Just like in last week’s South Carolina game, when our D-Line shockingly did not record a single sack, the Big Five of the 2005 version returned the favor in Week 2, going sackless against Eastern Kentucky, despite pummeling the Colonels 54-10 . . . EKU did go on to a successful finish at 7-4 overall and second place in the Ohio Valley Conference (7-1).
Nevertheless, the 2017 version continues to underperform, exceptionally so considering pre-season expectations, as well as in comparison to 2005.
Here are the Week 2 numbers:
Best D-Line Week 2 Individual
The 2017 line had almost twice as many tackles as 2005. Given the 54-10 route by 2005, you may be inclined to assume that EKU got behind and had to throw all the time, giving the D-Line less opportunity for tackles. However, it was not the case . . . EKU rushed 31 times, while Marshall rushed 25 times . . . so the 2017 tackling performance was generally better (but not fully, if at all, when we get to the YPC stat discussed below).
2017 did win the sack total – albeit by a weak 1 to 0 score – while the 2005 line had two more Tackles For Loss (TFL).
Best D-Line Week 2 Team
Although neither line gave up a rushing TD, the 2005 line absolutely dominated the Yards Per Carry (YPC) metric, allowing an infinitesimal 1.55. When an opponent can’t run the ball, they become one dimensional, which probably tells you all you need to know as to why 2005 won 54-10, while 2017 struggled yet again with the outcome still in doubt in the 4th quarter.
Cumulative Totals through Week 2
Best D-Line Week 2 Cumulative
Although 2017 had more tackles and one more sack than 2005 in Week 2, I give the edge for the second week in a row to 2005. The key stat being the 1.55 vs 4.04 YPC metric (the 2 extra TFL didn’t hurt) – they gave up only 48 rushing yards (2017 = 101) while their opponent had six (6) more carries.
In the all-important W-L column, it was a tie as both teams won, but 2005’s ability to shut down the run, contributed to an easy win; 2017’s inability to mitigate the run was instrumental in keeping the Pack off balance and in a dogfight most of the game.
Week 2 cumulative totals show the 2005 line maintaining their lead . . . they have more total tackles, more TFL, and have given up 1.13 less YPC.
It is still early in the season, so the 2017 has a lot of time to catch 2005 . . . but more importantly, if State is to have a shot at a special season, they need to at least catch up to expectations.