More fun with numbers as today we look at Virginia Tech's defensive drive efficiency (offensive numbers here). This is different than what we looked at last week, which was based more on per-game stats.
The two charts found after the jump look at the percentage of yards allowed by the Hokies and the number of points per drive they gave up. Both exclude garbage-time drives, which Football Outsiders defines as coming after one team is ahead by more than 24 points in the first quarter, 21 points in the second or 16 points in the second half. It also excludes drives where a team took a knee or ran a play or two to run out the clock at the end of a half.
First up is the percentage of available yards given up by Virginia Tech in ACC games. Basically, if a team gets the ball at their own 20 and drives 80 yards for a touchdown, they get credit for 100 percent of the available yards. If they drive 40 yards and then punt, they get credit for 50 percent.
Abbreviations: Yards - Yards Hokies gained in each non-garbage time goal drives; Avail - Yards available to the Hokies at the beginning of each drive; Pct - Yards/Avail.
Next up is points per drive. Simply, it's points scored by the offense (excluding defensive and special teams TDs) divided by a team's total number of drives in the game.
Abbreviations: Stops - Non-scoring drives (punt, downs, turnovers, etc.); TD - Touchdowns; FG - Field Goals; Drives - Stops + TD + FG; Pts/Drv - Offensive Points/Drives.
The Hokies weren't outstanding in the yard percentage category but had great points per drive numbers. This can be explained by the high number of turnovers they forced and how good they were in red zone defense. In conference play, the Hokies had the lowest red zone scoring rate in the ACC (69.2 percent) and also forced the most turnovers (25). That's pretty much the definition of bend-don't-break.
A great example is the Miami game where the Hokies gave up their highest percentage of available yards, but their fifth-highest points per drive. The Canes turned the ball over six times, including once in the red zone and missed a field goal.
Next year I expect the percentage of available yards to go down and for the points per game to go up. The Hokies should be better against the run because they should be bigger and deeper in the front seven. However, I don't think they'll be able to force nearly as many turnovers because Rashad Carmichael will be gone and teams will not throw toward Jayron Hosley as much.
As we said yesterday with the offensive numbers, the turnovers and keeping teams below 50 percent on available yards contributed to a big advantage in field position for the Hokies this year. The turnovers contributed to Tech starting 18 non-garbage time drives in their opponents territory. Meanwhile, only three opponents non-garbage time drives started on Virginia Tech's side of the 50.