College Football Stop Rate Rankings: Florida State relies on surging defense to make CFP push

College Football Stop Rate Rankings: Florida State relies on surging defense to make CFP push

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee and everyone in college football will be watching Florida State closely on Saturday night. What they will see is a Seminoles defense that continues to improve and has risen to sixth nationally in stop rate.

What is the downtime rate? It’s a basic metric of success: the percentage of defense kicks that end in punts, turnovers or turnovers on downs. This simple metric can provide a more accurate reflection of a defense’s effectiveness in today’s faster-paced college football than yards per game or points per game. We’re now in the seventh year of tracking this statistic (here are the final rankings for 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017), along with each defense’s average points per drive.

The impressive performances of offensive playmakers Jordan Travis, Trey Benson, Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson captured most of the attention during Florida State’s run to a perfect 12-0 regular season. Travis’ season-ending injury against North Alabama makes his team’s playoff case even more complicated in a year with eight great teams vying for four spots.

If the No. 4 Seminoles falter in the ACC Championship game against No. 14 Louisville, they’ll likely be out. Some will want to count them out even if they win, arguing that they’re not a top-four team without a QB1. CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock’s line Tuesday night that the committee selects the four “best” teams, not the four most deserving, raised some eyebrows.

While most will understandably focus on the play of backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker, don’t underestimate the impact Florida State’s defense will have on this round. In defensive coordinator Adam Fuller’s first season, this team finished No. 106 nationally with a 55 percent stop rate in 2020. Three years later, he upped that rate to 75 percent.

They win with one of the best passing defenses in the country. Florida State has held four of its last six opponents to less than 100 yards, has more interceptions (nine) than passes allowed (eight) and is No. 1 in the FBS in defensive completion percentage, allowing catches on just 47.6 percent of attempts. When you’re a top-10 pass rushing defense, it makes the job a little easier. Only Iowa and Clemson have forced more punts this season than the Seminoles.

Fuller has built a staff with impressive experience and depth. They have 20 different players who have played at least 200 snaps in a season, and 14 of those 20 are juniors or seniors. Successful additions to the transfer portal — including defensive end Jared Fiers, linebacker Tatum Bethune, cornerback Ventrell Cypress II and defensive tackle Braden Fisk — have helped speed up this rebuilding process, but most of these big-time contributors came as high school signees and put in the hard work to develop and raise this program.

Go deeper

Mandel’s mailbag: What’s the outlook for Florida State without Jordan Travis? Texans’ chance at the CFP?

If the Seminoles want to continue to compete for the national title, they will have to play their best against Louisville’s Jeff Brohm offense in Charlotte. The Cardinals also know how to get stops, as they currently rank 18th in stop rate. They’ll have a host of fan bases rooting for them and praying for mayhem on Saturday night. In the tightest CFP race we’ve ever seen, the Seminoles will get the final say. Their defense seems ready to make a serious statement.

How are the rest of the defenses around the country doing with the stop rate? Below are the complete FBS-only stoppage price rankings for the 2023 regular season.

Note: All data is courtesy Trumedia And Focus on professional football.

