Winning Plays vs. North Carolina | Syracusefan.com

Winning Plays vs. North Carolina

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: SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 16, SU 25, SU 27 = 268/11 = SU 24 with 832 yards to go

KO: NC 25, NC 25
Total: Syracuse 2 North Carolina 0
P: 39 to NC 20, 46 to NC 18, 40 to NC 5, 48 to NC 23, 31 to NC 17, 36 to NC 25
Total: Syracuse 5 North Carolina 1
FG: none
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0
XP: Good
Total: Syracuse 1 North Carolina 0
Kicking plays total: Syracuse 8 North Carolina 1

1r: 9, 4, 2, 0, 2, -1v, 4, 2, 11, 4, 22(p), 1, 2
Total: Syracuse 7 North Carolina 6
1p: 6, 0, I, 1(15), 13, 5(1), 5, 5, Interception
Total: Syracuse 5 North Carolina 4
First Down Total: Syracuse 12 North Carolina 10
2r: 5, 1TD, 8(8), 4(5), 0, 14(15), 3(8)
Total: Syracuse 5 North Carolina 2
2p: I, -1, 7(12), 13, 13(4), 9(8), 8(25), I, 4(6), 11(9), 1(6), I
Total: Syracuse 6 North Carolina 6
Second Down Total: Syracuse 11 North Carolina 7
3r: 4(1), 1(5), 0, 0, 3(1)
Total: Syracuse 2 North Carolina 3
3p: I, -7(s), 34(14), 18(2), Interception
Total: Syracuse 2 North Carolina 3
Third Down Total: Syracuse 4 North Carolina 6
4r: none
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0
4p: none
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0
Fourth Down Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0

Total on running plays: Syracuse 14 North Carolina 11
Total on passing plays: Syracuse 13 North Carolina 13
Total on plays from scrimmage: Syracuse 27 North Carolina 24

Penalties not tacked on to plays: -15, -5, -4, -10 Syracuse 0 North Carolina 4

Game total when Syracuse had the ball: Syracuse 35 North Carolina 29

Big Plays (3): 34yd pass, Fumble, 22 yd run (p)


When North Carolina had the ball:

Drive Starts: NC 25, NC 20, NC 23, NC 5, NC 23, NC 25, NC 17, SU 36, NC 25, SU 26 = 301/10 = NC 30 with 699 yards to go.

KO: SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25, SU 25
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 8
P: Blocked but recovered by NC and returned for a first down, (per refs)
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 1
FG: Good from 29, Good from 24, Good from 36, Good from 31
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 4
XP: Good, Good, Good, Good
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0
Kicking plays total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 17

1r: 0, 4(5), 9, 3, 4, 12, 4, 3, -1, -8(p), 9, 5, 3, 1
Total: Syracuse 7 North Carolina 7
1p: 7, I, I, 6, I, 3, 13, 6, I, 7, I, 17, 23TD, I, 5, 48, 1TD, 28, I, 5, 7, 9(25), 32, 18(8), 8, 9, 5, 6, -2, I
Total: Syracuse 10 North Carolina 20
First Down Total: Syracuse 17 North Carolina 27
2r: 9(3), 9, 3, 9(9), 6(3), 1TD, 6(1), 6(5), 6, 3(6), 7(7), 2, 4(2), 10(5), 3(4), 0, 8(5), 1
Total: Syracuse 4 North Carolina 14
2p: 8, &(4), I, 6(7), 17, 11, I, -2(s), 18(6), I, I, 1, I, I
Total: Syracuse 8 North Carolina 6
Second Down Total: Syracuse 12 North Carolina 20
3r: 17(1), 4(2), 3(1), 8(3), 7(3), 0, Fumble, 1(1), -2, -2
Total: Syracuse 4 North Carolina 6
3p: -3(s), -6(p), 8(7), 15(12), I, 6(5), 13(16), 77TD, 9(2)
Total: Syracuse 4 North Carolina 5
Third Down Total: Syracuse 8 North Carolina 11
4r: none
Total: Syracuse 0 North Carolina 0
4p: I
Total: Syracuse 1 North Carolina 0
Fourth Down Total: Syracuse 1 North Carolina 0

Total on running plays: Syracuse 15 North Carolina 27
Total on passing plays: Syracuse 23 North Carolina 31
Total on plays from scrimmage: Syracuse 38 North Carolina 58

Penalties not tacked on to plays: -5, +8, -15, -5, +6 Syracuse 3 North Carolina 2

Game total when North Carolina had the ball: Syracuse 41 North Carolina 77

Big Plays (7): 23TD pass, 48yd pass, 28 yd pass, 32 yd pass, 77yd TD pass, Interception, Interception

Overall Game Total: Syracuse 76 North Carolina 106

Comment: My impression watching the game is that both our offense and our defense were totally overwhelmed. Actually, we won 35 plays to 29 when we had the ball. The problem was that we couldn’t consistently gain yardage or make big plays. We had some god plays but not a run of them except for that first drive of the second half. North Carolina, on the other hand could mover incrementally down the field, (not unlike Army, (except they could do it with passes as well as runs), and they had several explosive plays to boot. They also intercepted two passes and got huge breaks on that blocked punt and the tipped pass. As a result they had the ball for 97 plays and 37:16 to our 51 and 22:44.

