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Dawg Stats is Thinking About the Defenses

Josh Hancher

When the line posted on Sunday from the Circa Sports Twitter Account, it was an eyebrow raiser.  Georgia opened as a 28 point favorite with a total at 47.5 implying a 37-9 win.. Interesting numnbers considering that the Auburn defense has been improving each week and the Georgia offense has been sputtering.  I love seeing Jack Pod getting Co-SEC Player of the Week honors, but do not love seeing our kicker leading the SEC in points.  

Even more interesting is that the line has move to Georgia -29.5.  Not what I would have expected considering that Auburn played it's best defensive game of the season and had a win expectancy of 67% against LSU.  Let's look at the Tiger defense the last three games - all against Power 5 opponent which is a on a positive trend if you are Tiger fan.

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While those aren't elite numbers, the defensive unit has put up improved numbers after the Penn State game which wasn't competitive.  That said, they are 3-2 with one with courtesy of Auburn Jesus while opening with 5 games at home.  This is a 3:30 SEC game between the hedges. That has to priced into that -29.5 number.  Let's look at the defensive splits.

The Tiger D is balanced and not allowing much of anything versus either run or pass the last three weeks. 36% pass success rate, and 37% on season.  If that is sustainable, then it will be good enough to keep them in games.  Teams will run at them.  60/40 Run Pass split with a 5.0 yards per attempt and 45% success rate versus Penn State, Missouri, and LSU. If Monken is gonna take what the defense gives, then are we looking at a throwback night of manball?

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If so, then what can we expect.  I have written many time that I am not concerned about the run game or who is getting the carries.  Graham Coffey asked George Foster to look at the running and blocking schemes that Georgia is running. Check out that breakdown for some detailed analysis one blocking schemes.  My point of emphasis is that the rush game is efficient but not as explosive.  It ranks 1st in Power 5 Rush Success Rate (61.5%), and 4th in rush EPA (.403).   It gets the yards it needs to and definitely produced on Saturday pounding it in for the comeback TDs and salting the game away in the 4th Quarter.

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Sure, you'd like to see 6.0+, who wouldn't?  But that .424 EPA tells us that while the average is low, the efficiency is solid. Georgia has a rush success rate of 70.8% on 3rd and 4th downs and a .978 EPA.  That is has to be a point of pride for the offense.  In addition to that, Georgia has 59.8 rush success rate on first downs despite a 43% rate on Saturday.

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I would expect for Georgia to limit AU possessions, attack with the run first approach, and try to get the AU defense to bring extra help into the box and deal a few daggers over the top.  Should the front Auburn 7 manage the run effectively, might be another ugly win.  

The Dawg Stats Post Script

The offenses:  Auburn will have to put up more points then they have all season, even if Georgia doesn't bring the A+ game.  6.7 YPP and a season Average Depth of Target of 8.5 isn't gonna to get it done.  They will need to take and execute deep shots to give the stagnant run game a chance. Georgia's PFF coverage grade has been 85 for Oregon, 75 versus SC, and 79 against Missouri, so yeah, good luck with that. 

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