Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Stats that matter: Oklahoma-Texas
By Max Olson
Each week, HornsNation teams up with the ESPN Stats and Info crew to dig into the numbers that matter most and find three statistics which could make a big difference on Saturday. Here are the numbers to remember going into the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma (11 a.m. CT, ABC).
No. 1: Nine
When Oklahoma loads the box to stop Johnathan Gray and the Texas running backs, how will Case McCoy respond? A run of three-and-outs early in this game would be costly for the Longhorns. In McCoy's first two starts this season, Texas has a combined nine three-and-out drives. Six possessions have ended with touchdowns and four have with field goals.
Last season, Texas went three-and-out on eight possessions, including each of its first four drives. That's usually a pretty easy recipe for a big loss, and for the sake of their defense, the Longhorns just can't afford to get off the field that quickly so many times.
No. 2: 3.76
Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell is known for being the "Belldozer" for his power rushing, and he's only averaging 3.76 yards per carry in the past two seasons. In fact, he only has one career rush of more than 30 yards -- a 55-yard run against Baylor in 2012.
It would be a real surprise if Bell is busting long runs against Texas, but there's no doubt the Sooners will try to capitalize on the advantage it has with a rushing quarterback against the nation's worst quarterback rushing defense. Bell ran for four scores against Texas last season. What can he do on the ground this time?
No. 3: 99.2 percent
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There are a few ways in which Texas can scrape out a win in this ball game. But, obviously, the Longhorns don't stand a chance if they can't make this a four-quarter game. According to ESPN Stats, Oklahoma's win probability at halftime of last season's Red River Rivalry game was 99.2 percent. In 2011, it was 96.5 percent at the half. Back in 2010, that number was just 87.2 percent.
In each of their past two meetings, the Sooners hit 100 percent win probability before the end of the third quarter. In 2010, OU was a 96.9 percent favorite entering the fourth quarter and Texas mounted a minor rally. The Sooners weren't 100 percent until less that two minutes remained. Simply put, Texas can't afford another game that's already over at halftime.
Three more to remember
59: Texas once again leads the Big 12 in missed tackles this season with 59, 14 more than any other school in the conference.
Two: The number of times Oklahoma turned the ball over against Texas in 2011 and 2012 combined. Texas is 15-2 since 2010 when it has a positive turnover margin.
1-0: Texas is now undefeated when McCoy attempts more than 40 passes.