And that’s why it made no sense to punt on 4th and 6 from the UNC 48 down by 23 with 18 minutes to go: we could not stop their offense. It didn’t matter what their field position was. We’d punted to their 5 earlier in the game and they put on a 95 yard drive to go. It was a Shaferesque decision. And, on this occasion they got the ball on the 17, so we only gained 31 yards of field position by punting.

People argue about whether you have to use the run to set up the pass or can you use the pass to set up the run. UNC had 28 first down plays in the first half and 22 of them were passes.

This was a -30 game, (76-106). These are the most similar games in the Dino Baber Era:
2016 Syracuse 72 Wake Forest 101 = -29 SU lost 9-28
2016 Syracuse 71 North Carolina State 103 = -32 SU lost 20-35
2019 Syracuse 82 Maryland 112 = -30 SU lost 20-63
2020 Syracuse 68 Boston College 96 = -28 SU lost 13-16
2020 Syracuse 76 North Carolina State 108 = -32 SU lost 29-36
2021 Syracuse 67 Pittsburgh 95 = -28 SU lost 14-31
2022 Syracuse 66 Pittsburgh 95 = -29 SU lost 9-19
2022 Syracuse 82 Wake Forest 114 = -32 SU lost 35-45
You can keep a game like this close if you make some big plays and get the breaks. What you can’t do is win them.
 
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
268/11 = SU 24 with 832 yards to go
2,249/75 = SU 30 with 5,252 yards to go

KO: 11-0 + 6-1 + 6-0 + 6-1 + 3-0 + 2-0 = 34-2
P: 1-0 + 4-0 + 1-2 + 3-0 + 4-1 + 5-1 = 18-4
FG: 1-0 + 2-0 + 0-1 + 3-0 + 0-1 + 0-0 = 6-2
XP: 8-1 + 6-0 + 5-0 + 2-1 + 2-0 + 1-0 = 24-2
Kicking plays total: 21-1 + 18-1 + 12-3 + 14-2 + 9-2 + 8-1 = 82-10

1r: 14-14 + 7-11 + 12-9 + 10-7 + 4-7 + 7-6 = 54-54
1p: 11-3 + 7-9 + 4-9 + 9-2 + 2-12 + 5-4 = 38-39
First Down Total: 25-17 + 14-20 + 16-18 + 19-9 + 6-19 + 12-10 = 92-93
2r: 12-5 + 8-3 + 5-4 + 10-6 + 8-4 + 5-2 = 48-24
2p: 7-5 + 5-9 + 7-6 + 3-2 + 7-3 + 6-6 = 35-31
Second Down Total: 19-10 + 13-12 + 12-10 + 13-8 + 15-7 + 11-8 = 83-55
3r: 4-2 + 2-1 + 5-0 + 0-4 + 6-2 + 2-3 = 19-12
3p: 7-4 + 5-5 + 2-5 + 3-4 + 3-6 + 2-3 = 22-27
Third Down Total: 11-6 + 7-6 + 7-5 + 3-8 + 9-8 + 4-6 = 41-39
4r: 0-1 + 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 0-0 + 0-0 = 0-2
4p: 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-0 + 0-1 + 0-0 = 1-2
Fourth Down Total: 0-1 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-1 + 0-1 + 0-0 = 1-4

Total on running plays: 30-22 + 17-15 + 22-13 + 20-18 + 18-13 + 14-11 = 121-92
Total on passing plays: 25-12 + 17-23 + 13-21 + 16-8 + 12-21 + 13-13 = 96-98
Total on plays from scrimmage: 55-34 + 34-38 + 35-34 + 36-26 + 30-34 + 27-24 = 217-190

Penalties not tacked on to plays: 0-2 + 4-4 + 6-1 + 0-2 + 3-2 + 0-4 = 13-15

Game total when SYRACUSE had the ball: 76-37 + 56-43 + 53-38 + 50-30 + 42-38 + 35-29 = 312-215

