Stats & Info: David Wilson

Giants ineffective on both sides of the ball

September, 17, 2013

Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesEli Manning has thrown a league-high seven interceptions this season.
The New York Giants dropped eight spots in the NFL Power Rankings after two games, sitting at No. 20 after starting the season at No. 12.

The drop was warranted from a statistical standpoint, as the Giants rate as one of the worst teams in the league.

With 14 games remaining though, there’s still plenty of time to turn the season around. But to do so, the Giants will need to fix some pretty glaring problems.

The Giants have committed a league-worst 10 turnovers through the first two weeks of the season, including seven interceptions by Eli Manning. No other quarterback has more than four interceptions this season.

Manning’s success has varied by targeted receiver. He has thrown one interception when targeting Victor Cruz, Brandon Myers and Hakeem Nicks this season, his three most targeted receivers so far.

That leaves Manning with six interceptions when throwing to all other Giants, including four when targeting Rueben Randle (three in Week 2).

Manning’s interceptions have even come on the simplest of plays. Two of Manning’s Week 1 interceptions came on screen passes. Only four quarterbacks have had multiple interceptions on screens in the last five seasons combined.

No run game
The Giants have run the ball 33 times this season for a league-low 73 yards (2.2 yards per rush, also the lowest).

Although the offensive line has struggled, the running back situation hasn’t helped. The Giants are one of three teams in the NFL to average less than one yard after contact on rushes this season.

David Wilson was supposed to be the answer for the Giants' running game, but with two fumbles on 14 rushes, he’s seen the field on only 34 percent of the Giants’ snaps.

No pass rush
New York allowed 77 points in their first two games this season, worst in the NFL. Last season, the Giants didn't allow their 77th point until their fifth game.

A big reason for the defensive struggles is a lack of pass rush, once the calling card of the Giants' defense.

They have relied heavily on a four-man pass rush in recent years. In the last three seasons, nearly 70 percent of their pass rushes have come on such pressure.

This season, the Giants have recorded a sack 2.9 percent of the time when sending four or fewer rushers. In the 2011 Super Bowl season that rate was 7.3 percent.

Giants questions may preclude step forward

July, 27, 2013

On Saturday, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese said this before the team's first practice:

"All I know is that we've been in the playoffs one time in the last four years and that's really not acceptable for us."

SportsCenter is at Giants training camp on Sunday and will try to answer some of their most important offseason questions. Here are some of the topics they'll touch on:

Can Manning move past his poor 2012?
After seemingly cementing himself as one of the NFL’s “elite” QBs in the 2011 playoffs, Eli Manning's production slumped significantly in 2012, with his biggest issue being the inability to be successful on third down.

Manning's Total QBR of 34.6 on third down ranked 27th among NFL quarterbacks.

There were questions last year as to whether Manning got tired as games went on. He completed only 54 percent of his fourth-quarter passes in 2012, a decline of 13 percentage points from 2011.

Manning has thrown at least 15 interceptions in three straight seasons. He has an NFL-worst 56 interceptions over the last three seasons.

Will Cruz justify his new contract?
Victor Cruz, who entered this offseason as a restricted free agent, signed a five-year deal (with $15.6 million guaranteed) on July 9.

Cruz will earn $9 million annually over the first three years of the deal, making it tied for the 12th richest active contract for a WR.

Cruz had 2,628 receiving yards the last two seasons, fifth-most in the NFL. He leads the NFL in touchdown catches as a slot receiver in that span with 15.

Will Nicks earn a new deal
Cruz's receiving mate Hakeem Nicks is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Nicks' yards per game declined from 86.1 in 2011 to 53.2 last season.

Nicks has had to battle injuries. He's missed seven games over the last three seasons.

Cruz and Nicks are vital to the Giants success. Seventy percent of Manning's passes have been targeted at them over the last two seasons.

Can David Wilson replace Ahmad Bradshaw?
David Wilson should make the transition to full-time running back, replacing Ahmad Bradshaw.

Wilson led rookie running backs with an average of 5.0 yards per rush last season. He'll be trying to replace Bradshaw, who ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns over the last three seasons with 23.

One thing to keep in mind: The Giants have won without a great rushing game. The 2011 Super Bowl champs ranked last in the NFL in rushing.

Will the pass rush return?
When the Giants won Super Bowl in 2011, they registered 34 sacks with four or fewer rushers, the second most in the NFL, a total that plunged to 21 sacks in 2012.

Their sack rate dropped from sixth-best in the league two seasons ago to 21st last season.

Osi Umenyiora, who had 75 sacks in 10 seasons with the Giants from 2003-12, signed with the Falcons in the offseason. He's one of three Giants with at least three sacks in 2012 who are no longer on the Giants roster.

