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STAT WATCH: Jacksonville State

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Perusing the stats to take a deeper look at the Gamecocks.

Jacksonville State v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Starting this week, I’m going to be doing a weekly post which delves into how the upcoming opponent for LSU has performed in various stats the week before and how they’ve done the entire season. Since this is only Week 2, we’ll be using stats from last season to also get more of a look. This was planned to be a weekly thing looking at advanced stats, more of the stuff done at Football Outsiders and the like, but since JSU is an FCS team, there’s not stats for them in those areas readily available. So we’ll be looking at more of the traditional ones, but when we get into the FBS and conference opponents, we can jump back into the advanced ones. Anyhow, a look into the Gamecocks:

Last Season (Offense)

  • Points Per Game: 38.9 (8th in FCS)
  • Total Offense: 507.5 yards (4th in FCS)
  • Yards Per Carry: 6.22 (3rd in FCS)
  • Yards Per Pass Attempt: 7.23 (38th in FCS)
  • Yards Per Play: 6.60 (9th in FCS)
  • Team Passing Efficiency: 132.37 (39th in FCS)
  • 3rd Down Conversion Percentage: 44.3% (27th in FCS)
  • Turnovers Lost: 21 (78th in FCS)

As you see here, most of the success for Jacksonville State on offense comes from the ground game, where they run for lots of yards and do it very efficiently as well. They’ve added from Auburn a 5-star recruit running back Roc Thomas, so that will just boost this prolific rushing attack even more. The pass game supplements the run and is a pretty solid unit, with an experienced QB in Eli Jenkins. They threw the ball on average 28 times last year to 47 rushing attempts. This is a very, very good offense capable of putting together drives, though turnovers are an issue.

Last Season (Defense)

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 19.9 (18th in FCS)
  • Total Defense: 300.3 yards (12th in FCS)
  • Yards Per Carry Allowed: 3.36 (17th in FCS)
  • Yards Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 5.85 (12th in FCS)
  • Yards Per Play Allowed: 4.51 (10th in FCS)
  • 3rd Down Conversion Percentage Defense: 31.5% (13th in FCS)
  • Turnovers Gained: 28 (13th in FCS)

The defense is pretty darn good at everything. Not Top 10, best in the nation good, but just very, very good and solid at everything. In their lone game against an FBS team last season, the one everyone remembers against Auburn, they gave up just 4.38 yards per carry and forced 2 INT’s. They did allow 7.37 Y/A, but they showed out very well against a team with talent multiple classes above. This will be a defense that requires Brandon Harris and the rest of the LSU offense’s best game and to not turn the ball over, because the Gamecocks are good at getting those too.

2016 (1 Game)

  • Points: 31
  • Points Allowed: 12
  • Yards Per Play: 5.9
  • Yards Per Play Allowed: 4.0
  • Yards Per Carry: 5.33
  • Yards Per Attempt: 6.76
  • Yards Per Carry Allowed: 1.6
  • Yards Per Attempt Allowed: 7.1
  • Turnover Margin: 4-1

Interestingly, JSU performed mainly better on defense in their opener against Division II North Alabama, allowing lower averages in Yards Per Carry Allowed and Yards Per Play Allowed. But the offense pretty much dropped across the board, though the team was bleeding in some new starters. They may have taken a bit of a drop, but they’re still No. 5 in the FCS polls and will provide a test that requires LSU to play really well.