With one of the most dominating performances in Wolfpack history, the 2005 D-Line not only won the game, earning bowl eligibility for the Pack, but essentially sounded the knell towards 2017 in our season-long journey to determine the all-time greatest Pack D-Line.
NOTE: John McCargo did not play in Week 11. I replaced him in the metrics analysis with Renaldo Moses, who was a key contributor in 2005, but not one of the top 5 D-Linemen otherwise. McCargo will return for the bowl game.
Week 11 Individual Stats:
I didn’t go back through historical stats, so I cannot be sure, but it would be hard to imagine a better performance than the beat-down 2005 put on Maryland, especially since they were a power-conference opponent. No analysis needed here – there’s no comparison (9.5 to 3 TFLs and a sack shutout, 6-0).
Week 11 Team Stats:
Really no analysis needed here either. Although they both gave up a rushing TD, 2005 allowed a microscopic 0.91 YPC (less than 1 yard per every rushing attempt) and over 2 yards less per attempt than 2017). This stat cannot even be characterized as a fluke, as Maryland tried 33 running plays (I suspect the morning-after QBs for the Terps had to question why the offensive coordinator kept calling running plays).
Week 11 Cumulative Stats:
Except for Total Tackles, 2005 now has a commanding lead in all key stats. After 11 weeks, 2005 has an astonishing 16.5 more TFLs than 2017 (and 2017 has Bradley Chubb who currently ranks #2 nationally in TFLs with 24). 2005 also leads in sacks by 5.5 and surrenders an average of 1.27 YPC less – both substantial leads . . . and 2005 has allowed 3 less rushing TDs.
The quality of opponent should be considered comparable. Although the 2005 Terrapins finished 5-6 and behind State in the conference, they did have the same conference record (3-5). Furthermore, they had Ralph Friedgen as their head coach, widely recognized as an upper-tier offensive strategist. While 2005 was equally matched, and although Wake 2017 has improved weekly, 2017 would certainly have to have been considered better than Wake, at least on paper (once ranked as high as #14 and entering the game with only one conference loss) – although apparently not on the field, as we discovered.
Of course stats pale when compared to Ws and Ls . . . and 2005 won while 2017 lost. 2005 needed the win to become bowl eligible – they delivered. 2017 needed the win to remain nationally relevant – they didn’t.
With the clear-cut statistical win, as well as the all-important game win, 2005 earned its 5th consecutive win in the weekly contest – now leading 7-4 overall.
Week 12 Sneak Preview
Since 2005 played 11 regular season games, and 2017 will play 12, there will be no preview of next week’s competition. 2005’s next game is their bowl game, so I plan to compare bowl game vs. bowl game for the next head-to-head review.
In my year-end analysis, I will account for this one-game-less comparison, although I will wait until all the data is compiled (i.e., after the bowl game) before determining the rationale. With 2005 enjoying an impressive lead heading into the bowl season, the logic may be moot.