I spent some of the morning poring over the stat sheets from each of our games. And it begs the question: what changed after the Syracuse game?
In games 1 through five, we averaged 33.4 points per game. We averaged 68 plays per game and gained 6.55 yards per play. In the last four games, we have averaged just 22 points per, have run an average of 65 plays per game, and are averaging only 5.1 yards per play. That is a drop of 1.45 yards per play. That is huge, and explains why our third down conversion rate has dipped from 50.7 percent through the first five, to just 38.8 percent in the last four.
What has happened? We had our problems in those first four: the kickoff coverage issues, the turnover bug. Now, we seem to have improved in those areas, but the buzzsaw of an offense that I so loved in the first four games, especially, has disappeared.
Why? Have there been any big changes on the line? Are we not calling the same plays? Can we not find weaknesses in opposing defense? After yesterday, I am concerned because check out the stats on the defense against which we couldn't score more than 17: 69th in rush defense allowing 147 per game, 69th in pass yards allowed with 224, and the one that gave me reason to think we could cover the spread of 17, 110th in pass efficiency defense. Now we did rush for 201 yards against the Cards, more than they have allowed on average. But we only passed for 100 yards! How is it that we weren't throwing the ball all over the yard with impunity?
Cincy just rolled up 712 yards of offense against UConn. The only upside is that they allowed 462. We need to return to the offensive ways of the first four games or Friday night will be another long one. As I have argued earlier, our defense is not built to win with an offense that scores in the teens.
Any theories on what I have labeled "The Midseason Sputter?"