Game Week: Texas Statistical Analysis

SEP. 12 -- Texas' offense is, conservatively, on the low end of mediocre, while its defense is off to a good start so far in 2014...

Charlie Strong is a hell of a coach. He won 23 of the 26 games he coached at Louisville after the team had only won 10 of the previous 27. BYU debacle aside, he has shown that he can turn a program around in a hurry. Will he able to get a cornerstone victory against UCLA? Let’s check the stats.

We have a couple of games of info now, but that’s still a pretty small sample size so we will include both the 2013 and 2014 Texas stats. For descriptions of why we use these particular stats, go here.

Color Code:

2013 Texas Overview:

Continuing with the additional stats that we had in last week’s Memphis Preview, the Longhorns scored 4.2 points per trip inside the 40 last season, good for 74th in the country. They allowed 3.9 points per trip inside the 40, ranking 37th in the country. This tells us that they weren’t particularly good at taking advantage of scoring opportunities, though they did a decent job of preventing teams from scoring.

Their offensive Success Rate (as we pointed out last week, a stat based on how well the offense can stay on schedule and convert on 3rd and 4th down) was 39.4%, 89th in the country, while the defense allowed opponents a success rate of 41.0%, 48th in the country.

Finally, Texas’s Points per Play (an explosiveness measure taken using the expected number of points for a given offense from each yard line) was 1.11, 78th in the country, while the defense allowed a PPP of 1.2, 90th in the country.

2014 Texas Overview

So far this year, Texas has allowed 3.4 points per trip inside the 40, which would be a near-elite ranking if the Longhorns keep it up over the whole year. They have scored 3.45 points per trip inside the 40 thus far, which puts them down among the worst teams in the nation.

I promise I didn’t choose burnt orange to signify middling numbers on purpose, but boy, do we see a lot of it when looking at the Texas offensive numbers. In 2013, they were on the low end of mediocre in every offensive stat we track, and despite a season opening romp against North Texas, the numbers look even worse this year. While it is natural to expect some growing pains in the first year of a new scheme (not to mention with an attrition rate nearing 2007 UCLA Quarterback status), the Longhorn offense needs a ton of work. Last week, the UCLA defense was absolutely shredded by another offense with a weak statistical profile, so the team will need to focus if it wants to repeat the first half effort against Virginia. Strong’s Louisville teams were mainstays near the top of many offensive stats, so the possibility for a breakout is there.

The defense was a little better than the offense in 2013, and (mostly thanks to a dominant effort against North Texas), it is off to a good start this year. The 2013 Longhorn defense was not elite by any stretch, but they were pretty good at preventing opponents from taking advantage of scoring position. This year, the defense started very well against North Texas, then had a pretty bad game against BYU. If we just took the BYU stats, the defense would have still been around the 70s in rankings for Yards Allowed Per Stop, but the Points Allowed Per Drive was really, really bad. The defense actually did a pretty good job at limiting BYU to 4.9 Yards per Play, which is still a top 25-level showing. Overall, the numbers say that Texas should be a better defense than Memphis, but a good offense should still put a lot of points on the board.

Of course everything this early comes with the caveat that we are still in small sample size territory. Just looking at the UCLA stats so far as we did in the week’s Memphis Review, we see how big variance can be this early in the year. If the UCLA offense against Memphis and defense against Virginia shows up, the Bruins should be in good shape, but Texas is solid enough that repeat poor performances by either side of the ball could put UCLA in trouble.

Bonus Stat

UCLA points against Texas in games Alex attends: 135
Texas points in games Alex attends: 83

See you at Jerryworld (Section 308, if you want to say hello).

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