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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Statistical Review: Boise State #23

Boise State outscored opponents by 60 points on the value of turnovers alone. For the season, they outscored their opponents by 187 points, so turnovers made up a third of that advantage. The Broncos forced turnovers on 22% of possessions, most in the country. They were particularly good at forcing fumbles - opponents fumbled on 2.2% of plays. On the other side, they coughed the ball up on a paltry 8.8% of possessions.

But they also outscored opponents by scoring more points in more traditional ways. On defense they were mediocre in many ways but excellent when defending the pass. They allowed completions on 58% of passes, significantly higher than the other elite pass defenses, but only 10.0 yards per completion, and they got sacks on 9% of pass plays.

The offense was also most effective when throwing the ball, or rather, attempting to throw the ball. They were 6th nationally in fewest sacks per pass play. Southwick was adequate but not inspirational. At 36th in EPA/pass, he was sandwiched between Everett Golson and Miami's Stepen Morris (which also tells you something about how Golson and Morris might have been over- or underrated as passers). He was very efficient on short passes - he completed 67% overall - but he completed 58% on 3rd and long and gained 25 or more yards on only 4.8% of pass attempts.

The depth of the Boise program will be tested again as they have to replace some key cogs in the stellar pass defense, but the attrition post-2012 is nothing compared to what they experienced a season earlier. Then again, 11 wins in 2012 may have been a false positive. Boise State was no longer elite on offense or defense. Unlike in the past, where the strong turnover margin was icing, the Broncos needed those turnovers to survive. And while I don't projection regression in turnovers for Boise State, at some point the laws of statistics might come calling. If that happens in 2013, it could be a long season for the men in blue.
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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