An FCS Comparison

 

Offense

Below, I’ve compared this week’s Chattanooga win to last year’s Jacksonville State win.

Both games had 3 things in common: (1) LSU won both, (2) they were the first home games of the season, and (3) both opponents were from the FCS level.

But despite winning both, LSU’s performances were significantly different, and I think this difference helps show the new offense’s effectiveness.

Against, Jacksonville State, LSU’s offensive was less potent, especially on the passing front.

  Yards Per Play Yards Per Rush Attempt Yards Per Pass Attempt
Jacksonville St. 6.63 6.6 6.7
Chattanooga 7.09 4.8 12.9

Per play, LSU averaged about .4 more yards in the Chattanooga game than in the Jacksonville State game. .4 yards is actually a lot more than it might initially seem as every play you’re getting an extra bit of yardage, which adds up over the course of a game.

Additionally, there was a huge amount of junk time in the Chattanooga game, essentially half of the third and the entire fourth quarter. There was junk time in the Jacksonville State game, but not that much.

So the difference in yards per play is probably a little bit more than .4.

Finally, the difference in the yards per pass attempt is huge, almost double.

If this doesn’t show the early difference between the Matt Canada approach and the old Miles-Cameron approach, I’m not sure what does.

Defense

On defense, LSU was better against Chattanooga. Oddly enough, both Jacksonville State and Chattanooga took the lead first with field goals. They also both started the game off with time consuming drives.

  Opponents’ Yards Per Play Opponents’ Yards Per Rush Attempt Opponents’ Yards Per Pass Attempt
Jacksonville St. 5.33 3.5 7.1
Chattanooga 4.10 2.5 5.4

 

Jacksonville was far better at passing and better at running.

Aranda’s system seems to be more thoroughly installed now, which is probably one reason was Chattanooga was so stifled.

Finally, LSU had way more first downs and one more turnover against Chattanooga than against Jacksonville State.

  First Down Differential Turnover Differential
Jacksonville St. +1 +1
Chattanooga +10 +2

 

In sum, these charts reflect a more organized, more prepared, and better LSU performance. Jacksonville State might have been better than Chattanooga, and maybe LSU just played better last night than last year.

But still, the Tigers have so far looked better under early Orgeron than they did under late Miles. This is especially true of the passing game, which appears to actually function when it is needed.

 

 

 

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