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Drive Charting: First Four Games

Oct 3, 2012, 6:33 AM EDT

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The Irish are off to a 4-0 start and rank among the nation’s leaders in several statistical categories. Notre Dame ranks first in total touchdowns surrendered (3), third in points surrendered per game (9.0), fourth in turnover margin per game (+2.25), and the Irish are the only FBS team in the country that has yet to trail in a game this season. On top of that, according to the FEI ratings, no other undefeated team has played a tougher schedule to date.

The pair of charts above illustrate Notre Dame’s offensive and defensive success by first down series through the first four games of the season. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Irish opponents have had 70 first down series start on the opponent’s own side of the 50-yard line, and only two of those opportunities led to a touchdown.
  • On first down series started at least 30 yards from the end zone, Notre Dame opponents have been nearly seven times more likely to turn the ball over at the conclusion of the drive than score a touchdown.
  • The Irish offense has had nearly three times as many first downs series start at or inside the opponent’s 20-yard line than it has faced defensively in that area of the field.
  • Notre Dame’s offensive touchdown rate following first down series in the red zone is more than twice as strong as the first down red zone touchdown rate of its opponents.

Brian Fremeau (’99) is a college football writer, stats analyst, and data visualization designer. His work regularly appears at ESPN Insider, ESPN the Magazine, Football Outsiders, and on his own site, BCF Toys. He develops and publishes numerous possession-based statistics including the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a college football rating system based on opponent-adjusted drive efficiency. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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