I expressed some curiosity in a comment a while back about how Georgia’s stats during the seven game winning streak might stack up against the season as a whole.
I did some number crunching, and the results are somewhat mixed in that there are several areas that didn’t show much change at all and some areas that did show something more dramatic.
Keep in mind that the second half of the season was more difficult than the first half. Georgia played only one team in the first six games that was ranked at the time (Alabama), one team that finished the season ranked (Tennessee) and its only 1-AA opponent (Western Carolina). By comparison, in their last seven games the Dawgs played four schools that were ranked opponents (Florida, Auburn, Kentucky and Hawaii) and three that finished the year ranked (Florida, Auburn and Hawaii).
Anyway, here are the numbers for the season and broken down between the first six and last seven games for the following statistical categories: points scored, points allowed, total offense, total defense, turnover margin and sacks. All statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.
- Points scored per game: 32.62 (season) 29.50 (first six) 35.29 (last seven)
- Points allowed per game: 20.15 (season) 20.17 (first six) 20.14 (last seven)
- Total offense (ypg): 375.62 (season) 361.83 (first six) 387.43 (last seven)
- Total defense (ypg): 323.23 (season) 321.17 (first six) 325 (last seven)
- Turnover margin: +9/.69pg (season) -1/-.14 pg (first six) +10/1.43 pg (last seven)
- Sacks: 42/3.23 pg (season) 9/1.5 pg (first six) 33/4.71 pg (last seven)
As you can see, on the defensive side of the ball, the changes in yardage and point totals range from modest to nonexistent. Offensive scoring improved noticeably – 35.29 points per game would have ranked 18th nationally if the Dawgs had maintained that pace all year (they actually finished tied for 34th) – while total offense increased just modestly.
The stat that jumps out is turnover margin. Georgia was in the plus column in six of the seven games it won to close out the year (-3 against Kentucky, in case you were wondering). That average of +1.43 per game had it been recorded over the course of the season would have ranked Georgia second nationally.
I threw the sack numbers out there for fun, as they were the only other statistical measurement that saw a sizeable improvement in the last seven games. The increase in sacks didn’t have a similar effect on defensive yardage or points allowed, though.
I don’t know if the statistical story matches up with the perception we have about how the team stepped up to close out the year. I would have thought there would have been a more dramatic improvement in the defensive numbers, although Georgia did face some fairly prolific offenses in the last seven games.
One last fun stat for consideration: assisted tackles. The Dawg defense went from 26.67 assisted tackles per game in the first six to 16.86 in the last seven. Solo tackles only increased by about 3.4 per game during that span. Is that an indication that fundamentals tightened up? That Rennie Curran was on the job? More incomplete passes? I have no idea. If you look back at the ’06 numbers, it appears that the first six games of this year were an anomaly. And check out the number of assisted tackles in the Georgia Tech game. That’s an astounding number.