Winning Plays - Clemson | Syracusefan.com

Winning Plays - Clemson

SWC75

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This season I will once again be charting Syracuse’s games in terms of “winning plays”. I look at the results of each play and decide which team got the minimum they wanted out of the play. Rather than making instinctive judgments, I use a formula:

- On first down, the offensive team wants to get at least a third of the way to a new first down: they will have two more plays before they might have to surrender the ball and if they gain that same amount of yards on each of those two plays, they’ll get the first down. If they don’t make it a third of the way to a new first down, the defense won the play.
- On second down, the offense wants to get at least halfway to a new first down by the same logic.
- On third and fourth down, they want to get the first down.
- Penalties, if added onto a play by the referees, are added on to the results above. If the offense gains 5 yards on first down but there was holding and they lost yardage instead, the defense won the play. If a running back made a 25 yard run on first and ten and the holding was 20 yards downfield, turning it into a 5 yard gain, that’s still a win for the offense. If the defense is penalized and it’s tacked on, again the net result is what is evaluated. The penalties I’ve listed negated the play entirely and are a “loss” for the penalized team and thus a win for their opponent.
- If a penalty was not tacked onto a play, it’s a lost play for the team being penalized. I'll count them separate from the other plays from scrimmage because I don't know if the intended play before the penalty would have been a run or a pass - so I wouldn't know where to put it in the chart below.
- A turnover is, obviously, a win for the team that wound up with the ball.
- On a kick-off a touchback brings the ball out to the 25 yard line. Teams still seem to be trying to kick the ball into the end zone and avoid a runback if they can, so any kick-off that results in the receiving team starting between their goal line and their 25 is a win for the kicking team. Beyond that, the receiving team wins.
- On a punt, a touchback takes the ball out of the 20. So any punt that results in the other team taking over from their goal line to their 20 is a win for the punting team. If the next change in field position is at least 40 yards, the punting team has also won the play.
- A successful place kick is, obviously, a win for the kicking team.
- Any play that results in a touchdown is, obviously, a win for that team that scores it.
- A “victory play” where a team accepts a loss just to let the clock run out, is a win for the offensive team.

I will indicate in parenthesis how many yards there were to go to get a new first down, (if other than 10), unless it was for no gain or negative yardage. If it was a touchdown, (“TD)” a scramble/sack (“S”) a victory play (“V”) or involved a penalty (P). I’ll treat a scramble or a sack as a passing play as the Cuse.com play by play now tells you when it’s either of those two. 1R means first down running plays. 1P means first down passing plays, etc.

I have decided to list the “Big Plays” at the bottom of each team’s summary. A big play is a play from scrimmage of over 20 yards, (or 20+ yards lost), kickoff returns of +25 yards, punt returns of +20, blocked kicks, missed kicks, and takeovers on fumbles, interceptions and downs.

When Syracuse had the ball:

Drive Starts: S25, S25, S23, S25, S20, S12, S25, S25, S36, S34, C42, S9, S25, S5 = 347/14 = S24 with 1053 yards to go

KO: C25, C25, C25
Total: Syracuse 3 Clemson 0
P: 31(p) to 50, 57 to C18, 49 to C12, 40 to C20, 38 to C20
Total: Syracuse 4 Clemson 1
FG: No Good from 57
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 1
XP: Good, Good
Total: Syracuse 2 Clemson 0
Kicking plays total: Syracuse 9 Clemson 2

1r: 6, Fumble, Fumble, 8, 10, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 1
Total: Syracuse 4 Clemson 7
1p: -7(s), 0, I, I, I, I, I, I, 8, -6(s), I, 4, Interception, I
Total: Syracuse 2 Clemson 12
First Down Total: Syracuse 6 Clemson 19
2r: 3(4), 0, 8, 5, 5, 1(2), 4(8), -4, I, 2(3), 1, 5(9)
Total: Syracuse 8 Clemson 4
2p: -4(s), 37(20), I, I, 14(16), 35(6), 8(6), 9
Total: Syracuse 7 Clemson 3
Second Down Total: Syracuse 15 Clemson 7
3r: 2(1), 5(21), 12(5), 3(1), 7(13),6(2), 3(1), 15(9)
Total: Syracuse 6 Clemson 2
3p: 12, 28TD, 10(15), I, I, -4(s), -8(s), 6TD, 2(9), 15(9)
Total: Syracuse 3 Clemson 6
Third Down Total: Syracuse 9 Clemson 8
4r: none
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 0
4p: I
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 1
Fourth Down Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 1

