As we continue our Advanced Stats Report series, we look at the following graphs exhibiting how the Sun Devils fourth straight Pac-12 South opponent, the Utah Utes (the Sun Devils seventh opponent on the 2015 schedule) match-up by the numbers.
– In 2014, the Ute offense averaged over 46 points per games against four non conference opponents and less than 25 points per game against its nine conference foes
– In the three games of the Todd Graham era, ASU has only scored three points total in the third quarter against the Utes
– In the three games of the Todd Graham era against the Utes, ASU has scored almost half of all its points in the first quarter
– In the second quarter of all 13 games in 2014, the Utes only scored two touchdowns running the ball
– In the nine conference games in 2014, the Utes registered a passing touchdown once every 23.9 pass attempts, and in the four non-conference games they registered a touchdown pass once in only 12.8 pass attempts
– In 2014, the Utes did not throw a touchdown pass from their own end of the field
– In 2014, the Utes averaged running the ball 60 percent of the time, whereas ASU ran the ball 52 percent of the time
– In the first four games of 2014, the Utah offense average roughly 440 yards per game, and in the next eight regular season games the average dropped by about 100 yards per game to 342 yards
– In the six home games in 2014, the Utes averaged 438 yards per games and in the seven road games they averaged 345 yards per game, nearly a 100 yard per game drop
– In their bowl game last year, the Utah offense averaged almost three and a half yards per carry more than their season average, (7.48-4.09)
– In 2014, the Utah offense averaged 6.49 yards per pass attempt in the first quarter, 7.76 yards per attempt in the second quarter, 6.64 yards per attempt in the third quarter and 5.75 yards per attempt in the fourth quarter
– In the 2014 games when the Utes were winning, they averaged 7.25 yards per pass attempt and when they were behind, they average only 6.43 yards per atempt
– In the first three quarters of games in the 2014 season, the Utes completed 62 percent of their passes, but in the fourth quarter the percentages of completions dropped to 54 percent.
– In 2014 when the Utes were in the middle of the field, they only completed 54 percent of their passes, while they completed 63 percent in the rest of the field of play
– In 2014, the Utes threw an interception once every 26.8 pass attempts on third down and only once every 67.8 pass attempts on all the other downs
– In the month of November in 2014, the Utah offense threw five interceptions and only three the other months of the season
– In 2014, the Ute offense converted 39.6 percent of their third down opportunities against their five South Division rivals and only 33.8 percent against the their four North Division rivals
– In 2014, the Utah offense converted a greater percentage of third down opportunities on the road than they did at home, (41.9%-39.6%)
– In games against their South Division foes in 2014, the Utes scored a touchdown on 43 percent of their red zone chances and 70 percent of their opportunities with their North Division foes
– In 2014, the Ute defense surrendered 30.5 points per game in home games and only 20.1 points per game on the road
– In each month of the regular season in 2014, the Ute defense averaged giving up more and more points per game
– In 2014, the Utah defense surrendered the fewest point in the third quarter, which is also when the Sun Devils score their fewest points
– In 2014, almost 40 percent of all the points allowed by the Utah defense happened in the fourth quarter or overtime
– In 2014, eleven of the 23 passing touchdowns allowed by the Utah defense happened in the fourth quarter or in overtime
– In 2014, Utah tied Stanford in the conference in giving up the fewest touchdowns on the ground with only twelve.
– In 2014, the Utah and ASU defenses almost mirror each other in the number of plays and breakdown of plays each face
– In the six home games in 2014, the Ute defense allowed an average of 427 yards per game, while in the seven road games the defense allowed only 365 yards per game
– In 2014, the Ute defense only allowed 500 or more yards in a game twice, once against North Division winner Oregon and once against the South Division winner Arizona
– In the games Utah won in 2014, they allowed an average of only 3.0 yards per carry, while in the games they lost the average yards per carry jumped to 5.4
– In 2014, when their opponents faced a third down and three yards or less, the Ute defense games up an average of 6.6 yards per carry…wow!
– In the fourth quarter in games in 2014, the Ute defense gave up an average of 9.2 yards per pass attempt and only 6.4 yards per pass attempt the other quarters in the game
– In 2014 when opponents faced a third down and three yards or less to go, the Ute defense allowed an average of 13.5 yards per completed pass.
– In 2014 when the Utes were trailing in their games, their defense only allowed 51 percent of opponent passes to be completed, while all the other time the defense allowed 61 percent of the passes to be completed
– In 2014 home games, the Utah defense allowed 41.2 percent of opponent third down opportunities to be converted to a first down, while they only allowed 33.3 percent to be converted on the road
– In last year’s game against ASU, the Ute defense only allowed two third down conversions for the Devils in 14 different tries
– When opponents entered the Utah red zone in home games in 2014, the Ute defense gave up a touchdown roughly 71 percent of the time, while only giving up a red zone score 53 percent of the time on the road
– In games against South Division opponents in 2014, the Ute defense allowed opponents to score a red zone touchdown in roughly 67 percent of their red zone opportunities, while they only allowed the North Division foes to score in 56 percent of their red zone opportunities
– In the first six games in 2014, the Ute defense averaged over ten TFLs per game, while in the last seven games they only averaged six TFLs per game
– In 2014, over 80 percent of the sacks for the Utah defense came from the defensive line position
– In 2014, over 30 percent of all the sacks for the Utah defense happened in two games: UCLA and Fresno State
– In seven road games in 2014, the Utah defense intercepted nine opponent passes, while in six home games they only intercepted two passes
– In 2014, the Utah defense intercepted five passes again five South Division foes, three interceptions against four Northern Division foes and four interceptions against four non-conference opponents
What the Numbers Say
Even though the points per game have been improving for the Utes over the past three years, the offense still lags the rest of the conference in that Utah was last in the conference in 2014 in total offense and eighth in scoring offense. And although it was third in the conference in rushing the ball in 2014, it was seventh in scoring rushing touchdowns and last in first downs generated per game.
The Ute defense is another story in that it was second in the conference in 2014 in total defense and pass defense, behind only Stanford in both categories. The defense also went from sixth in 2012, to third in 2013 to second last year in limiting third down opponent conversions. The Ute defense also led the conference in 2014 in sacks and TFLs. In fact the sacks and TFLs generated by the Utah defense have increased each year since 2012. There were two surprises in that the Utah defense went from second in the conference in rush defense in 2012, to third in 2013, then to sixth in 2014, also the stats seemed to indicate that the defense seemed to do poorer in many of the defensive categories in the critical fourth quarter of their games last year.
Clearly the Utah defense is what has kept the Utes in so many games recently. When the Utah offense starts learning to pull out games in critical situations, that’s when Utah will start challenging for Pac-12 South division titles.