Breaking down the Red October

Thanks to the fine work of folks at cfbstats.com, monthly statistics and national rankings can be found at the click of a mouse, and in the case of the University of Louisville football team, those comparisons yield some interesting insights into U of L’s development.

While the defense took the brunt of the criticism — and rightly so — early in the season, a look at the national trends shows that the defense actually made significant improvement in October (against better competition), while the offensive numbers took a step backward. Note that the national rankings referenced are for games in that month only.

Here’s a look at the defensive national rankings. You’ll note that all the rankings except rushing defense have improved . . .

Scoring defense : Sept. (76), Oct. (63)
Rushing defense: Sept. (54 ), Oct. (76)
Pass defense: Sept. (103), Oct. (62)
Total defense : Sept. (84), Oct. (70)

The same can’t be said of U of L’s offensive rankings. You’ll notice significant dives in some categories. Most glaring stat — the running game. U of L went from the 24th ranked rushing team in September to 111 in October — and it affected all areas.

Scoring offense : Sept. (15), Oct. (61)
Rushing offense: Sept. (24), Oct. (111)
Pass offense: Sept. (3), Oct. (6)
Total offense: Sept. (2), Oct. (46)

For anyone interested, a year ago U of L ranked 18th in scoring offense in October (43 spots higher), 35th in rushing offense (73 spots higher), 8th in passing offense (2 spots lower) and 6th in total offense (40 spots higher). Bottom line — even with a less-than 100 percent Brian Brohm, the Cardinal offense was much better.

On defense a year ago, U of L ranked 26th nationally in the month of October in scoring defense (37 spots higher), 33rd in rushing defense (43 spots higher), 62nd in pass defense (the same) and 36th in total defense (38 spots higher).

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