Don Hansen

Sun Devil Stats Notebook 9/22/14

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The “Sun Devil Stats Notebook” is a new series that will look at some key statistics throughout the 2014 season. As the season progresses, more data will become available. With more data, deeper analysis and more conclusions will be produced. For now, the results of the first three games of 2014 are examined.

Polls

appoll

coaches

After the fourth week of the college football season, voters still do not truly know what to expect out of the Pac-12 teams. Oregon is bouncing between one and four on most ballots while the rest of the Pac-12 lingers in the middle of the rankings until more games are played.

The Arizona State Sun Devils and UCLA Bruins are a premier game in Week 5 of the college football season, and FoxSports1 lucked out getting it as their Thursday night game. ESPN College GameDay will be going to Columbia, South Carolina to watch the Gamecocks play the unranked Missouri Tigers.

Cumulative Team Stats

playcalls

After the Colorado game, here are some detailed looks into the Sun Devils offensive and defensive plays. Deputy Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell is still calling games at a 60/40 run/pass split through the season’s first three games. This probably has to do with the Sun Devils having leads in the second half. As the season progresses and the opponents get much tougher, the expectation is that this will move toward a 55/45 split.

Picture1

Against Colorado, tight ends De’Marieya Nelson and Kody Kohl made their first receptions of the season. However, the passing game is still dominated by Jaelen Strong and DJ Foster. The Sun Devils need a third and fourth options to step up consistently and secure key catches in order for this offense to be truly firing.

tfls

The Sun Devil defense is going to attack, but it needs to maintain discipline in order to prevent big plays. The Colorado Buffaloes exposed the young Sun Devil defense and was able to 22 plays of 10+ yards. The defensive line must solidify as a unit in order for the defense to improve.

Week by Week Trending Metrics

The following line graphs will become more important during Pac-12 play as they compare how the Sun Devils offense and defense did in key categories from week to week. The one key take away from the charts below is that the Arizona State defense did improve from Week 2 to Week 3 in these areas charted, but the offense did regress a bit. Part of the offensive regression is due to the Taylor Kelly injury and Mike Bercovici being thrown into the game, but some of the regression is due to the improved Colorado program.

weeklyoffenmetrics

 

weeklydefmetrics

 

In the statistics world, three games is a small sample size to make significant conclusions. However, twenty-five percent of the Arizona State football season is complete, and the Sun Devils are starting their most critical stretch of games. Patterns are emerging, and deeper data analysis will result throughout the season. So, what other statistics does Sun Devil nation want to see examined and trended? Leave a comment below and let us know.

About Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don is a 2003 graduate of Arizona State University where he spent four years sitting in the front rows of many ASU athletic events leading the rowdy student section. Now, Don co-hosts the "ASU Devils Den" podcast covering every detail of ASU football. Don works and resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful Sun Devil wife and their two beautiful daughters!

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