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Bowl Preview, Part 1: Stats

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TCU and Louisiana Tech have never met on the gridiron. So let's begin bowl season at Frogs O' War with stat comparison of the two teams. This is number heavy, but it shows some interesting thing.

First: the statistical averages of TCU's and LaTech's opponents are pretty similar. Generally TCU faced better rushing attacks (about 53rd nationally; LaTech's opponents averaged about 66th nationally) but worse passing attacks (about 60th nationally, comparied to LaTech's opponents, which averaged about 48th nationally). LaTech's opponents generally scored a little more (scoring offenses of its opponents averaged about 56th; TCU's opponents averaged about 63rd nationally) but TCU's opponents were, on average, slightly stingier defensively (TCU's opponents' average scoring defense: 67th; LaTech's: 72nd).

By itself, these stats aren't hugely helpful. But the second order comparison that does throw some light on the matchup is the way TCU's and LaTech's offense and defenses played in the face of these averaged opponents. The difference is stark and consistent.

TCU clobbered its opponents a lot more, and more consistently than Louisiana Tech did. The Frogs' rushing offense is 77 ranks higher than LaTech's; passing offense: 24 ranks higher; pass efficiency: 95 ranks higher; sacks allowed: 101 ranks higher (perhaps this explains TCU's higher higher pass efficiency?); total offense: 80 ranks higher; scoring offense: 73 ranks higher; pass defense: 58 ranks higher; total defense: 17 ranks higher; scoring defense: 20 ranks higher; punt returns: 58 ranks higher.

You get the idea.

Louisiana Tech out-ranks TCU in a few categories: the Bulldogs have a stiffer rush defense than TCU; get much better punting (the Bulldog punter won the Lou Groza award, and rightfully so-- he averages over 48 yards per punt!). Louisiana Tech sacks its opponents more than TCU, and tackles behind the line more, and, not surprisingly, has a slightly better turnover margin than the Frogs.

So it's high-risk, high-reward for the Bulldog defense; but they play that way without the luxury of an efficient offense. TCU's defense is sometimes described this way, also, but the Frogs' defense has played knowing its offense can put up points, at times seemingly at will.