The defense allowed ‘Bama to run at the same clip as last year (5.3 ypc both years), we gave up more points than last year (but Saban didn’t call off the dogs quite as much this year), and we ran the ball worse than last year (4.1 ypc compared to 3.7 ypc). But, our young QB actually led the team much better when comparing the two games. With Bolden under center and less of a running game than last year:
1. Plays per drive went up from 6.89 to 8.33;
2. Ints dropped from 2/29 to 1/29, 7% of throws to 3.5% of throws;
3. Points per drive increased from .33pts/drive to 1.83pts/drive;
4. The team had 2 six play drives under way (one at the 50 and the other at the ‘Bama 41) when turnovers occurred – Szczerba fumble and Bolden int. The team was moving the ball; and
5. Bolden was not sacked.
Now the paper argument had we kept Bolden in. PSU had 11 drives total and Bolden was averaging 1.83 points per drive on his 6 drives; had he played the whole game one could argue that PSU would have scored 20.13 points. Of course, had Bolden’s presence lead to longer drives, PSU likely would have had less drives. But even at 9-10 drives PSU could have scored between 16.47 and 18.30 points. Does it win the game? Probably not, but it makes it a lot closer. Additionally, leaving Bolden in would arguably help the team stay on the same page, versus the awfully planned rotation of QBs that was used. The points per drive could have increased with a single presence at QB.
Note: Again the WRs failed to help their QB....weren't they supposed to be THE strength of this offense? Remand Devon Smith to punts, kickoffs, and plays out of the backfield. He should not play WR.