Here are some fun Next Level facts and figures from ESPN Stats & Information:
Zach Mettenberger's completion percentage on passes thrown 15 yards or longer decreased by 33.9 percentage points in SEC games compared to non-conference games. Mettenberger completed at least half of his 15-yard passes in all four of his four non-conference games but in just one of eight SEC games. He will face a Clemson defense that allowed 13 touchdowns on passes thrown 15 yards or longer this season, tied for the sixth most among AQ schools.
Mettenberger on throws of 15-plus yards vs SEC teams:
Completion percentage: 32.8
Yards per attempt: 9.2
30-plus-yard completions: 6
Mettenberger on throws of 15-plus yards vs nonconference teams:
Completions percentage: 66.7
Yards per attempt: 18.6
30-plus-yard completions: 6
LSU has sent five or more pass rushers on 22.1 percent of its opponents’ dropbacks this season. When blitzing, the Tigers have allowed eight passing touchdowns, including at least one touchdown in each of their last four games. When dropping seven into coverage, LSU has allowed just five pass touchdowns in 316 attempts.
LSU pass defense with the blitz:
Percent of dropbacks: 22.1
Yards per play: 5.8
LSU pass defense without the blitz:
Percent of dropbacks: 77.9
Yards per play: 4.7
(Dropbacks = sacks, passing attemtpts and scrambles)
Defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are the main reasons LSU is able to drop seven into coverage. When rushing four, Mingo and Montgomery have combined for 33 of the Tigers’ 65 quarterback hurries, including four hurries on passes that were intercepted. Additionally, they have combined for 10 sacks when LSU does not blitz.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd increased his completion percentage on passes thrown 25 yards or longer by 19.3 percentage points this season. Boyd’s improvement has been aided by DeAndre Hopkins who leads the nation with 10 touchdown receptions on passes thrown this distance. Boyd and Hopkins will face an LSU defense that has allowed multiple receptions on such passes in just two games over the past two seasons. Yet, those two games were their last two outings against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Throws of 25-plus yards vs LSU defense:
Yards per attempt: 6.7
Throws of 25-plus yards by Boyd:
Yards per attempt: 22.7
Sammy Watkins and Hopkins have combined for more than 125 receptions and close to 2,000 receiving yards this season despite Watkins missing three games. Hopkins has been effective stretching the field. He has 10 touchdown receptions on passes thrown 20 yards or longer, most in FBS. Watkins has been better with the ball, gaining 422 of his 708 receiving yards after the catch.
Clemson leads FBS with 22 touchdowns of 25 yards or longer. The Tigers have scored at least one touchdown of this distance in 11 straight games, including 10 such touchdowns in their last four games. Clemson will face an LSU defense that has given up 19 plays that have gained 25 yards or more this season, fifth fewest in FBS.
Points per game: 42.3 (sixth nationally)
25-plus-yard plays: 62 (second nationally)
25-plus-yard touchdowns: 22 (first nationally)
Touchdowns in two minutes or less: 34 (tied for fourth nationally)