Devine’s third game provided his most carries of the season to date (27), most yards of the season (131), and longest run of the season (50 yards). Despite these facts, upon further analysis it really appears his least impressive performance of the young season. Of his 27 carries, 14 or 15 of them (depending on whose stats you look at) were for 2 or less yards (he had only 9 such carries against CCU and Marshall). His Maryland performance also lacked a touchdown carry, a stat tally that holds a lot of weight in the eyes of Heisman voters. Looking forward, fans can only hope that Noel and the offensive line can turn more of these 1 and 2 yard runs into 5 to 8 yard runs as WVU enters their game against LSU and ramps up for their BIG EAST schedule.
As far as play selection, analysis shows that Maryland was pretty much more of the same. Numerous sweeps where Noel starts out Shotgun right takes the hand off and runs outside to the left (or vice versa), shotgun dives where Noel starts out left or right of & a step behind Geno in the shotgun and plunges into the line, and singleback carries.
Interestingly enough what the Maryland game lacked was any I-form carries for Noel (compared to 5 and 3 in the Marshall and CCU games). Noel did however run the ball out of a split black formation with a lead blocker for the first time this season. A set that provides a similar benefit (a lead blocking RB) as the I-form. It was one of these carries that provided Noel’s longest run of the season after the other split back in the Shotgun and lead blocking Tavon Austin got a great block on the outside that paired with Stedman Bailey’s great block down to seal off the inside opened the wide lane Noel needed to scurry down the sideline.
It will be interesting to see how much split back and/or I-form carries Noel sees at LSU and throughout the rest of the season.
Take a look at the carry-by-carry breakdown below to perform your own further analysis
Noel Devine's vs. Maryland carry-by-carry breakdown (JPG Image)