No doubt 2017 won Week 5 – None . . . end of discussion.
2017 has begun to fulfill on the field the enormous potential it possessed on paper. The Syracuse game was close, but it was due to the usual culprits – an I-have-no-idea-how-to-stop-the-other-team’s-receivers secondary and a Jekyll and Hyde (mostly Hyde) kicking game. I recommend we move Chubb to cornerback and Jones to safety on passing downs, although it may slightly reduce Chubb’s sack totals.
Let’s look at the numbers (if you are pulling for 2005, here’s where you will want to look away).
Week 5 Individual Stats:
Best D-Line Week 5 Individual
In every category, 2017 outshone 2005. Obviously, the TFLs and Sacks are the key metrics, and they are not really close. An interesting observation, as you will see below in the Team stats, 2005 faced 11 more rush attempts than 2017, yet had 12 fewer total tackles (18 v 30).
Week 5 Team Stats:
Best D-Line Week 5 Team
The Clemson run game brutalized our 2005 D-Line to the tune of 243 yards and an astonishing 5.93 YPC. Although both lines gave up 2 rushing TDs, 2017 allowed a paltry 1.97 YPC . . . almost 4 yards less every running snap.
Week 5 Cumulative Stats:
Best D-Line Week 5 Cumulative
The cumulative results have suddenly flip-flopped in the direction of 2017, as they now lead in every category except TFLs (although even that metric is essentially a tie). 2017 has more than twice as many sacks, has given up 2 less TDs, and is allowing almost a half yard less YPC.
While a domineering Week 5 performance has turned the tide towards 2017, for all of you 2005 aficionados, no need to get too down just yet. For 2005, the Clemson debacle was their worst performance of the year. In subsequent weeks, as we will see going forward, they had some dominating games . . . 2017 cannot afford to rest on their mid-season laurels.
Regarding opponent quality, these comparisons are sometimes challenging as we don’t know how Syracuse’s season will turn out, but their results have been less than stellar. After LSU’s puzzling home loss to Troy (for which LSU paid Troy $985K for the privilege of getting beat), Syracuse playing LSU close last week doesn’t garner the Orange any street cred.
Clemson was 2-3 overall coming into the 2005 game and 1-3 in the conference. However, their record was somewhat misleading. They beat #17 Texas A&M in the opener (and Maryland on the road), then suffered three consecutive losses (one in 3OT and another one in OT). Beating State 31-10 in Carter-Finley started them on a stretch that would lead to an 8-4 (4-4) record, including a Citrus Bowl victory over Colorado and a final ranking of #21.
You would have a good argument that 2005 faced a superior opponent than 2017, but not enough to justify the significant statistical advantage achieved by 2017, considering Syracuse’s offensive prowess.
Given the exceedingly eye-popping results earned by 2017 in relationship to 2005, this week’s victor is clearly 2017 . . . and although it is a team game, and therefore the D-Line is not the single determinant of wins and losses, 2017 did win a trap game against a dangerous offensive opponent, while 2005 was manhandled in defeat.
Week 6 Sneak Preview
As noted in the initial paragraph in the Summary above, 2017 will need to bring their A++ game going forward to maintain the lead. The 2005 D-Line produced a very strong statistical performance @ Wake, while 2017 awaits an offensive juggernaut in Louisville with reigning Heisman Winner, Lamar Jackson.