Four-man pass rush paying off for Giants

December, 14, 2012
The New York Giants were able to disrupt quarterback Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan with their front-four pass rush, and Giants QB Eli Manning used an effective short passing game that piled up 158 yards after catch in a 24-2 wild-card playoff win in January.

The teams meet again Sunday in one of Week 15’s headline games. The Falcons are soaring above every other team in the NFC and the Giants hoping to add to their NFC East lead and secure a chance to defend their Super Bowl title in the playoffs.

Here are some areas to keep an eye on:

• In their last six games, the Giants have relied more on their four-man pass rush which has yielded positive results. When sending four or fewer pass rushers, the Giants have allowed a Total QBR of 47.5, considerably lower than the 83.2 they allowed in their first seven games.

In their playoff matchup, the Giants sent four or fewer pass rushers on 37 of Ryan’s 44 dropbacks. They sacked him twice and put him under duress eight other times, forcing him to keep his passes short (5.2 yards per attempt).

• One of the biggest differences this season between Manning and Ryan has been their success with play-action. Ryan has the second-highest completion percentage (71.9) among qualified quarterbacks; Manning has the fifth-lowest (51.9). Ryan is averaging a touchdown every 14.8 attempts on play-action. Manning averages one every 20.3 attempts.

• Manning’s struggles on play-action passing may continue. The Falcons’ defense has allowed only two touchdowns all season against play-action, tied for fewest in the league. Atlanta has also allowed the second-fewest 30-yard plays (2) and the fourth-lowest QBR (39.8).

• Giants running back David Wilson made a major impact in the run game last week against the New Orleans Saints, rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. However, all of his rushes came on first and second downs. Wilson was on the field for only one third down, a pass play with 49 seconds left in the first quarter. During the third down, Manning was forced to throw the ball away due to pressure.

• Wilson was also a huge part of a kick return and kickoff unit that was responsible for 3.04 Expected Points Added, the Giants’ highest contribution by the kickoff team since Week 2 of 2010. Wilson leads the league in kick return yards (1,321) and already has more return yards than any other Giant in the past 12 seasons.

-- Michael Bonzagni, Evan Kaplan and Kim Meyer contributed to this post.

Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesJunior Hemingway, who scored two touchdowns, was the only Michigan player to find much open space on offense in the Sugar Bowl.
Playing in its first BCS bowl game since the 2006 season, the Michigan Wolverines kicked a field goal in overtime to claim their first BCS win since the 2000 Orange Bowl. It was the eighth bowl game decided by three points or fewer this season and the first time that two BCS games have gone to overtime in the same season.

Special-teams play has been a strength for the Virginia Tech Hokies under Frank Beamer, but a series of special-teams miscues was the difference in the game. Michigan picked up 16 points on special teams against the Hokies.

Michigan scored its first touchdown on a drive that was extended by a roughing the punter penalty. Virginia Tech fumbled twice, once on a kickoff return and once on a fake punt, with each leading to a field goal for the Wolverines. After making four field goals in regulation, third-string kicker Justin Myer missed a 37-yard attempt in overtime.

That helped the Wolverines win a game where they were outgained by nearly 200 yards and Denard Robinson completed only two passes after halftime. Michigan’s 184 yards were the lowest for the school since a 2007 loss to Ohio State. The last team to win a bowl game when gaining less than 200 yards was Mississippi State, which beat UCF 10-3 in the 2007 Liberty Bowl.

Denard Robinson was held to 117 passing yards and 13 rushing yards. It was the first time in three seasons that Robinson ran for less than 20 yards when he had at least 10 carries. The 130 yards of total offense was his second lowest output in the last two years, and the only time he has been held below 200 yards when he was involved in 30 or more plays.

Robinson was able to connect with Junior Hemingway for two touchdowns on throws of 15-plus yards. Those were Michigan’s only two touchdowns and Robinson’s only completions on nine throws downfield.

The Hokies loss continues recent trends for the school and the conference. Virginia Tech was the first ACC at-large selection to a BCS bowl game, and with the Sugar Bowl loss the ACC falls to 2-12 in BCS games. Frank Beamer and the Hokies have been to six BCS games, but were only able to win the 2009 Orange Bowl.

David Wilson broke the Virginia Tech single-season rushing record with 1,709 yards but was held without a touchdown for the eighth time in 14 games this season.

Jason O. Watson/US PresswireDavid Wilson is tied for the national lead in most 100-yard games.
The late-afternoon slate in college football featured a pair of winner-take-all games in which the winner took total control of humbled opposition.

In the case of the Virginia Tech Hokies rout of the Virginia Cavaliers, the Hokies won the ACC Coastal Division crown for the fifth time and won its 13th straight road game overall.

This was the eighth straight win for Virginia Tech against Virginia, one that made the Hokies 35-5 against its current divisional opponents since joining the ACC in 2004.