Total on running plays: Syracuse 18 Clemson 13
Total on passing plays: Syracuse 12 Clemson 21
Total on plays from scrimmage: Syracuse 30 Clemson 34

Penalties not tacked on to plays: -10, -5, +12, -5, +10 Syracuse Clemson

Game total when Syracuse had the ball: Syracuse 42 Clemson 38

Big Plays (5): 37 yd pass, 28yd TD pass, Sack on 4th down, Fumble recovery, 35 yd pass,


When Clemson had the ball:

Drive Starts: C45, 50, S3, C25, C18, C39, C16, C25, C12, C20, C20, C25, S32, 50 = 560/14 = C40 with 840 to go.

KO: S25, S25, S25, S25, S25, S25
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 6
P: 22(p) to S28, 39 to S20, 49 to S36, 44 to S34, 34 to S9, 41 to SU 5
Total: Syracuse 1 Clemson 5
FG: No Good from 42, Good from 38
Total: Syracuse 1 Clemson 1
XP: Good, Good, Good, Good
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 4
Kicking plays total: Syracuse 2 Clemson 16

1r: 8, 2, 1(3), 3, 1, 5, 1, 23, 4, -2, 5, 3, -5, 2, 9, 5, 32TD, 5
Total: Syracuse 9 Clemson 9
1p: 4, 7, I, 2, I, 47Td, 14, 47, I, 2, Fumble, -1, -1, 16(15),
Total: Syracuse 6 Clemson 6
First Down Total: Syracuse 15 Clemson 15
2r: 10(2), 1(8), 2TD, 2(9), 2(5), 2, 3, 17(1), -1, 0
Total: Syracuse 3 Clemson 7
2p: I, I, 11(7), 8, I, I, I, (6), I, 8(12), -8, I, 18(12), -1(s)
Total: Syracuse 9 Clemson 5
Second Down Total: Syracuse 12 Clemson 12
3r: -2, 4(2), 0, 0, -1
Total: Syracuse 1 Clemson 4
3p: 14TD, -9(s), 9(5), 16(7), I, 14, 27(4), I, I, 19(12), I
Total: Syracuse 5 Clemson 6
Third Down Total: Syracuse 6 Clemson 10
4r: none
Total: Syracuse 0 Clemson 0
4p: -7(s)
Total: Syracuse 1 Clemson 0
Fourth Down Total: Syracuse 1 Clemson 0

Total on running plays: Syracuse 13 Clemson 20
Total on passing plays: Syracuse 21 Clemson 17
Total on plays from scrimmage: Syracuse 34 Clemson 37

Penalties not tacked on to plays: +16, -5, +5, +15, -5, -5 +5 Syracuse Clemson

Game total when Clemson had the ball: Syracuse 38 Clemson 57

Big Plays (8): Fumble recovery, Fumble recovery, 23 yd run, 47 yd TD pass, 27yd TD pass, Interception, 32 yd TD run, Incomplete pass on 4th down.

Overall Game Total: Syracuse 81 Clemson 95

Comments: It’s always tough to beat Clemson but it’s especially tough if they average starting on their 40 and we average starting on our 24. The turnovers were, of course, huge but some punts put us on our 12, our 9 and our 5. Our punter averaged 51 yards and their 42 and Clemson had no punt return yards so it wasn’t the kicking game. The Tigers just advanced more when they were on offense and typically were punting from midfield.

Normally the most productive down to throw on is first down because the likelihood of running is the greatest, (depending on the down and distance after that). Against Clemson all of our eight first down passes were unsuccessful: six incompletions, one catch stopped at the line of scrimmage and a sack. We wound up 2-12 on first down passes. Overall, we were 6-19 on first down. That’s no way to beat Clemson. We were 15-7 on second down. Go Figure.

