Georgia’s Nick Chubb is Having a Better Season than Leonard Fournette #FactsOnly
Leonard Fournette is an incredible running back. I’d call him a once-in-a-generation talent, but I don’t know that he’s really leaps and bounds ahead of Nick Chubb. And I’m not just talking about the fact that Chubb produced more as a freshman. I’m talking about THIS season.
Buckle up. This is going to get good.
Last week ESPN’s College Gameday spent the better part of five minutes talking about how bad Eastern Michigan’s run defense is. In some ways, that’s merited given that the Eagles are allowing an incredible 376.8 rushing yards per game and no other team comes within 50 yards of that. Today, Gameday will spend at least 5 minutes talking about how great Leonard Fournette was against Eastern Michigan last week. That’s also noteworthy seeing as his stat line – 26 carries for 233 yards and three TDs – was insane. But shouldn’t good players run well against bad defenses? That question got me digging deeper.
We all know that Fournette has produced at a higher level than Chubb on a raw numbers basis this season. Hell, I’m crazy but I can’t argue that Chubb’s lower rushing yard total, lower TD total and lower yards-per-carry average is better than Fournette’s independently. But Chubb has faced better defenses. And that can’t be disputed either.
On average, the four FBS defenses Chubb has faced (Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Alabama) rank 56th in the nation and allow a little less than 152.5 yards per game. Fournette’s four FBS opponents (Mississippi State, Auburn, Syracuse and Eastern Michigan) boast an average rush defense of 85th and have allowed 217.55 rushing yards per game on average.
So if I compare Fournette’s rushing yards (864 for the season) to the total expected against his opponents in four average games (870.2), I see that he accounts for an impressive 99.29% of expected yards surrendered. Not bad seeing as we’re talking about one player (Leonard Fournette) accounting for almost all of what his opponents typically allow to an entire team. But it’s worth noting that Chubb’s 614 rushing yards this season are actually more than what his four opponents surrender on average across a four-game stretch. Chubb has accounted for 100.67% of anticipated production of an entire team.
But, that’s not an entirely accurate number because those averages feature Chubb and Fournette in the sample size, thus the variable isn’t independent. And to be congruent here, we’re talking only about Chubb and Fournette against FBS opposition so we should only measure their opposition against FBS runners not named Chubb and Fournette as well. With those adjustments made, here’s how Fournette has looked compared to opposing defenses.
|Opponent||Opponent Average||Fournette Yards||Yards vs. Opponent Average|
So Fournette looks damn good by that measure. With his own team’s production and FCS foes removed from the sample, he looks even better, picking up 106.2% of expected yardage by himself.
But Chubb looks even better than that.
|Opponent||Opponent Average||Chubb Yards||Yards vs. Opponent Average|
Somebody can check my math on this, but I think 106.3% is more than 106.2%.
And, with both players being compared to the expected result of an entire team work load becomes important too.
To date, Leonard Fournette has accounted for 53% of LSU’s carries against FBS opposition. Chubb has accounted for 49% of Georgia’s ground load against FBS foes.
As for today, both players should have big days. Tennessee surrendered 275 rushing yards to Arkansas last week and on the season the Vols have given up an average of 167.25 rushing yards per game against FBS opposition. If Chubb’s season-long average of 106.3% of expected yardage holds, he should run for about 178 yards.
Meanwhile, Fournette will square off against a South Carolina defense that’s allowing 170 rushing yards per contest. If his 106.2% rate of production holds, he’ll run for 181 yards.
It’s also worth noting that South Carolina is the first of four (or more, if either team reaches the SEC Championship Game) opponents in common for Chubb and Fournette. Both teams will also play Florida. Georgia has already played Alabama and LSU will play the Crimson Tide late in the season. LSU has already Auburn and Georgia will play the Tigers late in the season.
So there’s a lot we don’t yet know. But here’s what we do know:
Leonard Fournette is amazing. Nick Chubb is equally amazing. But don’t tell anybody.
That’s all I got/
See Nick Chubb’s greatest runs in The UGA Vault – FREE on iOS and Android.