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Stats That Matter | Northwestern St. vs. Texas Tech

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  A general view of play between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Baylor Bears at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26: A general view of play between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Baylor Bears at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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I would like to introduce you to a new weekly series, Stats That Matter. Maybe a more appropriate title name should be, Stats That Matter To Seth C, but hopefully you also think that these are important stats. Not the only stats, but usually when I take a look at a team, these are the stats that I look at when previewing a team. These aren't necessarily traditional stats, although some of them are, and I'm trying to give you a bit of traditional, but also a little bit of something different.

If you have any suggestions for other stats, feel free to stop them in the comments, but I can't do too many because it takes time to compile these and time is a bit short, but if you all comment enough, then I'll add a couple. I'll also note that I think I want to add the number of big plays, i.e. plays over 15 and 20 yards, but am curious if you think that's relevant in a comparison to an opponent.

Passes Broken Up 31 N/A
QB Hurries 16 N/A
Fumbles Forced 22 N/A
Interceptions 5 16
Sacks 16.0 13.0
Tackles for Loss 71.0 57.0
3rd Down Conversion % 47.09 N/A
Rushing Yards Allowed 258.83 135.91
Passing Yards Allowed 226.75 252.27


One clarification is that some of these stats are not available for FCS teams, which means we won't get some stats with Northwestern St., especially on defense. Also, these stats are from last year and once the teams get a game under their belt, I will start using the 2012 stats. That should be fixed by next week.

This first week, I thought I would give some reasons behind why I chose the stats that I did. Much of this was predicated on my looking at the absolutely pathetic Texas Tech defensive performance from 2011. I wanted to account for big plays and I wanted to track turnovers as a way that a team would perform, especially in comparison to the yards.

I can't help but think that these are the most important stats for a defense, although these stats don't highlight a particular player's performance. We'll highlight those players as the season progresses, either for Texas Tech or for an opponent.

Obviously, I think I'm incredibly slanted to the big play and I don't know if I'm flawed in thinking that way. The traditional way to measure the success of a defense is scoring defense and yards allowed, and I think those are important measures. I'm also adding the third down conversion rate for both the offense and defense and once Big 12 starts, I think I'm going to add the Big 12 rank if I have the time, but don't hold me to that.

The offense is after the jump.

Red Zone TD % 74.07 N/A
3rd Down Conversion % 48.17 N/A
Yards Per Passing Attempt 6.9 6.4
Touchdowns / Turnovers 52 / 18 28 / 22
Turnover Margin +1 +6
Yards Per Play 5.7 4.3
Sacks / Game 1.58 2.55
Rushing Yards 125.17 107.91
Passing Yards 345.42 175.45


I think my biggest problem with these collection of stats is that I don't account for any sort of rushing metric other than total rushing yards. I don't know if I should add yards per rush, but that's the one that I would possibly add.

The red zone touchdown percentage is a bit misleading, especially after what we looked at during the offseason which is that Texas Tech had trouble scoring at previous rates outside the red zone, but I think it's important. I also like the third down conversion rate and think that can be terribly important as to how well an offense is clicking. I think it will be interesting to track this all season long.

The yards per passing attempt is something that almost everyone has looked at for a long time and this will need to be higher this year for Doege, but I've always liked this statistic as a measure of how well a quarterback is going vertical.

The turnover numbers are important and I thought it would be good to look at the touchdowns to turnovers on a weekly basis. Surprisingly, Texas Tech wasn't all that bad in turnover margin, ending the season on the positive end of the spectrum, but there just weren't enough forced turnovers for me.

I've also included the yards per play as a small metric for me to figure out how explosive the offense is. The higher this figure, the more yards the offense is gaining on each play and considering the offense last year, I think that 5.7 is a good baseline and this must be better. Obviously, for a team like Texas Tech, the sacks per game is important. The fewer the better. And last, but not least, the yards per game passing and rushing. I look at those pretty much no matter what.

So there you go. Tell me what you think I could add, keeping in mind that I'd like to keep the number of statistics for offense and defense to about 10 each.

All helmet images via The Helmet Project and thanks to College Football Statistics for these stats.