Big Plays: 12 + 8 + 13 + 8 + 5 +3 = 49


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
301/10 = North Carolina 30 with 699 yards to go
2,167/74 = Opposition 29 with 5,233 yards to go

KO: 0-1 + 2-0 + 0-4 + 1-3 + 0-6 + 0-8 = 3-22
P: 3-6 + 1-5 + 0-2 + 2-3 + 1-5 + 0-1 = 7-22
FG: 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-0 + 0-1 + 1-1 + 0-4 = 1-6
XP: 0-0 + 0-1 + 0-3 + 1-1 + 0-4 + 0-4 = 1-13
Kicking plays total: 3-7 + 3-6 + 0-9 + 4-8 + 2-16 + 0-17 = 12-63

1r: 14-6 + 13-1 + 9-9 + 7-7 + 9-9 + 7-7 = 59-39
1p: 1-1 + 6-5 + 9-11 + 8-3 + 6-6 + 10-20 = 40-46
First Down Total: 15-7 + 19-6 + 18-20 + 15-10 + 15-15 + 17-27 = 99-85
2r: 3-3 + 2-4 + 3-4 + 4-8 + 3-7 + 4-14 = 19-40
2p: 9-3 + 9-10 + 8-9 + 5-4 + 9-5 + 8-6 = 48-37
Second Down Total: 12-6 + 11-14 + 11-13 + 9-12 + 12-12 + 12-20 = 67-77
3r: 4-2 + 2-1 + 3-1 + 4-8 + 1-4 + 4-6 = 18-22
3p: 9-1 + 11-5 + 4-3 + 2-3 + 5-6 + 4-5 = 35-23
Third Down Total: 13-3 + 13-6 + 7-4 + 6-11 + 6-10 + 8-11 = 53-45
4r: 0-0 + 0-0 + 1-0 + 0-3 + 0-0 + 0-0 = 1-3
4p: 1-0 + 4-1 + 2-1 + 1-0 + 1-0 + 1-0 = 10-2
Fourth Down Total: 1-0 + 4-1 + 3-1 + 1-3 + 1-0 + 1-0 = 11-5

Total on running plays: 21-11 + 17-6 + 16-14 + 15-26 + 13-20 + 15-27 = 97-104
Total on passing plays: 20-5 + 30-21 + 23-24 + 16-10 + 21-17 + 23-31 = 133-108
Total on plays from scrimmage: 41-16 + 47-27 + 39-38 + 31-36 + 34-37 + 38-58 = 230-212

Penalties not tacked on to plays: 6-2 + 3-0 + 4-3 + 2-0 + 3-4 + 3-2 = 21-11

Game total when OPPONENT had the ball: 50-25 + 53-33 + 43-50 + 37-44 + 39-57 + 41-77 = 263-286

Big Plays: 4 + 3 + 7 + 4 + 8 + 7 = 33

Overall Game Total: 126-62 + 109-76 + 96-88 + 87-74 + 81-95 + 76-106 = 575-501

Comments: My perception and I think that of many others is that our defense, (230-212) is better than our offense, (217-190). I’m glad it’s an open question. I think the offense can get much better. I’m not sure the defense can. Maybe there’s a natural advantage to an offense. That’s why points get scored.

We’ve kicked the ball 92 times and got what we wanted out of it 82 times, (89%). Our opposition has kicked the ball just 75 times and got what they wanted 63 times, (84%). Our advantage is virtually gone. Our advantage in field position has become a deficit, (5,252 yards to go vs. 5,233).

We’ve 4-2 but are 54-54 in first down runs. That isn’t dominating. But 48-24. That was our rate of winning second 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: 59-39 on first down runs. We’re also pretty good at third and fourth down passes, 45-25. Those are two very good downs to dominate.

If we keep up a ratio of 49 big plays to 33 we should do pretty well. But against Clemson and North Carolina it’s been 8-15.
 
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
Syracuse 76 North Carolina 106 We’ve won 4 of 6 games.
TOTAL: Syracuse 575 Opponents 501 = +74
Totals since 2016: Syracuse has won 8,326 plays, (49.0%) and 36 games, (39.1%). The opposition has won 8,679 plays and 56 games. They’ve obtained their goals on 333 more plays than we have in 92 games, an average of 3.6 plays a game.
 
that's a lot of math for me . i do know we had the tar heels pinned on the goal line 3rd and long and then let them escape and score. that was a big play.
 
that's a lot of math for me . i do know we had the tar heels pinned on the goal line 3rd and long and then let them escape and score. that was a big play.

I've already done the math. If the numbers are too much, just read the comments.
 

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