Tennessee's statistical rankings after South Carolina

Joe Robbins

Improvement in the numbers after two ranked opponents? What is this wizardry?

When we've done this exercise the past few seasons, the numbers have taken serious turns for the worse in October. Good opponents generally have a negative impact on your national numbers. But after the Georgia and South Carolina games, you could make a case that things are, in fact, improving. The Vols have fallen out of the Top 30 in two statistical categories, but have replaced them with two others, and they have improved in three categories that were in the Bottom 30 and not added any others. Plus, there is improvement in most of the categories in the middle. Still a long ways to go, but to see improvement after a couple of opponents that are generally bad for your numbers is a good thing.

What Tennessee is doing well

Thanks primarily to Jadeveon Clowney (and a game plan that seemed to call for not blocking him at times), Tackles for Loss Allowed fell from #3 to #34, the most dramatic change of the week. Rushing Offense also fell out of the Top 30, but not far, to #37. But Team Passing Efficiency Defense and Punt Return Defense both climbed into the Top 30, at Nos. 27 and 30, respectively.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Top 30
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC
4th Down Conversion Pct 91 80 - -

1

43 42 4 4 4
Passes Intercepted 86 56 12 1 2 5 1 2 6 6
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 51 67 - 2 4 3 4 10 9 9
Turnovers Gained 91 95 26 1 3 3 3 6 12 14
Fewest Penalties Per Game 56 92 - 1 3 2 8 17 18 21
Pass Sacks Allowed 40 5 23 18 5 11 19 25 21 23
Red Zone Defense 47 115 - 5 19 30 26 24 24 20
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 14 10 71 72 36 37 38 27
Punt Return Defense 85 67 2 43 93 80 59 33 34 30

Dropped out: Tackles for Loss Allowed (from 3 to 34), Rushing Offense (from 29 to 37).
New Arrivals: Team Passing Efficiency Defense (from 27 to 38), Punt Return Defense (from 34 to 30).

Where Tennessee needs major improvement

Out of the cellar this week are (1) Passes Had Intercepted, (2) Team Pass Sacks (woo!), and (3) Turnovers Lost. There are no new arrivals, which is terrific news. Still a problem: The passing game.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Bottom 30
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 48 86 34 70 113 105 91 107 105 111
Passing Offense 50 15 101 108 114 114 112 111 111 109
Team Passing Efficiency 69 31 25 46 72 100 100 100 103 106
Passing Yards per Completion 102 90 103 105 105 102 102 105

New Arrivals: None (2nd week in a row).
Climbed out: Passes Had Intercepted (from 99 to 87), Team Pass Sacks (from 101 to 75), Turnovers Lost (from 94 to 77).

THE BIG FAT MIDDLE

And here's the rest, for tracking purposes.

Categories in which Tennessee is in the Middle of the Rankings
Category 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC
Turnover Margin 59 88 24 3 4 29 41 53 49 34
Tackles for Loss Allowed 38 9 54 29 7 11 4 4 3 34
Net Punting 104 52 7 101 104 95 72 44 42 35
Rushing Offense 116 61 11 23 29 46 34 32 29 37
Kickoff Returns 41 80 1 7 19 29 28 36 37 41
Punt Returns 61 22 28 40 60 56 47 41 41 44
Fumbles Recovered 71 113 - 22 48 15 28 37 56 47
Red Zone Offense 58 29 1 59 52 63 68 73 75 59
Fumbles Lost 6 28 57 32 56 92 81 89 75 59
Scoring Offense 106 22 20 13 41 59 59 55 51 60
Passing Yards Allowed 12 111 17 38 102 80 82 78 78 63
Team Tackles for Loss 67 48 38 29 55 56 81 72 72 65
Scoring Defense 36 104 1 15 73 73 74 75 75 65
3rd Down Conversion Pct 56 81 13 26 52 56 58 59 61 70
First Downs Defense 18 86 8 39 83 88 98 106 68 70
Time of Possession 37 116 55 70 45 84 85 78 82 70
Kickoff Return Defense 7 47 76 77 78 88 76 76 76 73
Total Defense 28 107 11 29 90 82 78 79 80 75
Team Pass Sacks 100 98 41 48 50 77 92 101 101 75
Turnovers Lost 20 58 25 31 32 103 112 106 94 77
First Downs Offense 98 20 12 26 43 65 35 41 86 78
3rd Down Conversion Pct Defense 57 50 10 60 81 103 96 89 91 79
Rushing Defense 69 85 19 43 65 75 71 80 80 83
Passes Had Intercepted 63 83 1 39 17 99 112 107 99 87
Total Offense 104 18 51 65 78 103 93 90 87 89

Players in the Top 30

Not a lot of change here, but it's becoming more and more clear that the most important players on the team are Rajion Neal and Michael Palardy.

Player Stat 2011 2012 AP WKU OR FL SA GA BYE SC
Devaun Swafford Punt Return TDs 5 5 6
Michael Palardy Punting 19 26 22 8 7 13
Rajion Neal Rushing TDs 28 12 21 22
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards 19 11 19 24
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards Per Game 15 25 23 26
Brian Randolph Interceptions 3 14 25 21 28 19 29
Max Arnold Fumbles Recovered 23 25
Vincent Dallas Kickoff Returns 12
Rajion Neal Scoring 14
Dontavis Sapp Fumbles Recovered 23
Brent Brewer Forced Fumbles 24
Dontavis Sapp Forced Fumbles 24
Rajion Neal Rushing Yards 15 27
Justin Worley Passing Efficiency 28
Daniel Hood Interceptions 7
Malik Foreman Interceptions 7
Justin Worley Points Responsible For 13
Devrin Young Punt Returns 28 21
Daniel Hood Passes Defended 21
Marlin Lane Scoring 21
Marlon Walls Tackles For Loss 30
A.J. Johnson Tackles 4
Byron Moore Interceptions 13
Cordarrelle Patterson Kickoff Returns 14
Cordarrelle Patterson All-Purpose Runners 16
Tyler Bray Total Offense 19
Justin Hunter Receiving Yards Per Game 22
Tyler Bray Passing Efficiency 29
Austin Johnson Interceptions 23
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