Probably not hugely different, actually, possibly no difference at all, because we got hammered in all four of our losses. A&M gained 591 on us. Bama gained only 473 but got two defensive scores. Auburn gained 632. LSU got 547. Knock all of those down to 450, it would reduce our total defense by 40 yards a game, which would put us in midpack of the SEC in total defense – and we’d still be 7-4.
Here’s the SEC total defense rankings:
Bama 252 ypg
South Carolina 387
Moo U 455
Subtract those 40 yards per game and we’re 7th, right behind SoCar.
I suspect using scoring defense as the yardstick would have a similar result, again because our closest loss was 17 to A&M. Take off 14 points off each loss, our points per game would go down by 5, and we’d still be 7-4. We’d also be 9th in SEC scoring defense. (Scoring defense is a bad indicator, though, because it’s inflated by pick-6s and kick returns; we’ve given up three defensive TDs, worth two points a game).
Lots of things factor in to total defense.
Field position- we rarely kick it into the end zone, giving our opponent a short field. Ipso facto, less yards needed to score
Time of possession- considering our offense, the opponent has the ball less, leading to less of a chance to gain yardage.
Yards per play and %of possessions that end in scores are better barometers IMO. I bet we are near last in those stats.
Ipso is NOT facto there, dude. There is actually a relevant stat here, “Net kickoffs”. Net kickoffs are calculated from where the other team gets the ball when you kick off. If you kick it out of the end zone, but the ball comes back to the 25 on a touchback, your net yardage is 40. They do not credit the kickoff man with a 75-yard kick in that case; the credit is 65 (such as MSU’s opening kickoff last night; the play by play says “Brad Wall kickoff 65 yards to the AR0, touchback.”) If you kick off to the 5, and the return comes back to the 21, your net yardage is 44.
What is our average net kickoff for the season? 40.8. Meaning the average start after one of our kickoffs is BETTER than a touchback.
Percentage of possessions that end in scores? That would be difficult to calculate without going through every play by play. But let’s try:
We’ve given up 39 touchdowns, but three of those were defensive returns. So 36 offensive touchdowns allowed.
Nine opponents’ field goals. So 45 scoring possessions by opponents.
Five missed field goals
18 turnovers forced (9 INT, 9 fumbles recovered)
Four fourth-down stops
There were probably a few possessions that ended in other ways, such as the end of the first half or the end of the game, but we’ll ignore those.
So we have 45 series that ended in points, and 73 that didn’t. So 61.9% of the time we did not allow a score; 38.1% we gave up points.
I’ll pick a couple of SEC teams for a similar comparison, starting with the school closest to us in points allowed, Kentucky.
Touchdowns allowed, 38 (42 minus four on returns)
Field goals allowed, 14. 52 scoring drives
Six missed field goals
17 turnovers forced (10 INT, 7 fumbles)
54 punts, and 6 fourth down stops. Total of 83 non scoring drives. About 38.5% scoring drives. Virtually unchanged from ours. Which makes sense; they’ve given up 5 points less than we have for the season. Their time of possession is 29:11, compared to our nearly 35 minutes (third in the nation).
Let’s look at Mizzou, the worst defense in terms of yards.
42 offensive touchdowns allowed (46 minus 4 on returns)
11 field goals. 53 scoring drives
18 turnovers (13 INTs, 5 fumbles)
9 missed field goals
64 punts. 5 fourth down stops. 96 nonscoring drives.
Actually a little better, with 35.5% scoring drives; they’ve forced more punts. But they’re also horrible in time of possession, only 24+ minutes per game, thus more possessions for both teams.