Leading up to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, TheCrunchZone.com is going to attempt to break down each phase of the game as best we can with the added time available. In the 1st edition we evaluated Texas A&M Passing Offense vs. Louisville Passing Defense……..and then QB Kyle Allen announced his transfer from Texas A&M a few days later. We’ll revisit that section as we get closer to the bowl.
For now, let’s take a look at what we can expect when Louisville passes the ball. How have the Cards fared against other passing defenses through the air AND how well has Texas A&M defended the pass over the course of the year? We will take a look at each FBS game, their opponent’s average, how far the deviation was in each game & the % gained of their opponent’s average. From there we should have a feel for how Louisville fared while passing and how the Aggies did defending it.
Louisville’s Passing Performance
|Passing Defense||Louisville Gained vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg|
Louisville comes into the Music City Bowl with the 44th Passing Offense in the nation at 246.6 yards per game after starting 3 different Quarterbacks during the 2015 season. For less than a half Reggie Bonnafon had the reigns, then Lamar Jackson, then Kyle Bolin, then Lamar Jackson, then Kyle Bolin…. now Lamar Jackson is the #1 again, perhaps for good.
It isn’t a bad thing to have options at QB particularly with the ability to attack different styles and strengths of individual defenses. But Louisville struggled getting consistent play with its signal callers. Just when it seemed that they’d figured it out with Lamar or Kyle a rough stretch or an injury would force a change. Additionally the Cards struggled to protect its quarterback which affected the offense overall.
Still, Louisville’s passing metrics were overall similar to what they were in 2014 and the Cards actually outpaced 7 of 11 FBS opponent’s passing averages. Louisville exceeded its opponents’ passing yardage allowed in losses to Clemson, Florida State & Pitt, but surprisingly UofL gained significantly lower passing yards than opponent’s allowed in WINS to NC State (rain) and Virginia.
Putting UofL’s performance against Texas A&M’s excellent 161.3 yards per game allowed through the air we can expect the Cards to throw for 188.12-193.15 yards vs. the Aggies.
Texas A&M Passing Defense Performance
|Passing Offense||Texas A&M Allowed vs.||Deviation from Avg.||% Gained of Avg|
|Arkansas -W (OT)||264.3||225||-39.3||85.13%|
|Miss St -W||311.1||210||-101.1||67.50%|
|Alabama – L||214.3||138||-76.3||64.40%|
|Ole Miss – L||333.7||241||-92.7||72.22%|
|South Carolina -W||207.5||192||-15.5||92.53%|
Texas A&M posted EXCELLENT passing defense numbers in 2015 which ended up being #4 in the nation at a stubborn 161.3 yards per game. It is important to remember the SEC West division: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU are all very much run-predicated defenses. Still even with that the Aggies are very good against the pass and have held all but ONE team UNDER it’s average on the season.
We’ll take another look at the other side of this equation but Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, and LSU all RAN OVER the Aggies and their passing offense didn’t need to challenge A&M in order to win EASILY.
The Cards throw for 246.6 yards per game and with A&M limiting offenses to just 71.44% or 67.03 of their average we can reasonably expect Louisville to throw for 176.17-179.57.
The expected ranges identified put Louisville’s passing offense at 176.17-193.15 on 12/30 vs. Texas A&M. In games that Louisville threw in this range or lower the Cards won 3 of 4 contests.
It’s safe to say that if Louisville is to beat Texas A&M that it is unlikely that it will do so with anymore than an adequate passing performance. Texas A&M is an outstanding passing defensive team, they are a not so great rushing defensive team. We’ll get to that later.