Get ready Sun Devil Nation, the Texas Tech Air Raid offense is headed for Tempe. Points will be scored, yards will be gained, passes will be flying. There are plenty of stats to dig through to better understand the Red Raider offense and defense, so let’s get started:
This Week’s Stat 12-Pack
1. In the first half of their games last season, Texas Tech scored twice as many offensive touchdowns as did the Devils
2. Last season, only about a third of the offensive yards for Texas Tech came from running the ball, but about half their offensive touchdowns came on the ground
3. Last year, the Texas Tech offense converted over half of all their third down opportunities, while their defense allowed almost half of their opponents’ third down opportunities to be converted
4. Combined, Texas Tech & ASU averaged roughly 80 points per game last year, but combined, they only averaged outscoring their opponents by about three points per game
5. Last year the Red Raider offense averaged almost six offensive touchdowns per game, while their defense averaged giving up roughly six yards per carry on the ground
6. Texas Tech averaged scoring almost 60 points per home game last year, while averaging just under 33 points on the road this would have tied them for fifth in the Pac-12 conference for scoring points on the road
7. Twelve of the 15 interceptions thrown last year by the Red Raider offense happened in their seven road contests
8. In the fourth quarter last year, the Texas Tech defense surrendered a touchdown in over half the drives they faced
9. Last season, 20 of the 34 rushing touchdowns scored by the Texas Tech offense happened against just four teams
10. In the first quarter of their games last year, ASU defense held almost 40-percent of their opponents’ drives to three plays and a punt
11. In four of their first seven games, the Red Raider offense gained over 200 yards rushing, whereas in the last six games that only happened twice
12. The Red Raider defense gave up an average of 6.6 yards per carry in their road games last season, and almost four-and-a-half rushing touchdowns per game
Decoding the Stats
Last season, the Texas Tech offense was prolific in the air and on the ground, however, their productivity was astronomical at home, while a little more down to earth in their road games. That may bode well for the ASU faithful with a game in Tempe. Additionally, the Red Raider defense fared a little worse statistically than the Devils last year, where they averaged giving up roughly ten points more per game than the Devil defense.
On the road, the Texas Tech passing game saw a decrease of five percent between the completion rate at home vs. on the road. Additionally, the average yards per pass attempt decreased 17-percent, while the touchdown passes per game declined 40-percent in home vs. road games. The running game also saw a decline between the Red Raider offense at home and on the road, with a decrease of 26-percent in the average yards per carry and a 53-percent decrease in the average rushing touchdowns per game.
These road performance variances for Texas Tech are pitted against an ASU defense that fell apart in their pass defense last season. While the passing statistics on defense were better in their home games compared to their road contests, the Devil defense still placed last in the conference in the average yards per pass attempts they allowed at home and next to last in the number of touchdowns passes they gave up in games at Sun Devil Stadium. The burning question for Saturday night will be if the ASU secondary has improved. If not, the Red Raider passing game may put up some unreal numbers.
As far as the rush defense goes, ASU did much better in their road games than in their home games compared to the rest of the Pac-12 conference. Last season, ASU was first in the average yards per carry allowed, total rushing yards allowed, and rushing touchdowns allowed in road games, however in their home games, the ASU defense placed either sixth or seventh in those same categories.
The ASU run game is a positive note for Devil fans as it appears to be a strength of the offense this year. On the flip side, the Red Raider 2015 run defense was pretty darn generous in the rushing yards and touchdowns they allowed in their road games. How this plays out will also be another significant factor in the game.
Most everyone knows the ASU defense is built upon getting turnovers. It’s a staple of Todd Graham’s defense. Last season, the prolific Texas Tech passing game was a little careless in protecting the ball in road games, where they surrendered twelve interceptions. That would have placed them in last place in the Pac-12 conference last year in road game turnovers. A big factor this Saturday will be ASU’s ability to get turnovers and Texas Tech’s ability to protect the ball.
How each team comes out of the gate may also play an important part in the game, as the ASU defense averaged allowing only about one out of every seven and a half opponent drives to score a touchdown in the first quarter, while the Texas Tech offense scored touchdowns over three times that rate in the same quarter. Which team establishes their first quarter strength will go a long way in determining which team will prevail.
With so much offense and two suspect defenses on display this Saturday, it may come down to which defense is able to get their opponent to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. Again, points will be scored, but Sparky says lots of threes are better than lots of sevens.
Sources: pac-12.com & cfbstats.com