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Terps Defense on Third Downs

Unfortunately, because I couldn't easily locate play-by-play from the 2006 season, I couldn't do this as thoroughly as I'd hoped, but here's what I could find in response to the perceived problems of the Terps' defense on third downs, particularly third and long.

So here's how Maryland's opponents have fared on third downs since the beginning of the 2007 season, both overall and in third-and-longs (I defined "long" as seven or more yards, obviously arbitrary).

2008 Season
Opponent......................All Third Downs......Third and Longs
Delaware (W)................4-12........................0-2
Mid. Tenn. State (L)......8-20........................1-9
California (W)................2-11........................2-7
Eastern Michigan (W)....2-12........................1-7

2007 Season
Opponent.....................All Third Downs.....Third and Longs
Villanova (W)................6-13......................3-8
Fla. International (W)....1-10......................0-7
West Virginia (L)...........6-11......................4-6
Wake Forest (L)...........6-15......................2-2
Rutgers (W)..................3-13......................1-6
Georgia Tech (W).........9-17......................2-8
Virginia (L)....................5-14......................2-6
Clemson (L)..................8-15......................0-3
North Carolina (L).........3-13......................1-7
Boston College (W).......11-17....................6-9
Florida State (L)............2-12......................1-6
N.C. State (W)...............1-13.....................0-10
Oregon State (L)...........7-15.....................1-5

take what you wish from this. Obviously these are totals, so a meaningless stop after the outcome was decided counted just as much as a key third-quarter play. (One Note: A first down achieved by penalty counts as neither a conversion nor a third-down; it's essentially like a walk in baseball. So while a pass-interference penalty on third down is just as ulcer-inducing as a completed pass, it is not reflected in this data. I didn't keep track of these as I went through the play-by-plays; I noticed a few, but not enough to be statistically significant.)

Here are the breakdowns by wins and losses, which doesn't show as big of a gap as I would have expected. If I can track down 2006 play by plays, I'll figure those in as well.

.....................All Third Downs.......Third and Longs
Wins (9)........39-118 (33.1%).......15-64 (23.4%)
Losses (8).....45-115 (39.1%).......12-44 (27.3%)

By Matthew Rennie  |  September 24, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Comments

Great post. I'm pretty shocked actually you can't really draw much correlation between opponents 3rd downs and winning and losing. Of course maybe thats the point. The wins and losses are falling on the offensive side fo the ball not the defensive side...

Posted by: Lee | September 25, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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