Gary Doran

Advanced Stats Report: Arizona State

on

As the 2016 edition of the Arizona State Sun Devils get ready to kick off their season, here is our preview of the team based on the stats of where they’ve been in terms of performance. First off, below are the win-loss records for ASU against all the other Pac 12 teams. The records are only for games where both teams were in the conference at the same time. For nine of the schools, only match ups starting in 1978 are counted, while for Colorado and Utah, it’s only games since 2011.

PAC 12 TEAMS                                                           DECADE
Arizona……….…………….17-20-1                                     1970’s…………..……..……8-7…….……(.533)
California…….……………16-15                                         1980’s…………..…………40-27-4…….(.597)
Colorado……….……………5—0                                         1990’s…………..…………43-36….……(.544)
Oregon………..….…..…….15-18                                        2000’s…………..…………37-47……….(.440)
Oregon State….…………..22–8-1                                    2010 to Present……….31-23…..…….(.574)
Stanford………….…..…….17-13                                       COACH
UCLA…………………….….12-18-1                                    Kush/Owens….…………..8-7…………(.533)
USC……………….…..……..12-19                                       Rogers……………………..21-14-1……..(.600)
Utah…………..…..………….4—1                                        Cooper………………….….13-6-2….…..(.684)
Washington…………..…..18-15                                       Marmie…….……………..12-16-1………(.429)
Washington State………21-13-1                                     Snyder…….……………….40-32……..…(.555)
TOTAL…………………….159-140-4(.532)        Koetter….…………………21-28……,.,…(.429)
……………………………………………………………………….Erickson.….……………….21-24…,…….(.467)
……………………………………………………………………….Graham.…….…………….23-13…………(.639)

ASU has winning records against seven of the eleven conference rivals, however, it’s a .519 winning percentage against their Pac 10 opponents and .900 against the newer Pac 12 rivals, (Colo. and Utah). Five of the eight ASU coaching regimes have winning records in conference games. However, three of the four coaching staffs between John Cooper and the current coach Todd Graham had losing records in conference play. In that stretch, ASU’s record was 94-100, (.485). In effect, over the 24 years before Todd Graham was hired, ASU had an overall losing record in conference play. No wonder the fan base has been somewhat slow to fully jump on the ASU bandwagon.

Here are stats from the 2015 season: (2015 Record, Overall: 6-7 – Conference: 4-5)

