Much will be written today about Todd Gurley and UGA’s rushing attack from Saturday. For good reason – Gurley is an early Heisman favorite coming off a brilliant first game, and UGA’s rushing attack managed to pummel Clemson into submission during the second half as the Dawgs ran away with the blowout victory.
I decided to take a play-by-play look at UGA’s rushing attack versus Clemson in the context of situation. As we all know, not all 3 yard runs are the same; a 3 yard run on 3rd & 10 does little to help. A 3 yard run on 3rd & 1, however, extends a drive and gives an offense 3 more chances to find the endzone.
So we’ll be looking at Success Rate, a statistic conceived years ago by Football Outsiders that I’ve been a big fan of. Success Rate is kind of rudimentary, but it does provide some contextual detail. Here’s how it works – it looks at “Needed Yards”, or how many yards the team needed on each play to earn a first down. On 1st down, a play was deemed successful if it gained 40% of the Needed Yards. On 2nd down, a 60% threshold was required. On 3rd & 4th down, 100% was needed.
With those parameters, here’s how UGA’s rushing attack fared against Clemson:
|Situation||Plays||Yards||Success Totals||Success %|
Those numbers are really strong. Whether that tells us more about UGA’s game planning and rushing attack or Clemson’s run defense, we really don’t know yet.
But Georgia had a 52.8% success rate when running the football, which is pretty great. If the Dawgs can keep this up week-to-week, it really won’t matter how well Hutson Mason takes to his starting QB job.