Stats That Matter | Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

A quick look at some important statistics for the Meineke Car Care Bowl between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

THE DEFENSES

STATISTIC
Passes Broken Up 47 50
QB Hurries 14 1
Fumbles Forced 3 9
Interceptions 7 11
Sacks 16.0 25.0
Tackles for Loss 62.0 62.0
3rd Down Conversion % 38.95% 40.57%
Rushing Yards Allowed 171.42 (73, 6) 174.25 (76, 8)
Rushing Avg. Yards/Attempt 4.39 4.61
Passing Yards Allowed 195.83 (23, 1) 178.50 (11, 4)
Passing Avg Yards/Attempt 6.8 6.0

Some pretty interesting things here. Most shocking is Minnesota's 1 quarterback hurry. Still, the Gophers have more sacks than Texas Tech, which probably speaks more to Texas Tech's somewhat anemic ability to rush the passer. Unfortunately, Texas Tech just hasn't been able to get to the passer in a passing conference.

Also pretty interesting that Texas Tech and Minnesota are pretty much dead-even in terms of rushing defense and are also similar in pass defense. They're within 23 yards of pass defense. Having not seen any Minnesota football this year, I'd guess that these two teams are incredibly similar in terms of performance.

They're also incredibly similar in just about every other category, including tackles for loss, third down conversion and passes broken up. So it is one of those situations where if the defenses are pretty much equals, then you might go with the more offensive team?

THE OFFENSES

STATISTIC
Red Zone TD % 68.25% (43/63) 58.33% (21/36)
3rd Down Conversion % 48.45% 34.36%
Passing Yards 361.92 (2, 1) 171.42 (105, 9)
Yards/Passing Attempt 7.9 6.6
Rushing Yards 139.50 (86, 10) 146.08 (79, 8)
Rushing Yards Per Attempt 4.46 3.79
Touchdowns | Turnovers 58 | 22 31 | 21
Turnover Margin -1.00 -0.25
Yards/Play 6.53 4.92
Pass Attempt / Sacks Allowed 30.38 17.27

So it is very obvious that Texas Tech has the better offense. For the most part of the year, Minnesota was really running the ball pretty well. Had over 100 yards for every game except for Wisconsin leading up to the last two games of the year. And then Minnesota only managed 87 yards against Nebraska and then only managed 4 yards on 19 carries against Penn St. Again, this is not another typo, that's 4 yards on 19 carries. So the Minnesota rush offense is probably better than their numbers indicate and were significantly affected by those last two games.

Minnesota struggles on third downs, they don't pass very well and they rush for about the same number of yards as Texas Tech. The one advantage is that they do convert at a pretty high rate in the redzone, but they just haven't had that many opportunities.

The other significant item to note is that receiver A.J. Barker left or quit the team amid allegatiosn of player mistreatment of Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill. Barker led the Gophers in touchdowns with 7, so this is obviously a bit problematic for Minnesota's ability to score. I'm sure that someone will step up, but for now, it is an issue.

All helmet images via MG's Helmets and thanks to College Football Statistics for these stats.

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