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION
Offense– In the last four years when ASU scored two or more rushing touchdowns in a game, they were 24-5, when  they scored less than two rushing touchdowns, they were 10-14
– In 2012 and 2013, the ASU offense averaged running the ball 66-percent of the time in opponents’ red  zones, in 2014 the percent of red zone running plays dropped to 59-percent, and in 2015 it dropped again  to 53-percent
– In 2012 and 2013, it took the ASU offense an average of 4.40 running plays per rushing touchdown when  they were in their opponents’ red zones, in 2014, the averaged increased to 5.94 and last year it jumped  again to 6.79 plays to get a red zone rushing touchdown
– Each of the last three seasons, the offense averaged needing to run more plays per touchdown, (2012- 16.9, 2013-17.2, 2014-18.1, 2-15-21.8)
– In each season over the last four years, ASU has increased its average yards per carry when they have the  lead
– While the number of passing first downs have remained pretty much the same, the number of rushing  first downs dropped significantly in 2014 and 2015
– The average yards per carry on third down plays dipped significantly in 2014 and 2015
– In both 2012 and 2013, ASU scored 18 fourth quarter rushing touchdowns, while in both 2014 and 2015  only eight were scored in the fourth quarter
– In each of the last three years, the number of carries covering ten yards or more declined, (2012-92, 2013- 88, 2014-77, 2015-68)
– In 2012, 2013 and 2014, ASU averaged scoring 15.3 first half rushing touchdowns, whereas in 2015 the  team only scored seven first half rushing touchdowns
– The 4.25 average yards per carry in November 2015 was the highest average for the month of November  since 2011
– In the four years with Mike Norvell serving as offensive coordinator, ASU scored the most passing touchdowns going into halftime,  (2nd Quarter), and scored the fewest coming out of halftime, (3rd Quarter)
– In the 16 quarters played over the last four years, ASU has had only three where their pass completion  rate was less than 60-percent
– Last season was the first time in four years where ASU completed a greater number of receptions  covering 25-yards or more in the second half than the first
– In every one of the last four seasons, ASU has thrown more interceptions in the second half than in the  first
– 2014 was the only season in the past four years where the completion percentage was higher in the  second half than in the first
– Each season over the last three years, on average, it has taken more passes per 15+ yard reception, (2012- 4.64, 2013-5.37, 2014-5.49, 2015-6.50)
– Over the past four years, 41.1-percent of the pass attempts, 33.4-percent of the pass completions, 33.6-  percent of the touchdown passes and 52.4-percent of the interceptions happened when ASU was behind in  the game
– In 2012 and 2013 combined, ASU threw 54.1-percent of its touchdown passes from within their  opponents’ red zones, while in 2014 and 2015 combined, it was 65.6-percent
– Over the last four years, when ASU throws two touchdown passes or more in a game they are 25-10,  whereas when they throw fewer than two touchdown passes in a game they are 9-9
– Each season over the last four years, the percentage of pass receptions covering 15 yards or more as a  percentage of total passes decreased, (2012-21.5%, 2013-18.6%, 2014-18.2%, 2015-15.4%)
– Each season since Graham’s first in 2012, ASU has thrown more passes per game than the previous year,  (2012-31.7, 2013-35.3, 2014-35.9, 2015-41.0)
– Last year was the first year in the Todd Graham era that ASU threw more passes in the second half than  in the first
– In the fourth quarter of years 2012 and 2013 combined, ASU averaged throwing an interception once  every 14.5 pass attempts, however, in years 2014 and 2015 combined, it was once every 33.6 pass attempts
– Each season in Graham’s tenure, ASU threw more red zone passes, (2012- 61, 2013-68, 2014-72, 2015-94)
– Each season in Graham’s tenure, ASU threw more third down passes, (2012-103, 2013-121, 2014-134, 2015-  162)
– Since 2013, ASU improved its percentage of third down passes that obtained a first down, (2013-33.1%,  2014-35.1%, 2015-36.4%)
– ASU was fourth in the conference in 2015 in third down conversions, tenth in 2014, eighth in 2013 and  third in 2012.
– ASU played more third down snaps than any other team in the conference last year
– Last year, ASU converted 51.56-percent of its red zone opportunities into red zone touchdowns, in 2014 it  was 62.50-percent, in 2013 it was 61.33-percent and in 2012 it was 61.97-percent
– In 2015, ASU lost the ball 19 times, in 2014, it was 13 times, in 2013, it was 18 times and in 2012 it was 24  times

