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2019 West Virginia Football Season Review: Part 3 - Team Defensive Stats

We’ve seen the individual stats but here is how the defense performed as a whole

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 West Virginia at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In part one we saw how the individual players performed, including standouts like Dante and Darius Stills. Those two specific players made up the interior of the West Virginia Mountaineers interior defensive line, a defensive line that was the strength of the team.

We’ll start with the standard statistics, yards per game.

2019 West Virginia Defensive Stats - Standard

Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Rush Yards Allowed 1913 Yards 64 7
Rush Defense 159.42 YPG 68 8
Pass Yards Allowed 2879 Yards 74 6
Pass Defense 239.9 YPG 89 6
Total Yards Allowed 4792 Yards 60 6
Total Defense 399 YPG 75 6
Scoring Defense 28.8 PPG 74 7
2019 West Virginia Defensive Stats - Standard

In Vic Koenning’s first season as defensive coordinator, he was able to take a semi-veteran defense and get them to perform at a reasonable level. For comparison sake, the team last year was much better against the run, but much worse against the pass and allowed 404 yards per game. Koenning’s focus on creating havoc, as we’ll see in a later table, helped keep the games closer.

2019 West Virginia Defensive Disruption

Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Sacks 33 32 3
Tackles For Loss 79 44 5
Interceptions 8 87 7
Pass Breakups 53 18 3
Forced Fumbles 12 98 5
Fumbles Recovered 6 87 5
3rd Downs 173 54 5
3rd Down Conversions 69 61 5
4th Downs 20 55 7
4th Down Conversions 12 77 9
2019 West Virginia Defensive Disruption Stats

These “disruption” stats show that Koenning’s philosophy of creating havoc kinda worked. He was able to keep the Mountaineers in the top half of the conference and middle of the pack nationally when his team created played. It is encouraging that the team finished in the Top-20 in passes defended and top 3 in the conference in that stat. Given the amount of sacks and tackles for loss, and the amount of passes defended, it is a bit surprising that the team gave up as many yards as it did. I take from this that Koenning and his team played an aggressive boom-or-bust type defense, one that went for plays and at times gave up plays. Being aggressive can be beneficial, especially in the college game, but they are still young kids and mistakes happen.

2019 West Virginia Defensive Scoring

Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Statistic Total National Rank Big 12 Rank
Points Per Game 28.8 73 7
FG Made 15 74 1
Red Zone Attempts 47 73 7
Red Zone Touchdowns 30 82 9
Red Zone Scores 42 96 8
Blocks 2 31 3
2019 West Virginia Defensive Scoring

The first two tables are nice but the name of the game is to stop the other team from scoring. Here is the one that is most important. 28.8 points per game is not bad, but it puts pressure on the offense. You want to be closer to 20 per game. Two of the four playoff teams (Clemson Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes) are 1st and 2nd respectively in points per game. A third team (LSU Tigers) are 25th nationally at 21.2 points per game. Only the Oklahoma Sooners are outside of the top 25 but their offense ranks 6th nationally at 43 points per game.

The Mountaineers allowed 42 scores in 47 redzone trips by the opponents, including 30 touchdowns. The 63% touchdown percentage puts them 87th nationally and is one area they need to improve upon. Limiting opponents to field goals in the redzone is a great way to improve a defense.