman (DT)
- 6th in Sacks (6.0)
Kylan Johnson (LB)
- 44th In Sacks (4.0)
Hail to Pitt