It was the 11th win of the season for Virginia Tech, marking the second time in team history that it won at least 11 games in consecutive seasons (it also did so in 1999 and 2000).

The loss was the second-largest shutout loss for Virginia against Virginia Tech in the history of the rivalry. The only larger one was a 48-0 drubbing in 1983.

David Wilson’s 153 yards rushing gave him 10 games this season with at least 100 yards. That’s tied with Western Kentucky’s Bobby Rainey (who had 217 yards Saturday in a win over Troy) for the most 100-yard games this season.

The Cavaliers had their bid for their first-ever five-game conference winning streak snapped.

The taking in the Wisconsin Badgers 45-7 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions was done by Montee Ball, who ran for four touchdowns, giving him 34 this season. That’s the second-most in FBS history, five shy of Barry Sanders single-season record set in 1988.

It was the second-worst loss for Penn State since joining the Big Ten back in 1993 (it lost 45-6 to Ohio State in 2000).

Wisconsin has won 16 straight home games, matching LSU for the longest active streak among FBS teams.

Penn State entered the day as a team poised to stop the Badgers quick-striking offense. The Nittany Lions entered the day having allowed only one touchdown drive all season that was accomplished in two minutes or less, but allowed three such touchdowns in this contest.

In other late-afternoon action:

Alabama scores, now sits
Alabama won the Iron Bowl by beating Auburn, 42-14. The Crimson Tide scored their most points against Auburn since a 48-21 win in 1977.
A.J. McCarron excelled throwing play-action passes, completing eight of nine passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. McCarron’s eight completions off play-action set a new career high.

Alabama, ranked No. 2 in the BCS, will not play in the season’s final week.

This will be the sixth time that a team has been in the top two spots of the BCS and not played in the last week of season.

Each of the previous five went on to play in the national title game (in other words: none got passed in the standings).

James adds to his ledger
LaMichael James had a rushing touchdown in Oregon’s 49-21 win over Oregon State, the 49th of his career, tying former USC running back Charles White for third-most in Pac-12 history.

The touchdown also gave him 324 points in his career, passing former kicker Jared Siegel (323) for the most career points scored in Oregon history.

Darron Thomas threw four touchdown passes and became the fourth Oregon quarterback with 60 career passing touchdowns.

The 49 points tied for the third-most ever scored by Oregon against its “Civil War” rival.

Winless No More
Lastly, Florida Atlantic beat UAB, 38-35, and became the last FBS team to win a game this season. Running back Alfred Morris set school records with 198 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Clemson, Virginia Tech streaks on the line

October, 1, 2011
The 13th-ranked Clemson Tigers travel to Blacksburg on Saturday to take on No. 11 Virginia Tech (ESPN2, 6 ET). Clemson leads the all-time series 17-12-1, but has lost five straight games against the Hokies, all by 17 points or more. In their last meeting in 2007, Virginia Tech returned a punt, a kickoff, and an interception for touchdowns en route to a 41-23 win in Death Valley.

Both teams come into Saturday’s ACC contest 4-0 and ranked in the AP Top 15. It’s the first time Clemson has started 4-0 since 2007 and the first time Virginia Tech has done it since 2006. Both the Hokies and Tigers failed to reach 5-0 in those seasons, each losing their fifth game of the year to Georgia Tech.

In its past two games, Clemson has defeated No. 21 Auburn and No. 11 Florida State, the first time Clemson has beaten ranked teams in consecutive games since 2005 (No. 17 Florida State and No. 19 South Carolina). Clemson has never beaten ranked teams in three consecutive games in the program’s history.

Virginia Tech comes in with a streak of its own, winning 12 straight ACC contests, including the 2010 ACC Championship game. Last season, the Hokies became the first team since Florida State in 2000 to go unbeaten in ACC play.

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd enters the weekend leading the ACC in pass efficiency (173.8, 11th in FBS) and passing yards per game (313.8, 12th in FBS). Boyd will face a stiff test Saturday as the Hokies lead the ACC in pass efficiency defense (88.6, 6th in FBS) and are ranked among the top 10 nationally in sacks (14) and interceptions (seven).

Boyd has been successful throwing the ball downfield, especially when compared to his opponent. Hokies QB Logan Thomas has completed just more than one-third of his passes and has yet to throw a touchdown on throws 10 or more yards down field; Boyd has completed more than half of those throws and has yet to be picked off.

When Virginia Tech has the ball it will look to the ground game and junior RB David Wilson. Wilson ranks second in the ACC and seventh nationally in rushing yards per game (129.0) and is tied for third in the conference with five rush touchdowns.

Since Frank Beamer took over as head coach in 1987, the Hokies are 178-32-2 when outrushing their opponent. Virginia Tech has not lost a game to an FBS school when outrushing them since 2008 (Boston College) and has outrushed its opponents 847-to-172 in four games this season.