Last Week - A Data Investigation

It’s me, back again, playing with more data from and Bill Connelly. He has a link to a google doc in his post here - you can look up these numbers and do what you will with them as well.

Date Offense Points Plays Yards Yards Per Play Drives Scoring Opps Scores Pts Per Opp Avg Field Pos. Success Rate TO Margin Exp TO Margin Diff
9/3/16 South Dakota State 41 69 476 6.90 15 7 7.00 5.86 27.3 39% 1 -0.14 1.14
9/3/16 TCU 59 89 618 6.94 14 10 9.00 5.20 32.3 56% -1 0.14 -1.14

Initially, what we see is TCU had twenty more plays, 142 more yards, .04 more yards/play. 3 more scoring opportunities, .46 fewer points per opportunity, 5 yards better on field position, 17 percentage points more successful, -2 in turnover margin.


This means that TCU won by doing less with more. TCU had more scoring opportunities, better field position, and still managed basically the same yard per play as SDSU, they just had more plays, more drives, and less ground to cover. With the exception of being minus two on turnovers, a blind box score might believe this is a great first week for the offense, which isn't really far from the truth. When they were able to establish the run game and take some pressure off of Kenny Worth Hills, they produced at a near-magnificent level.

The problem is of course the defense. Against an FCS team with only one receiver, albeit a good FCS team with only one receiver, TCU allowed ~7 yards a play. That won't fly, going forward. Also, TCU struggled to stop SDSU from scoring. A low points per scoring opportunity is the hallmark of a resilient defense, and this defense was certainly nothing near resembling what could be considered resilient last weekend.

This will certainly be amended as the season develops, but the initial profile for this Frog team looks to be one of explosive offense and inconsistent defense – we’ve certainly seen that before. Against Arkansas, who struggled last week, and who plays a style a bit more of a matchup plus for TCU, expect that offensive explosiveness to continue, and that defensive resilience to be tested, forged even.

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