Gary Doran

Getting Down and Dirty: ASU Production by the Down against New Mexico


It’s always interesting to see how productive the offense is by the down when the play occurred, along with seeing how effective the defense is using the same measurement.  Looking back at Saturday’s game with New Mexico, here are the results:

Plays by the Down: (ASU Offense)

1st                   2nd                 3rd                   TOTAL

Yards Gained                438                105                  78                      621*

Number of Plays          36                   19                    13                       69*

Avg. Yds. per Play      12.2                5.5                  6.0                     9.0

# of 1st Downs               11                     7                      7                        25

# of Touchdowns          7                     0                       1                        8

# of 20+ Yard Plays    7                     1                        1                        9

# of Negative Plays      2                     2                        0                       4

# of Turnovers               1                     0                        0                       1

* There was one 4th down play for zero yards


When ASU started a play on first down against New Mexico, good things happened! ASU scored seven of its eight touchdowns on first down plays.  It also gained a little more than 70 percent of all its yards on first down. The eye-popper is the 12.2 average yards per play gained on first down.  Almost one-out-of-five first down plays went for 20 yards or more (19.4 percent).

Combining the second and third down plays, ASU got a first down on roughly 44 percent of these downs (14 on 32 plays).  Also on those two downs, the 20+ yard plays dropped drastically from the rate on first down plays to just one every sixteen plays.   For the game, ASU had more than double the number of 20+ yard plays compared to negative yardage plays (nine to four).

Plays by the Down: (UNM Offense—ASU Defense)

1st                  2nd                   3rd                  TOTAL

Yards Gained                    181                   47                 108                       337*

Number of Plays               32                    21                    14                      68*

Avg. Yds. per Play           5.7                   2.2                   7.7                  5.0

# of 1st Downs                     8                     7                      5                        20

# of Touchdowns              0                     1                      2                          3

# of 20+ Yard Plays         3                     1                      1                          5

# of Negative Plays           3                     7                      0                        10

# of Turnovers                    1                     2                      0                          3

* There was one 4th down play for one yard 

The biggest statistic that jumps out is that almost one-third of New Mexico’s yards came on third down plays (108 of 337).  It was also the down where UNM had is best per play average.  That is surprising, because second down for the Lobo’s was not a very productive down, averaging a paltry 2.2 yards per play.  Also, one-third of the second down plays resulted in negative yardage.  That’s what makes the Lobo’s third down play success so surprising, because on average, the second down plays sure were not setting up small makeable third down situations.  New Mexico also scored two of its three touchdowns off of third down plays.

Comparing the two; where ASU got twice as many 20+ yard plays on offense to negative plays, it was just the opposite for UNM, where they had ten negative plays to five 20+ yard plays.  Another point is that of the five plays for UNM that went for over 20 yards, all of them happened in the first half.  In fact three happened in the first quarter, two in the second quarter then nothing after halftime.

Getting Down

The ASU offense was hitting on all cylinders on first down, and not too bad on second or third down either.  The ASU defense did well against the Lobos on first, and especially second down, however, the critical third down was a little bit wobbly.  Were the third down successes for New Mexico the result of them buckling down and focusing on those specific downs during the game, was it ASU letting up somewhat on favorable third down situations, or was it just plain inexperience and missed assignments at critical times?  Maybe it was a combination of all three.

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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