Stats Academy: Numbers That Shaped 2012

Some football statistics can be overrated at times. Turnover differentials are virtually impossible to overrate. Ask the 2012 Navy football team.


NOTE: Army and Navy stats are courtesy of the website

AIR FORCE: 3-5 record in FBS games when outrushing an opponent

Some caution – but not too much of it – should be reserved for this particular statistic. It is true that triple-option teams will regularly outrush opponents, simply because the running game is so predominant in such an offensive system. More rushing yards and fewer passing yards will regularly emerge on the stat sheet each Saturday. It is unreasonable to expect Air Force to go 7-1 in the eight games in which it outrushes an opponent. However, 3-5 is certainly less than what Air Force coaches and players expect – rightly so. If you can't win at least half (or a slight majority) of games in which you establish your strength to an appreciable degree, you're missing genuine opportunities to win. This was true in a larger context for Air Force in 2012. If the Falcons outrush foes in eight games in 2013, one should expect a 5-3 mark.

ARMY: Quarterback hurries – registered a total of three hurries in 10 of its 11 FBS games, excluding the Eastern Michigan game (in which it posted seven hurries)

The odd part about this numerical fact is that Eastern Michigan still shredded Army's defense. The Black Knights accumulated seven hurries in that game partly because EMU passed the ball a lot. The true takeaway from this statistic is that the Black Knights were consistently unable to harass opposing passers. They'll have to find a way to generate more (and more meaningful…) pressure with their defensive front in 2013.

NAVY: Turnovers – a differential of 16 turnovers between its wins and losses

In Navy's seven FBS wins, the Midshipmen recorded a plus-eight turnover margin. In Navy's five FBS losses, the Mids posted a minus-eight turnover margin. Navy committed 4 turnovers and forced 12 in its wins, while coughing up 13 turnovers and forcing 5 in its losses. Much as Air Force was destroyed by turnovers in 2012, Navy was hurt when it played fast and loose with the pigskin. The difference, though, is that Navy had more days when it made turnovers work in its favor. Top Stories