Hef’s house of cards comes crashing down
Final Score: Notre Dame 55-0 (Garbage Time began at 38-0)
Model Prediction: ND by 21, ND to cover: correct
Projected EPA (Offense and Defense Pre Garbage Time) Margin of Victory: ND by 36
GT Win Probability (Based on Success Rate, Yards Per Play, and EPA): Drumroll please…0%
After the game, the coach described the state of the program as “building it and getting closer.” That’s not what I saw on Saturday.
Travelling to Notre Dame put the nail in the coffin for everyone who insisted on claiming that we were “close.” You’re not close when garbage time starts with 8 minute left in the second quarter. You’re not close when the broadcasting network is creating graphics with the coach riding a broken down Ramblin’ Wreck.
You’re not close when the opposing coach uses his halftime interview to emphasize the benefit of getting to play a lot more players in the second half. You’re not close when said coach voluntarily plays 4 quarterbacks.
That felt like a point of no return. If you want to stick around, I’ll show you just how bad it was. And remember, all of these stats include only the non-garbage plays of the first quarter and a half.
Success Rate Comparisons
Success rate is the baseline metric for efficiency. As a reminder, a successful play gains 50% of the needed yards on 1st down, 70% on second down, and 100% on third or fourth down.
The 29% success rate margin for Notre Dame came up just short of the 38% margin that Clemson managed against GT last year. Notre Dame efficiently moved the ball on almost exactly twice the percentage of its plays as GT. The second quarter 82% number was reflective of what felt like an absolute dearth of effort from the GT Defense. I don’t use the “Q” word lightly, but how else do you describe allowing so many gash plays and so many broken tackles?
Advanced Stats Comparison and Positional Breakdowns
This is the third consecutive week of pointing out the massive discrepancies in some of the most important top-line numbers.
- Notre Dame out gained Georgia Tech by 7.4 yards per play!
- Notre Dame averaged 9 more yards per drop back than Georgia Tech!
- Notre Dame averaged 1.51 more EPA/play than Georgia Tech!
Jordan Yates got the start for the second consecutive week, but I don’t think it mattered in the least who played quarterback this game. In non-garbage time, Jordan Yates dropped back to pass 10 times, and Notre Dame pressured him on 8 of those plays! An 80% pressure rate! On the two plays without pressure, Yates did well. But no QB in the world can overcome that kind of situation. -21% CPOE and -1.17/pass are absolutely bottom of the barrel numbers, but there was no hope for whomever lined up behind center for GT on Saturday.
There’s not much to say here. The OL allowed a 33% run stuff rate. Dontae Smith had a run that lost two yards but required him to break four tackles just to get there. There was no room to run and no one to run behind.
The main thing to note here is that Jahmyr Gibbs did not have a single target in non-garbage time snaps. With the absurd amount of pressure that ND was generating, throws to Gibbs represented perhaps the only possibility of a successful passing game for GT. Instead, he was left in to pass protect over and over again. Dylan Leonard couldn’t block anyone; why not put in Mason and Gibbs together to let Mason pass pro and Gibbs come out of the backfield as a target?
Jordan Yates did not attempt a single throw of 10 air yards or more because of the pressure, so there’s no way to even know if any of GT’s receivers could get much of any separation.
Here we go. Unquestionably, this position group deserves more blame than any other for just how quickly and emphatically this game got out of hand. They allowed a 33% stuff rate on running plays and, as we mentioned before, an 80% pressure rate on dropbacks! The only way that we ever see that number get topped is – oh wait, next week. Sorry.
In a mere 22 offensive snaps, I counted 7 FLOPS (failure on the line or penalty) by the left guard. That’s frustrating, sure. But what is more frustrating is that this staff has had three years to find a better option at LG than a former walk-on from CPJ’s regime. The historic transformation has led us to historically bad offensive line play after these guys have been in the care of Hef’s staff for three years.
This is the emptiest disruption table we’ve had yet! As we’ve come to expect, Georgia Tech was well below average in defensive pressure rate, havoc rate, and run stuff rate. The run stuff rate was 0% to be precise, while the havoc rate came in splendidly at 7%. Here’s the one bright side: the two sacks on the opening drive kept it from being 49-0 at halftime! Is that what we mean we say progress?
Jack Coan may lose sleep tonight knowing that he couldn’t top 1.0 EPA/drop back against this unit. Instead, he had to settle for 0.79 EPA/pass play, giving him the second best number of the year against what has to be in the running for the worst unit of any kind in the Power 5. His +15.6% CPOE was the third best performance put up on GT so far this year. But, hey, at least our head coach likes to talk about all the DB’s he’s put in the NFL! That counts for something, right?
In the preview, we talked about the challenge of anyone on Tech’s defense matching up with TE Michael Mayer. He proved us right, catching 3 balls for 86 yards in the first quarter and a half of play. He exploited linebackers and safeties with impunity, and apparently no one on the defensive staff thought of trying some kind of bracket coverage on him. That would have required actually game planning this week, so I understand why they didn’t think of it.
EPA calculates the expected number of points added (or lost in the case of a negative number) on a particular play based on the down and the location on they field.
The EPA totals for this game leave us with a 36 point projected win for Notre Dame through 23 minutes of game play. Just 1.5 points per minute, no big deal. I have no doubt ND could have won 90-0 if they left their starters in.
As always, we’ll take a look at the most helpful and hurtful offensive and defensive plays for GT.
Most Helpful Plays
- Georgia Tech’s best EPA play of the day before garbage time was an 11 yard pass. That tells you all you need to know.
Most Hurtful Plays
- Jordan Yates’s Pick 6 on GT’s opening drive of the game. -9.40 EPA.
- Coan’s 53 yard touchdown pass to Michael Mayer with no GT defender in sight. -4.18 EPA.
- Coan’s 16 yard pass to Michael Mayer on a 3rd and 5 with a late hit on top. -3.18 EPA.
- Coan’s 20 yard touchdown pass to go up 38-0 on 1st and 10. -2.50 EPA.
GT had another offensive play go for around -9.5 EPA in the second half, when Yates’s fumble led to a Big Man return TD. Every play including garbage time led to a Notre Dame EPA margin of almost 60 points. This was a beatdown of all beatdowns. There’s nothing positive to take from it.
Tracking Season Goals
*I set these goals for the 2021 season in some of my offseason preview work. We will be tracking them as we go this year.
**The pass defense EPA goal has beed modified to reflect the uptick in success offensive passing games have had in college football over the past two years.
0/6 on the week. Clinging to 1/6 for the year with pressure rate allowed right on the margin. There are no grounds for excitement or hope here.
What is there to say? A bad season got worse, and a bad tenure got solidified. 45-0 to VT in 2019, 73-7 to Clemson last year, 55-0 to Notre Dame on Saturday: three of the six worst GT losses in the past 50 years, all under the oversight of Mr. Sockless Loafers. And it will be 4/7 after next Saturday.