DEFENSIVE OUTPUT
Defense– In 2015, ASU was the only team to average keeping its conference opponents under 100 yards per game
– Over the past three years when opponents have entered the ASU red zone, they have run the ball less  frequently, (2013-62.6%, 2014-56.2%, 2015-53.6%)
– In 2015, ASU had its lowest yards per carry average in conference play and its highest yards per carry in  non-conference play in Graham’s tenure
– Since 2013, ASU has always started the first month of the season towards the bottom of the conference in  the yards per game they allow, then steadily improved as the season moves along
– In 2015, ASU was third in the conference in the number of rushing first downs they allowed
– ASU averaged making opponents run 28.1 rushing plays per rushing touchdown they scored in 2015; in  2014 the average was 30.1; in 2013 it was 23.7 and in 2012, the average was 32.9
– In the first two years of the Graham era, opponents averaged running the ball 6.92 times for every carry  that covered ten yards or more, whereas in the last two years, the average was 9.53
– In each of the last three years, ASU has given up more rushing touchdowns in the second half than in the  first, (33–21)
– Over the last three seasons, whenever opponents ran the ball on third and short, they have been gaining a  first down at a greater percentage of opportunities, (2013-47.4%, 2014-50.0%, 2015-58.8%)
– In each season in the Graham era, the average yards per carry the ASU defense has allowed on first  down steadily declined; placing first in the conference last year
– In Graham’s first two seasons, the defense gave up 13 rushing touchdowns in the second quarter and only six  in the fourth quarter, however, in the last two season, the defense gave up only five rushing touchdowns in  the second quarter and 13 in the fourth quarter
– In each season of Graham’s four years at ASU, his defense has given up fewer carries that gained ten yards or  more in the first half of their games, (2012-50, 2013-33, 2014-27, 2015-22)
– In the first two years under Graham, the ASU defense gave up 96 yards on 19 fourth down carries, whereas in  the last two years, the defense gave up only two yards on 23 carries.
– Every year in Graham’s tenure the defense has averaged giving up more passing yards per game
– Every year in Graham’s tenure the defense has faced more pass plays
– Every year in Graham’s tenure the defense has given up a greater percentage of pass receptions covering 25 yards or more
– Up until last season, the percentage of pass attempts that scored a touchdown against the ASU defense  had been declining, however, it jumped dramatically in 2015
– Up until last season, the percentage of red zone pass attempts that scored a touchdown against the ASU –  defense had been declining, however, it increased in 2015
– Every year in Graham’s tenure the defense has given up more passing touchdowns in the second quarter than  in the first, especially over the past three seasons, (34-14)
– Over the past four years, the ASU defense allows the smallest percentage of pass completions, touchdown  passes and passing first downs in the first quarter, however, it also has the smallest percentage of  interceptions per pass attempt in that quarter
– Over the last four years, the ASU defense faced the most passing attempts and allowed the highest pass  completion rate in the second quarter
– Over the last four years, the ASU defense allowed the greatest percentage of passes to go for a touchdown  in the fourth quarter
– In 2012, when ASU had an opponent third and long, they allowed 37.2-percent of the passes to be  completed: one going for a touchdown and four being intercepted in facing 43 passes, whereas in the other  three years combined, the completion percentage was 49.6, with seven touchdown passes and five  interceptions in facing 135 passes

Score

– In the first three years of Graham’s tenure, the offense scored the most points in the second quarter and the  least in the third quarter, however, last year, the offense scored its most points in the fourth quarter and  the least in the first
– In the first two years of Graham’s tenure, the defense did its best in limiting opponent scoring in the first and  fourth quarters and worse in the second and third quarters
– In the last two seasons of Graham’s tenure, the defense limited opponents in the first and third quarters,  while giving up most points in the second and fourth quarters

WHAT THE NUMBERS MEAN
The ASU running game really changed after Marion Grice left for the NFL following the 2013 season. The biggest changes occurred in the number of rushing touchdowns inside and outside the red zone and the running productivity in third down situations, along with the number of first downs gained by running the ball.

Another big change was the fact that the offense relied less and less on its run game after the 2013 season. All of this is understandable in the fact that ASU was replacing an NFL-bound running back with a talented, but new young set of running backs. Those two young running backs now have two seasons under their belts. Maybe the 2012 and 2013 rushing production could return in 2016.

In most of the seasons, the ASU passing game faded in the second half of their games. That could either be opponents’ defenses doing a better job after halftime, or ASU letting its foot off the gas a bit. Another troubling aspect in the passing game has been the decline in the rate of long pass receptions to total passes. Maybe this year, they can reverse that trend and stretch the field a little more with a little more speed. Also with a new quarterback under center for all of last year, the third down completion rate increased slightly while the red zone completion rate dropped; two critical passing situations. The red zone woes may have been due to the lack of an option-type quarterback in 2015 compared to previous years. Wonder which new quarterback will emerge in 2016 to run an option-oriented offense.

The run defense seemed to step up a notch in the last two seasons in certain categories, and not so much in others. Overall, the ASU run defense during CTG’s tenure has always improved as the season progressed. Although the ASU run defense hasn’t become a feared rock solid unit, it is solid, and that makes for a good foundation.

Last year, ASU’s pass defense just fell apart, however, leading up to last season, there had been statistical signs of cracks within this aspect of the defense. Opponents seem to do better passing against the Devils when they have faced them before.

Since Frank Kush left, the Devils has hired seven different coaches trying to wake the sleeping giant that is ASU. The 2016 ASU squad has a good foundation that seems to be moving in the right direction, but has many unproven positions to fill and some questions to be answered, so this doesn’t appear to be the year that the giant fully awakens.

Source: cfbstats.com and Winsipedia.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!

Recommended for you

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Weekly ASU Devils Den Rewind - ASU Devils Den

You must be logged in to post a comment Login