David M. Hale 411d

Numbers to know for ACC's Kickoff Weekend

We're just a day away from the start of Kickoff Weekend in the ACC, so let's do a quick rundown of key numbers to know for each team on the eve of the 2016 season.

BOSTON COLLEGE

41.9

The reception percent by BC's wide receivers and tight ends against FBS opponents last year. That rate ranked last in FBS. A lot has been made of the struggles of the QBs last year, but it's worth noting that they've gotten little help from their receivers. Thad Lewis led the team with 17 catches last season, which tied him for 65th overall in the ACC.

CLEMSON

7.29

Receiver Artavis Scott's average yards after the catch last season, down from 12.2 the year before. What was the difference? Mike Williams, Clemson's best deep threat, missed the season, forcing Scott to adjust into a new role. Williams is back in 2016, and he'll team with Scott to lead one of the deepest and best receiving corps in the country.

DUKE

10.32

Duke's yards-per-completion average against FBS opponents last year, ranking the Blue Devils a woeful 120th out of 128 FBS teams. Thomas Sirk is now out with an Achilles injury, pushing redshirt freshman Daniel Jones into the spotlight. Jones is a more traditional pocket quarterback, and if he can stretch the field more in 2016, Duke's offense could take a nice step forward.

FLORIDA STATE

51.3

Florida State's touchdown percent on drives that reached the red zone, which was 101st in FBS. In goal-to-go situations, FSU found the end zone just 57.9 percent of the time (118th nationally), down from 88.5 percent the year before. The receivers need to be more of a threat when the field shortens if Deondre Francois is going to get the FSU passing game going in 2016.

GEORGIA TECH

34.3

There are plenty of ugly numbers from last year's offense for Paul Johnson, but this has to be the most galling. It's the Yellow Jackets' third-down conversion rate, good for 12th in the ACC and 109th nationally. What makes that even worse is that, a year earlier, Georgia Tech was the country's best team on third down, converting 58.4 percent of its tries. The result was 1.5 fewer plays per drive, 1.3 fewer points per drive and a more than three-minute reduction in time of possession.

LOUISVILLE

35.1

The percent of dropbacks under pressure last year when defenses didn't blitz, the second-worst rate by any Power 5 team. In other words, more than one-third of Lamar Jackson's plays resulted in a defender in his face, even when he wasn't facing a blitz. Much has been made of Jackson's progress as a passer this offseason, but no amount of playbook study is going to be enough to overcome another year of disastrous offensive line play.

MIAMI

12.9

The percent of non-sack rushing attempts that Miami's defense stopped for a loss or no gain last year against FBS teams, the worst rate in the Power 5. Overall, Miami allowed 6.11 yards per rush on non-sack plays last season. A change in philosophy should help, but the loss of defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, who led the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, and Jermaine Grace, who led the team with 79 tackles, certainly won't.

NORTH CAROLINA

20.1

The percent of FBS opponent dropbacks on which North Carolina blitzed in 2015, the lowest rate in the ACC. Gene Chizik's defense simply didn't take risks because it didn't have the personnel. The plan largely worked, with the secondary thriving, but the defense finished with one of the lowest rates of pressuring the opposing quarterback in the Power 5. Chizik is hopeful he can be more aggressive with a more athletic unit this season.

NC STATE

32.1

The percent of dropbacks against FBS teams in which NC State quarterbacks were contacted by a defender (54th in the Power 5) which led to an 8.8 percent sack rate (56th in the Power 5). The sack rate might've been higher if Jacoby Brissett hadn't been so hard to bring down. NC State won't have him at QB this year, meaning the offensive line needs to prove it can excel at more than just run blocking for new coordinator Eli Drinkwitz's game plan to succeed.

PITT

116

The number of carries running back Qadree Ollison had against eight-man defensive fronts last year -- 28 more than Florida State's Dalvin Cook. Defenses flooded the box to stop the run last season, and that was with Tyler Boyd at wide receiver. If Pitt can't find a reliable threat in the passing game to force defenses to be honest, it could be tough sledding even for a deep corps of backs.

SYRACUSE

2.46

The average number of points Syracuse's defense allowed per drive against FBS foes last year, last in the ACC. The overall defensive numbers remained a bit more respectable because the Orange faced just 12.7 drives per game thanks to a slow-play offense. That won't happen in 2016 under Dino Babers, whose up-tempo style will put the defense in far more strenuous situations.

VIRGINIA

8.87

The yards-per-attempt Virginia's defense allowed when it pressured the opposing quarterback, a rate that was worse than all but four teams when the QB wasn't under pressure. What makes matters worse for Virginia's defense is that last year it blitzed more than any other Power 5 program (48.7 percent) but didn't see results. Getting pressure from the front four and better coverage from the DBs will be a top priority for new coach Bronco Mendenhall.

VIRGINIA TECH

145

The number of plays of 20 yards or more Virginia Tech's defense has allowed against FBS teams over the past two seasons, most in the ACC and 119th nationally. It's been the fatal flaw of Bud Foster's defense the past two years, as a high rate of negative plays -- 39.1 percent went for a loss or no gain, sixth-best nationally -- have been offset by chunk plays downfield.

WAKE FOREST

83

The number of explosive plays (runs of 10 or more yards, receptions of 20 or more) Wake Forest recorded last year, tied with Virginia for the fewest in the ACC. That's the bad news. The good news is that tally was nearly double the amount Wake had in 2014. It was a big step, head coach Dave Clawson said, but he wants to see that number increase even more in 2016, making sustaining long drives less important for an offense that's still young.

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