FanPost

Vandy defense getting hype, but still underrated?

Defense wins championships.  You’ve heard it before and Vanderbilt’s 2011 season has (so far) shown that defense can win you a few games.  Yeah, Vandy leads the nation in interceptions (14) by a wide margin over the Ohio Bobcats (9), but points decide the outcome of a game.

Statisticians calculate Scoring Defense by averaging the number of points an opposing team scores per game.  That’s lazy because not every point is scored on the defense.  Here is how each point has been scored against Vanderbilt after four games in 2011:

Elon – Running TD, Extra Point; 2nd quarter against VU Defense

Elon – Passing TD, Extra Point; 3rd quarter against VU Defense

UConn – Field Goal; 1st quarter against VU Defense

UConn – Field Goal; 3rd quarter against VU Defense (opposing drive started as result of Turnover)

UConn – Blocked Kick TD, Extra Point; 3rd quarter against VU Special Teams (TO)

UConn – Fumble Return TD, 2 Point Conversion; 4th quarter against VU Offense (TO)

Ole Miss – Passing TD, Extra Point; 4th quarter against VU Defense (TO)

USC – Fumble Return TD, Extra Point; 2nd quarter against VU Offense (TO)

USC – Passing TD, Extra Point; 2nd quarter against VU Defense

USC – Running TD, Extra Point; 3rd quarter against VU Defense

In review of all points scored against Vandy, the VU Defense has only given up 41 points all season (extra points count against possession team giving up the score), 35% less than the “calculated” season total of 63 points.  VU’s offense has given up 15 points and special teams have given up 7.  

If you look at the statistical leaders in the NCAA and apply this calculation to each team, Vandy’s true defensive scoring of 10.25 points per game would likely place them in the top 10 nationally.  The level of competition peaks next week and I think Alabama will score more than 10.25 points against Vandy’s defense.  However, it will provide a measuring stick for how good this defense truly is, because the numbers suggest the defense is underrated.

(Unfortunately, the same lazy calculation is given for offensive scoring.  Vandy’s 3 defensive TDs count towards the Offensive Scoring total which would suggest Vandy’s offense is overrated – yikes!)

Other numbers:

  • Half (5) of the opposing team's scoring drives started with a VU turnover
  • Opponent First Quarter Points: 3
  • Opponent Second Quarter Points: 21
  • Opponent Third Quarter Points: 24
  • Opponent Fourth Quarter Points: 15

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