This was a -14 game (81-95). These are the closest games to that in Dino Babers Era:
2016 Syracuse 98 Notre Dame 111 = -13 We lost 33-50
2016 Syracuse 107 Pittsburgh 118 = -11 We lost 61-76
2018 Syracuse 86 Clemson 102 = -16 We lost 23-27
2018 Syracuse 86 Notre Dame 99 = -13 We lost 3-36
2020 Syracuse 78 Pittsburgh 89 = -11 We lost 10-21
2020 Syracuse 77 Liberty 93 = -16 We lost 21-38
2021 Syracuse 79 Florida State 90 = -11 We lost 30-33
2022 Syracuse 88 Virginia 99 = -11 We won 22-20

Here are Dino’s results against Clemson:
2016 Syracuse 74 Clemson 120 = -46 We lost 0-54
2017 Syracuse 95 Clemson 97= -2 We won 27-24
2018 Syracuse 86 Clemson 102= -16 We lost 23-27
2019 Syracuse 77 Clemson 113 = -36 We lost 6-41
2020 Syracuse 72 Clemson 112 = -40 We lost 21-47
2021 Syracuse 79 Clemson 99 = -20 We lost 14-17
2022 Syracuse 77 Clemson 102 = -25 We lost 21-27
2023 Syracuse 81 Clemson 95 = -14 We lost 14-31
 
TOTALS FOR THE YEAR

When SYRACUSE had the ball:

Drive Starts:
564/14 = SU 40 with 836 yards to go
301/12 = SU 25 with 899 yards to go
326/12 = SU 27 with 874 yards to go
443/12 = SU 37 with 757 yards to go
347/14 = SU 24 with 1,054 yards to go
1,981/64 = SU 31 with 4,420 yards to go

KO: 11-0 + 6-1 + 6-0 + 6-1 + 3-0 = 32-2
P: 1-0 + 4-0 + 1-2 + 3-0 + 4-1 = 13-3
FG: 1-0 + 2-0 + 0-1 + 3-0 + 0-1 = 6-2
XP: 8-1 + 6-0 + 5-0 + 2-1 + 2-0 = 23-2
Kicking plays total: 21-1 + 18-1 + 12-3 + 14-2 + 9-2 = 74-9

1r: 14-14 + 7-11 + 12-9 + 10-7 + 4-7 = 47-48
1p: 11-3 + 7-9 + 4-9 + 9-2 + 2-12 = 33-35
First Down Total: 25-17 + 14-20 + 16-18 + 19-9 + 6-19 = 80-83
2r: 12-5 + 8-3 + 5-4 + 10-6 + 8-4 = 43-22
2p: 7-5 + 5-9 + 7-6 + 3-2 + 7-3 = 29-25
Second Down Total: 19-10 + 13-12 + 12-10 + 13-8 + 15-7 = 72-47
3r: 4-2 + 2-1 + 5-0 + 0-4 + 6-2 = 17-9
3p: 7-4 + 5-5 + 2-5 + 3-4 + 3-6 = 20-24
Third Down Total: 11-6 + 7-6 + 7-5 + 3-8 + 9-8 = 37-33
4r: 0-1 + 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 0-0 = 0-2
4p: 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-0 + 0-1 = 1-2
Fourth Down Total: 0-1 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-1 + 0-1 = 1-4

Total on running plays: 30-22 + 17-15 + 22-13 + 20-18 + 18-13 = 107-81
Total on passing plays: 25-12 + 17-23 + 13-21 + 16-8 + 12-21 = 83-85
Total on plays from scrimmage: 55-34 + 34-38 + 35-34 + 36-26 + 30-34 = 190-166

Penalties not tacked on to plays: 0-2 + 4-4 + 6-1 + 0-2 + 3-2 = 16-13

Game total when SYRACUSE had the ball: 76-37 + 56-43 + 53-38 + 50-30 + 42-38 = 277-183

Big Plays: 12 + 8 + 13 + 8 + 5 = 46

When OPPONENT had the ball:

Drive Starts:
399/16 = Colgate 25 with 1,201 yards to go
316/12 = W Michigan 26 with 884 yards to go
325/11 = Purdue 30 with 775 yards to go
266/11 = Army 24 with 834 yards to go
560/14 = Clemson 40 with 840 yards to go
1,866/64 = Opposition 29 with 4,534 yards to go

KO: 0-1 + 2-0 + 0-4 + 1-3 + 0-6 = 3-14
P: 3-6 + 1-5 + 0-2 + 2-3 + 1-5 = 7-21
FG: 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-1 = 1-2
XP: 0-0 + 0-1 + 0-3 + 1-1 + 0-4 = 1-9
Kicking plays total: 3-7 + 3-6 + 0-9 + 4-8 + 2-16 = 12-46

