Gary Doran

Advanced Stats Report: Colorado Buffaloes


As we continue our Advanced Stats Report series, we look at the following graphs exhibiting how Arizona State’s sixth opponent, third straight out of the South Division, match-up by the numbers..

Offensive Production


– From 2012 to 2014, the Colorado offense increased its scoring by more than ten points per game
– In 2014, the difference between games the Buffaloes won and the games they lost was only three points; down from 18.7 points in 2012 and 23.0 point differential in 2013


– Colorado only averaged scoring twelve points per game in the second half of their games in 2014


– In 2104, ten of the 13 rushing touchdowns for the Buffaloes were scored in the second quarter of their games
– In 2014, ten of the 13 rushing touchdowns for the Buffaloes were scored in games the Buffaloes lost


– In 2014, the Buffalo offense averaged running eight plays per game more than the ASU offense


– In each of the last three years, the average yards per game decreased each month of the season except for November 2013


– In 2014, the Buffalo offense averaged 3.6 yards per carry in the first half of their games and 4.7 in the second half
– In 2014, the Colorado running games only averaged 3.2 yards per carry when they were tied or ahead in the game and 4.94 when they were losing


– In 2014, the Colorado passing game averaged 7.5 yards per pass attempt in the first quarter, 6.9 in the second quarter, 6.0 in the third quarter and 4.9 in the fourth quarter


– In 2014, the passing completion rate stayed 63.0 percent or better each month of the season
– In 2014, the passing completion rate was 64.0 percent in games the Buffaloes lost and 63.2 percent in games they won


– In 2014, all 15 interceptions thrown for the year were thrown when Colorado was in its own territory setting up its opponents with good field position


– In 2014, the conversion rate on third down dropped from 42 percent to 31 percent from September to October, then jumped back up to 42 percent again in Nov.
– In 2012, the Colorado offense successfully converted 53 third down tries, while in 2014, the offense converted 81 third down tries, a 52 percent increase


– In 2014, the Buffalo offense scored a red zone touchdown almost 70 percent of their opportunities on the road and only 59 percent of their opportunities at home

Defensive Output


– In 2014, the Colorado defense game up over 44 points per game on the road and less than 34 points per game at home


– In 2014, the Colorado defense game up the most points in the third quarter, which is the quarter in which the ASU offense scored the fewest point in 2014


– In the first half of all their games in 2014, the Colorado defense gave up a passing touchdown once every 10.9 pass attempts and only one every 12.5 passes in the second half
– In six game against ranked opponents in 2014, the Colorado defense gave up eleven touchdowns on the ground and in six games against unranked teams the defense gave up ten touchdowns
– In 2014, only three of the 21 touchdown the Colorado defense allowed to be scored on the ground happened on a third down play


– In 2014, the Colorado offense ran roughly 150 more plays than the Colorado defense faced


– From 2012 to the 2014 season, the Colorado offense has increased the yards gained per game by 137 yards, while the Colorado defense has reduced the yards per game it allows by only 23 yards


– In the first quarter of its games in 2014, the Colorado defense yielded 7.2 yards per carry, while it allowed an average of only 5.1 yards per carry in the remaining three quarters


– In 2014, the Colorado defense allowed 7.0 yards per pass attempt from August-September, in the October games the average yards per pass attempt increased to 7.7 and in the November games the yards per pass attempt increased again to 8.2


– In 2014 when the Buffaloes were winning, they allowed only 55 percent of opponent passes to be completed; however when they were losing, the defense allowed 67 percent of opponent passes to be completed


– In the first nine games in 2014, the Colorado defense allowed only 35 percent of their opponents’ third down opportunities to be converted to a first down, while they allowed 52 percent of opponent opportunities to be converted in the last three games of the season


– In the first eight games in 2014, the Colorado defense allowed a touchdown roughly 70 percent of the time an opponent entered the Buffaloes red zone; however in the last four games of 2014, the defense allowed a touchdown only 53 percent of the time an opponent entered its red zone


In 2014, the Colorado defense registered 4.67 TFLs per game against ranked opponents and 4.50 per game against unranked opponents; not a big change


– In 2014, the defensive line position made three quarters of all the sacks registered by the Colorado defense


– In 2014, only one Colorado defensive player made an interception: Tedrick Thompson in facing 437 opponent pass attempts

What the Numbers Say

The Colorado offense is definitely on the upswing. Points per game, first downs per game, average yards per carry, completion percentages and even third down conversions have all been going up since Mike MacIntyre took over the program. In a Pac-12 Conference full of healthy offenses from top-to-bottom, they are not yet at the level necessary to compete for a division crown, but headed in the right direction.

Although there have been some slight improvements, the Colorado defense still seems to be a liability in getting the team to be fully competitive. A team cannot give up an average of almost 40 points a game and compete at a higher level. Additionally, a team that only intercepts three passes in over 430 passes it faced in 2014, and averages only about 1.5 sacks per game over the past three years, that team is not disrupting the offensive flow of opponents very often. Finally, a team that allows a touchdown roughly two out of every three times an opponent enters its red zone over the past two years is yielding too much at a critical time.

About Gary Doran

Gary Doran

Gary graduated from ASU many years ago. After careers working in banking, finance and the financial administration of academic research funding, he is now interested in utilizing his passion for numbers towards two things he thoroughly loves; Arizona State University and college football. He is looking forward to finding the “stories” buried within the numbers on a football stat sheet. He has gone to ASU football games all the way back to the days of Frank Kush and the WAC. He has been married to an amazing ASU graduate for almost forty years, and they currently live in Ventura, CA. Although this may disqualify him from talking football, he and his wife enjoy the practice of yoga and dancing the Argentine Tango. Ole!

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