Gary Doran

Advanced Stats 12-Pack: ASU vs UofA

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It is Territorial Cup Week, and both Arizona schools are limping into the rivalry game with the two schools combined having lost a combined 13 games in a row. ASU needs a win to become bowl eligible while the Wildcats are playing the spoiler card. The stats look like two teams that are on streaks of futility, however, let’s see if there are any meaningful differences:

CONFERENCE COACHING RECORDS SINCE 2012

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The big thing that jumps out at you in this table is that Rich Rodriguez has only had one season with a winning record in conference play. Just not sure why he gets so much national positive publicity.

OFFENSIVE STATS

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DEFENSIVE STATS

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OPPONENT STAT TRENDS

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RED ZONE EFFICIENCY

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THIS WEEK’S STAT 12-PACK

1.Arizona is last in the conference in the percentage of times it scores a red zone touchdown, and is tied for last in the number of red zone touchdowns scored.
2.Ten of the 19 rushing touchdowns scored by the Wildcats this season came against the three non-conference opponents.
3.Arizona is second in the conference in the number of carries that have covered 20 yards or more with 29, while ASU is tied for last with only eight.
4.Arizona is last in the conference in the percentage of pass completion in conference play with less than 50-percent.
5.Arizona has the fewest red zone touchdown reception in the conference with only five, while ASU has thrown the most red zone interceptions in the conference at four.
6.The Wildcats only have four takeaways in conference play, while losing the ball 18 times.
7.Arizona only has two touchdown receptions in the first quarter of their games this season, and only one in the third quarter.
8.The Arizona defense has only gotten three interceptions in conference play in facing 251 pass attempts.
9.In the first half of their games this season, the Wildcat defense has given up 19 touchdown receptions, and have only intercepted two passes.
10.In the last three games, the Wildcats have allowed roughly 66% of their opponents’ third down opportunities to be converted to first down (27/41).
11.Arizona is tied for first in the conference with the most plays that cover 50 yards or more with eleven, and ASU is last in the conference in allowing 17 plays of 50 yards or more.
12.Arizona is last in the conference in the time of possession by its offense averaging 26 minutes per game.

DECODING THE STATS

The raw numbers for both ASU and UofA are very similar, however when you look at the stats in a little more detail, there is a bit more separation in some key areas. The biggest difference between the two teams happens in the red zone on both offense and defense. ASU has scored twelve more red zone touchdowns than the Wildcats. On defense, the Wildcats have given up 16 more red zone touchdowns than the Devils.

Another area of difference between the two teams is in turnovers. Although ASU has a zero turnover margin in conference play this season, the Wildcats are staring at a negative 14. The margin difference is primarily due to ASU’s 14 conference takeaways, while UofA only has four. The one troubling turnover area for ASU is in the red zone where the Devils have thrown four interceptions in only 35 pass attempts.  That is four times ASU left their opponents’ red zones with zero points.

Third down conversions is another area where the two teams differ. On offense in conference play, the Wildcats have converted 37.84-percent of their opportunities, while ASU converted just 30.23-percent of their opportunities. The defense is where a bigger difference occurs, as the Wildcats have surrendered a first down 51.35-percent of the time in conference play and the Devils just 36.13-percent. That is not a good stat when your opponents covert more than half their third down opportunities; it leaves the defense on the field too long, and takes time away from your offense.

The last area where the two teams seems far apart is in completing passes. ASU has completed over 50-percent of it pass attempts in seven of the eight conference games, whereas the Wildcats have only done that in three of their conference games. Neither team is stellar in their passing game, however, when a team consistently completes less than half of their passes, there’s a real weakness.

Both teams have struggled this season and both are currently sporting losing records, however, it’s the Territorial Cup where records don’t matter. A win in this game can make either team’s season.

Sources: pac-12.com, cfbstats.com

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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