1r: 14-6 + 13-1 + 9-9 + 7-7 + 9-9 = 52-32
1p: 1-1 + 6-5 + 9-11 + 8-3 + 6-6 = 30-26
First Down Total: 15-7 + 19-6 + 18-20 + 15-10 + 15-15 = 82-58
2r: 3-3 + 2-4 + 3-4 + 4-8 + 3-7 = 15-26
2p: 9-3 + 9-10 + 8-9 + 5-4 + 9-5 = 40-31
Second Down Total: 12-6 + 11-14 + 11-13 + 9-12 + 12-12 = 55-57
3r: 4-2 + 2-1 + 3-1 + 4-8 + 1-4 = 14-16
3p: 9-1 + 11-5 + 4-3 + 2-3 + 5-6 = 31-18
Third Down Total: 13-3 + 13-6 + 7-4 + 6-11 + 6-10 = 45-34
4r: 0-0 + 0-0 + 1-0 + 0-3 + 0-0 = 1-3
4p: 1-0 + 4-1 + 2-1 + 1-0 + 1-0 = 9-2
Fourth Down Total: 1-0 + 4-1 + 3-1 + 1-3 + 1-0 = 10-5

Total on running plays: 21-11 + 17-6 + 16-14 + 15-26 + 13-20 = 82-77
Total on passing plays: 20-5 + 30-21 + 23-24 + 16-10 + 21-17 = 110-77
Total on plays from scrimmage: 41-16 + 47-27 + 39-38 + 31-36 + 34-37 = 192-154

Penalties not tacked on to plays: 6-2 + 3-0 + 4-3 + 2-0 + 3-4 = 18-9

Game total when OPPONENT had the ball: 50-25 + 53-33 + 43-50 + 37-44 + 39-57 = 222-209

Big Plays: 4 + 3 + 7 + 4 = 18

Overall Game Total: 126-62 + 109-76 + 96-88 + 87-74 + 81-95 = 499-395

Comments: My perception and I think that of many others is that our defense, (222-209) is better than our offense, (277-183). I’m glad it’s an open question. I think the offense can get much better. I’m not sure the defense can. But they may not need to.

We’ve kicked the ball 83 times and got what we wanted out of it 74 times. Our opposition has kicked the ball just 58 times and seen it go wrong 12 of those times.

We’ve 4-1 but are 47-48 in first down runs. That isn’t dominating. But 60-31 is. That was our rate of winning second and third down runs. I guess the greater threat of a pass after first down loosened up the defense. Where we are really dominating is on defense: 52-32 on first down runs. We’re also pretty good at third down passes, 31-18. Those are two very good downs to dominate.

If we keep up a ratio of 46 big plays to 26, nobody is beating us. Unfortunately, against Clemson, we were 5-8.
 
HISTORICAL WINNING PLAYS (Babers Era – game totals only)

2016
Syracuse 101 Colgate 74 = +27
Syracuse 99 Louisville 132 = -33
Syracuse 95 South Florida 116 = -21
Syracuse 91 Connecticut 99 = -8
Syracuse 98 Notre Dame 111 = -13
Syracuse 72 Wake Forest 101 = -29
Syracuse 103 Virginia Tech 104 = -1
Syracuse 93 Boston College 84 = +9
Syracuse 74 Clemson 120 = -46
Syracuse 71 North Carolina State 103 = -32
Syracuse 71 Florida State 120 = -49
Syracuse 107 Pittsburgh 118 = -11
TOTAL: Syracuse 1075 Opponent 1282 = -207 We 'won' 2 of 12 games.

2017
Syracuse 132 Central Connecticut 65 = +67
Syracuse 104 Middle Tennessee 98 = +6
Syracuse 107 Central Michigan 100 = +7
Syracuse 80 Louisiana State 103 = -23
Syracuse 93 North Carolina State 112 = -19
Syracuse 97 Pittsburgh 96 = +1
Syracuse 95 Clemson 97= -2
Syracuse 86 Miami 119 = -33
Syracuse 90 Florida State 108 = -18
Syracuse 120 Wake Forest 125 = -5
Syracuse 96 Louisville 100 = -4
Syracuse 77 Boston College 87 = -10
TOTAL: Syracuse 1177 Opponents 1210 = -33 We ‘won’ 4 of12 games

