Conference USA football fielding an array of defenses in 2019. Which were the best at getting off the field by stop rate and three-and-out rate?
Recently published by The Athletic, stop rate is a useful tool for measuring college football defenses. Max Olson, who compiled the sat, defines stop rate as:
The percentage of a defense’s drives that end in punts, turnovers or a turnover on downs. Every defense in college football has the same goal on every drive: Get a stop and get off the field. It’s the most basic measurement of whether a defense is successful. And the successful ones win a lot of games.
So what does that mean for Conference USA football? The league as a whole had four teams ranked inside the top 25 in stop rate nationally, including conference champion FAU. The Owls also ranked No. 1 in C-USA in three-and-out rate. The distribution from that point onward gets wide, quickly. Here’s a breakdown of each squad.
Two outliers stand out. Rice football finished 3-9, but boasted the seventh-best stop rate in C-USA and the fifth-best three-and-out rate. Every other team to finish in the top half of the conference in both metrics went bowling this past season. Defensive coordinator Brian Smith has made a tremendous impact at South Main so far, and the Owls have room to grow. They return almost every member of their two-deep on defense in 2020.
The second outlier is Charlotte. The 49ers gave up a lot of points last season — 32.4 per game to be exact — but found a way to get to a bowl game in their first year under Will Healy. Replacing defensive end Alex Highsmith will be a challenge next year, as will backfilling the running back spot behind Benny Lemay. There are some questions, bu things are headed in the right direction.Join The Roost. React to stories and news in the forum. Stay plugged into the latest happenings in Rice Football with practice notes recruiting updates and more. We are your No. 1 source for Rice Athletics News.
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