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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Statistical Review: Kent State #40

Kent State did one thing exceptionally well in 2012 on defense: force turnovers. They turned their opponents over 38 times. The 35 turnovers forced by the defense were worth 113 points, more than turnover gurus Oregon (109), Boise State (104) and Kansas State (98). Their second best attribute is that they didn't have any glaring weaknesses: above average in the red zone and on 3rd downs and roughly average everywhere else. The result was a slightly better than average points per possession allowed but very good field position for the offense (average 34 yard line).

The offense was one-sided; they ran the ball 60% of the time and probably should have done it more. The Flashes had one of the nation's 15 least efficient passing offenses, two spots behind Tulane and just ahead of South Alabama. QB Spencer Keith was 154th in per pass efficiency among the 180 top quarterbacks nationally by pass attempts, below Army's Trent Steelman and twice as bad as Danny O'Brien. He completed 55% of his passes, 40% on 3rd and long, averaged 11 yards per completion and 3% of passes went to the wrong team; to his credit, he was consistently inefficient.

The running game, more accurately the Dri Archer game, was a different story. Archer was worth 104 points in 2012 by EPA, most in the nation for a running back, and was 3rd behind Kenjon Barner and Eddie Lacy after adjusting for the schedule. He was 9th in schedule adjusted per rush efficiency among running backs, sandwiched between TJ Yeldon and Kenjon Barner. He did this largely with big plays: Kent State was third behind Texas A&M and Utah State in explosive plays per carry. Archer went 25 yards on 10% of touches. He led all running backs with 9 yards per carry, 50% more than any other back with at least 150 carries. He was also the Golden Flash's leading receiver by a healthy margin.

Statistically, the outlook is poor. While Boise State has made of living of big turnover margins, I'm not convinced Kent State will be able to repeat. I don't see any reason for optimism behind center. And Dri Archer could only be more productive by giving him more touches, and given his size and the big role he played in 2012 that might not be an option. Add in a coaching change, and I'm concerned that the 2012 season might have been a Golden Flash in the pan.
The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions of the stats used in the table below.

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