2018
Syracuse 109 Western Michigan 96 = +13
Syracuse 139 Wagner 65 = +74
Syracuse 113 Florida State 77 = +36
Syracuse 109 Connecticut 83 = +26
Syracuse 86 Clemson 102= -16
Syracuse 99 Pittsburgh 97 = +2
Syracuse 113 North Carolina 115 = -2
Syracuse 113 North Carolina State 96 = +17
Syracuse 117 Wake Forest 107 = +10
Syracuse 124 Louisville 83 = +41
Syracuse 86 Notre Dame 99 = -13
Syracuse 110 Boston College 96 = +14
Syracuse 116 West Virginia 79 +37
TOTAL: Syracuse 1434 Opponents 1195 = +239 We ‘won’ 10 of 13 games

2019
Syracuse 104 Liberty 84 = +20
Syracuse 82 Maryland 112 = -30
Syracuse 77 Clemson 113 = -36
Syracuse 113 Western Michigan 99 =+14
Syracuse 110 Holy Cross 67 = +43
Syracuse 78 North Carolina State 100 = -22
Syracuse 92 Pittsburgh 114 = -22
Syracuse 96 Florida State 115 = -19
Syracuse 76 Boston College 119 = -43
Syracuse 107 Duke 78 = +29
Syracuse 85 Louisville 104 = -19
Syracuse 118 Wake Forest 111 = +7
TOTAL: Syracuse 1138 Opponents 1216 = -78 We ‘won’ 5 of 12 games

2020
Syracuse 70 North Carolina 114 = -44
Syracuse 78 Pittsburgh 89 = -11
Syracuse 108 Georgia Tech 102 = +6
Syracuse 79 Duke 114 = -35
Syracuse 77 Liberty 93 = -16
Syracuse 72 Clemson 112 = -40
Syracuse 76 Wake Forest 99 = -23
Syracuse 68 Boston College 96 = -28
Syracuse 76 Louisville 81 = -5
Syracuse 76 North Carolina State 108 = -32
Syracuse 82 Notre Dame 100 = -18
TOTAL: Syracuse 862 Opponents 1108 = -248 We ‘won’ 1 of 11 games

2021
Syracuse 86 Ohio U. 63 = +23
Syracuse 64 Rutgers 101 = -37
Syracuse 103 Albany 69 = +34
Syracuse 79 Liberty 83 = -4
Syracuse 79 Florida State 90 = -11
Syracuse 102 Wake Forest 92 = +10
Syracuse 79 Clemson 99 = -20
Syracuse 90 Virginia Tech 94 = -4
Syracuse 86 Boston College 79 = +7
Syracuse 56 Louisville 91 = -35
Syracuse 65 North Carolina State 88 = -23
Syracuse 67 Pittsburgh 95 = -28
TOTAL: Syracuse 956 opponents 1044 = -88 We ‘won’ 4 of 12 games

2022
Syracuse 92 Louisville 73 = +19
Syracuse 96 Connecticut 59 = +37
Syracuse 99 Purdue 92 = +7
Syracuse 88 Virginia 99 = -11
Syracuse 103 Wagner 28 = +75
Syracuse 89 North Carolina State 65 = +24
Syracuse 77 Clemson 102 = -25
Syracuse 66 Notre Dame 113 = -47
Syracuse 66 Pittsburgh 95 = -29
Syracuse 59 Florida State 100 = -41
Syracuse 82 Wake Forest 114 = -32
Syracuse 107 Boston College 79 = +28
Syracuse 85 Minnesota 84 = +1 We ‘won’ 7 of 13 games
TOTAL: Syracuse 1,109 opponents 1,103 = +6

2023
Syracuse 126 Colgate 62 = +64
Syracuse 109 Western Michigan 76 = +33
Syracuse 96 Purdue 88 = +8
Syracuse 87 Army 74 = +13
Syracuse 81 Clemson 95 = -14 We’ve won 4 of 5 games.
TOTAL: Syracuse 499 Opponents 395 = +104
Totals since 2016: Syracuse has won 8,250 plays, (49.1%) and 36 games, (39.6%). The opposition has won 8,553 plays and 55 games. They’ve obtained their goals on 303 more plays than we have in 91 games, an average of 3.3 plays a game.
 
Steve, your analysis seems to confirm what many have commented on which is that it appeared that we played Clemson much tougher than the last few years even thought the score doesnt indicate it.

I was one of those that thought our talent looked closer to Clemson than ever and the score was exasperated by the To's and missed opps.
 

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