First down stats vs. Notre Dame

The numbers:

  • 16 rushing attempts for 81 yards: 5.1 yards/carry.
  • 13-18 on passing attempts for 163 yards: 72.2% comp%, 9.6 yards/attempt.

The rushing stats include two TD runs on first and goal (from the 1 and the 7) and three QB runs for a total of 8 yards.  So that's 11 first-and-ten RB attempts for 65 yards (5.9 yards/attempt).  The running backs picked up at least 4 yards on 8 of the 11 attempts.

So that's encouraging.

The passing stats include the 30-yard TD pass from Keshawn Martin to Blair White.  Even without that play, though, the passing numbers are plenty good.

The run/pass mix varied over the course of the game:

  • 9 running plays in the first 13 first-down plays (2 were QB runs).
  • Followed by five straight first-down passes (the first 3 with Nichols in the game).
  • Followed by a stretch of 8 running plays in 11 first-down plays.
  • 6 straight first-down passes to end the game (5 of them on the final almost-epic-but-ultimately-ill-fated drive).

Conclusions:

  • Maybe there's hope for the running game (recognizing that (1) the Notre Dame defense doesn't appear to be all that great against the run and (2) we didn't run the ball very well on 2nd/3rd down: 24 yards on 9 attempts).
  • Being unpredictable, in the context of an overall balanced approach, appears to be a good thing.
  • As noted by a number of commenters this week, the offense was not the big-picture problem last Saturday.
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