R.K

defense

g

drives

Stop price

points/drive

1

12

125

81.6%

0.98

1

11

125

81.6%

1.04

3

12

148

79.7%

0.94

4

11

120

78.3%

1.04

5

11

122

75.4%

1.39

6

11

128

75%

1.30

6

11

136

75%

1.51

8

11

142

74.6%

1.46

9

11

140

74.3%

1.50

10

11

121

73.6%

1.40

11

11

147

73.5%

1.54

12

12

139

73.4%

1.57

13

11

131

73.3%

1.44

14

12

145

73.1%

1.43

15

11

113

72.6%

1.49

16

11

116

72.4%

1.57

17

11

127

71.7%

1.61

18

11

126

71.4%

1.74

18

12

140

71.4%

1.51

20

11

136

71.3%

1.68

21

11

129

71.3%

1.41

22

11

113

70.8%

1.57

23

10

118

70.3%

1.94

24

11

120

70%

1.79

25

11

123

69.9%

1.77

26

12

138

69.6%

1.83

27

11

126

69%

1.75

28

11

112

68.8%

1.79

29

12

140

68.6%

1.98

30

11

120

68.3%

1.74

31

12

148

68.2%

1.71

32

11

116

68.1%

1.78

33

11

124

67.7%

1.82

34

12

123

67.5%

1.85

35

11

116

67.2%

1.97

36

12

137

67.2%

2.01

37

11

123

66.7%

1.93

38

11

125

66.4%

2.03

39

11

121

66.1%

2.03

40

11

118

66.1%

2.09

41

11

128

65.6%

1.85

42

11

142

65.5%

2.11

43

11

133

65.4%

1.97

44

11

130

65.4%

2.04

44

11

130

65.4%

1.90

46

11

121

65.3%

1.84

47

11

135

65.2%

2.13

48

12

143

65%

1.97

49

11

120

65%

2.02

50

11

122

64.8%

2.03

51

11

114

64%

2.17

52

11

139

64%

2.11

53

11

130

63.8%

2.06

54

11

135

63.7%

2.12

55

11

129

63.6%

2.00

56

11

120

63.3%

2.08

57

11

117

63.2%

2.14

58

11

133

63.2%

2.17

59

11

121

62.8%

2.05

59

11

121

62.8%

2.14

61

11

129

62.8%

2.09

62

11

145

62.8%

2.12

63

11

126

62.7%

2.15

64

11

130

62.3%

2.25

65

11

132

62.1%

2.23

66

11

131

61.8%

2.25

67

11

129

61.2%

2.27

68

11

118

61%

2.07

69

11

133

60.9%

2.21

70

11

120

60.8%

2.43

71

11

130

60.8%

2.31

72

11

122

60.7%

2.25

73

12

132

60.6%

2.34

74

11

129

60.5%

2.18

75

11

134

60.4%

2.32

76

11

126

60.3%

2.25

77

11

133

60.2%

2.51

78

11

127

59.8%

2.23

79

11

122

59.8%

2.30

79

11

122

59.8%

2.33

81

12

149

59.7%

2.36

82

11

144

59.7%

2.65

83

11

139

59.7%

2.50

84

11

124

59.7%

2.51

85

11

125

59.2%

2.45

86

11

115

59.1%

2.28

87

11

127

59.1%

2.40

88

11

129

58.9%

2.27

89

11

146

58.9%

2.54

90

11

109

58.7%

2.68

91

9

94

58.5%

2.43

92

12

141

58.2%

2.35

93

11

117

58.1%

2.37

94

11

138

58%

2.62

95

11

120

57.5%

2.59

95

11

120

57.5%

2.67

97

11

117

57.3%

2.46

98

11

124

57.3%

2.58

99

11

131

57.3%

2.60

100

11

128

57%

2.45

101

11

121

57%

2.69

102

12

143

56.6%

2.68

103

11

122

56.6%

2.45

104

11

117

56.4%

2.76

105

11

121

56.2%

2.56

106

12

146

56.2%

2.73

107

11

129

55.8%

2.69

108

11

124

55.6%

2.66

109

11

137

55.5%

2.53

110

11

130

55.4%

2.42

111

11

134

55.2%

2.63

111

11

134

55.2%

2.66

113

11

125

55.2%

2.66

114

12

129

55%

2.82

115

11

119

54.6%

2.80

116

11

130

54.6%

2.56

116

11

130

54.6%

3.14

118

11

134

54.5%

2.84

119

11

129

54.3%

2.66

120

11

124

54%

2.90

121

11

128

53.9%

2.88

122

11

118

53.4%

2.65

123

11

133

52.6%

3.06

124

11

120

50.8%

3.10

125

11

122

50.8%

3.16

126

12

127

50.4%

3.02

127

11

131

49.6%

2.93

128

11

123

49.6%

2.89

129

11

129

48.8%

3.05

130

11

123

48.8%

3.19

131

11

128

47.7%

3.16

132

11

127

47.2%

3.33

133

11

114

41.2%

3.40

(Photo: Maddy Meyer/Getty Images)

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