The regular season has officially concluded and bowl matchups are set. Now that all team stats are finalized, let’s look back at some of the numbers that stood out from the 2016 season.
Rushing Offense: 101.5 yards per game, 123rd in the nation
A lack of offensive balance plagued the team all year long. Most other quarterbacks would have collapsed under the pressure that Patrick Mahomes encountered all season long. Inexperience and injuries up front meant that the Red Raiders had to ride their star quarterback all season.
Side Note: Arizona State finished with 131.5 yards per game, good for only 112th in the country, despite the 301 yard annihilation they put on Tech in the second game of the season. Ouch.
First Downs: 30 per game, 1st in the nation
Chain gang workers should have been paid overtime for working Tech games. The offense was 1st in the country by a mile in 1st downs gained, and the defense gave up the 2nd most. The offense may have been one dimensional, but that dimension moved the sticks better than anyone else.
Side Note: Thirty six teams had less than 238 first downs gained. Tech had 238 first downs through the air alone.
Penalty Yards: 62 yards per game, 103rd in the nation
Penalties were often untimely and usually avoidable. With such little margin for error, a cleaner season in this department could have certainly helped. In close losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma, Tech had a combined 192 penalty yards, compared to 110 from the Wildcats and Sooners. However, in close losses to Texas and Oklahoma State, Tech actually won the penalty yards category by a combined 29 yards to 179 yards.
Side Note: Navy was the least penalized team in the nation, costing themselves an average of only 21.33 yards per game. Baylor was last, committing 78.58 penalty yards per game.
Passing Yards: 463 yards per game, 1st in the nation
Mahomes had 757 more passing yards than the number two passer, former Tech QB Davis Webb. Only three passers were within 1,000 yards of his 5,052 yard tally. Add in his rushing numbers, and the Sammy Baugh Award winner alone would have placed 45th among schools in total offense by himself.
Side Note: If you took only Mahomes’ top six passing games, he would have still ranked 19th in the country in passing yards, which would only be 73 yards behind Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson.
Kickoff Returns: 17.46 yard average, 123rd in the nation
Remember Jakeem Grant? He sure was fun to watch.
You would think the kickoff return team would have performed better with all the work they got. Instead, the offense routinely started deep in its own territory. There were no kicks run back for touchdowns this year and few that outperformed what a touchback would have yielded.
Side Note: The punt return team finished ranked 38th in average return yards. These are obviously small samples so any averages will be a bit misleading, so look for these to normalize somewhat next season.
These were just some of many interesting and relevant facts about the team this year. There’s a stat for everything these days, but when analyzed collectively and correctly they can provide insight into how a team really performed. What were some stats that stood out to you this season?