Ladies and Gentlemen, it is official: we have a horse race on our hands. With 2005 winning the first two weeks, and 2017 generally under-performing and given the slight edge in Week 3 with some creative thinking, this competition was shaping up to be one sided.
What a difference a week makes.
Let’s look at the numbers . . .
Week 4 Individual Stats:
Best D-Line Week 4 Individual
Both lines had the exact number of Total Tackles. However, against stronger competition, 2017 had 2.5 more TFLs and pitched a sack shutout (4 – 0).
Week 4 Team Stats:
Best D-Line Week 4 Team
2017 wins again with respect to the team totals, giving up less YPC while for the third week in a row not surrendering a rushing touchdown.
Week 4 Cumulative Stats:
Best D-Line Week 4 Cumulative
The cumulative totals are beginning to favor 2017. Total Tackles are essentially even, while the YPC metric continues to support 2005, although 2017 has won this metric in three out of the four weeks (overall 2005 lead remains due to the significant win earned by its Week 2 performance).
However, 2017 now leads in sacks and has added to its rushing TDs allowed advantage (in the end, it’s all about not giving up points). Amazingly, the 2017 D-Line has only given up a single rushing touchdown in four games, including exactly zero touchdowns last week against an option team.
Week 4 made for a more valid comparison than any of the weeks to date, as both D-Lines played quality ACC opponents. 2005 produced a solid win in Atlanta against #24 Ga Tech (17-14), while some of you may remember 2017 stifled #12 FSU (27-21) in Tallahassee this past weekend.
2017 came up big at the right time . . . historically good lines rise up to challenging opponents and overcome them (2017 did, as did 2005 in Week 4) . . . it remains to be seen if 2017 can avoid playing down to lesser teams (they have yet to prove it fully).
Based upon what we had seen through the first three weeks, 2017 showed flashes and overall solid play, but not the spectacular we expected. Against FSU, a team perhaps a key injury or three away from preseason expectations of reaching college football’s version of the Final Four, you might state 2017 over-delivered . . .
. . . or maybe they just finally delivered on what we anticipated all along.
Either way – the race is on.