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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Statistical Review: Oklahoma #13

When I reviewed Texas, I mocked their inability to stop the run and included a video of Oklahoma's Damien Williamson running 95 yards for a touchdown against Texas as evidence. This is somewhat ironic. This is ironic because, statistically, Oklahoma was just as bad.

Now, this is one case where using statistics to find the forest through the trees can lead us to miss the massive redwoods in the middle of an otherwise normal forest. Outside of two games, the Oklahoma run defense was normal. Against West Virginia and Texas A&M, they were non-existent. West Virginia rushed for 458 yards on 47 carries. That's a lot. Tavon Austin alone racked up an EPA of 27.1 on 25 touches - more than a point per touch. Texas A&M averaged more than 10 yards per carry on their way to 326 yards, and turned in the fifth best performance by EPA/rush of the season (the opponents in the top 4 were Savannah State, Florida A&M, Eastern Michigan, and New Mexico State). I'll leave it to the Xs and Os guys to tell you why Oklahoma struggled in these games.

On the other hand Oklahoma had an elite pass defense (except against Texas A&M and Notre Dame; you should, by now, have noticed a pattern: the OU defense wasn't very good against Texas A&M).

The Oklahoma offense was very good. Landry Jones was elite. Second in schedule adjusted EPA on pass plays and 10th in EPA+/pass. As a team, Oklahoma was 10th in EPA+/pass (but 4th in their conference). They lacked explosive plays in the pass game, but were top 10 in schedule adjusted sacks/pass and completion percentage. As a result, they enjoyed a healthy success rate on 3rd downs.

Oklahoma threw the ball a lot. The Sooners were one of 14 teams to attempt passes on more than 58% of their plays, and one of 26 teams to run the ball less than 57% of the time in short yardage situations. When they chose to run the ball, they were less effective; not bad, barely inside the top 40. They will need to do a better job running the ball in 2013.

And they better learn to stop the run. Baylor and Texas will be dynamic on the ground, Kansas State will be Kansas State, and I'm guessing Kingsbury has picked up a few pointers from his old pals in College Station.
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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