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Stats that matter: Texas vs. Texas Tech

10/30/2014

Ready for some numbers? It's time for our weekly stat digs, in which we team with ESPN Stats & Information to find the numbers that matter most for the Texas Longhorns and their next opponent. Because of some technical difficulties, we missed out on this post last week and Texas lost 23-0. So maybe these really do matter. Here are the stats to remember going into Texas' trip to Texas Tech.

1. 246

This is kind of a complicated statistic, so we will try to explain it as clearly as possible, because it illustrates a peculiar problem.

Texas was shut out for the first time this season a week ago. But these Longhorns had already played a lot of snaps with zero on the scoreboard. They didn't score on their first 50 offensive snaps against BYU. They were scoreless for their first 72 against Baylor, all 52 against Kansas State, and the first 24 against Kansas.

Add every game up and you get a total of 246 snaps this season in which Texas' offense has been playing in a shutout. The Longhorns rank second-worst nationally in that stat behind SMU. They have logged a total of 559 plays this season. So you could technically say there has been a zero on the scoreboard for 44 percent of Texas' offensive snaps.

You can point to several factors for this -- play-calling, execution, finishing drives, line play, a young quarterback, etc. -- but this week, against a Texas Tech team that just gave up the Big 12 single-game scoring record, would be a good time to start reversing that trend.

2. 18.6 percent

So Texas has about a 60 percent chance of beating Texas Tech this weekend, according to ESPN FPI projection. A victory this week would put the Longhorns at 4-5 with three games left. But what are their odds of reaching six wins?

According to 10,000 FPI simulations, there is an 18.6 percent chance that Texas finishes 6-6 or better.

Texas will have to pull off one of two difficult feats to get to that six-win goal: either win three in a row, or two of the next three and then an upset of TCU. FPI currently tabs the Horned Frogs' odds of beating Texas in the season finale at about 77 percent.

3. 75 percent

Texas Tech's defensive statistics are about as ugly as you would expect. Run defense and penalties have been two of this team's greatest weaknesses, but there is another flaw just as damaging.

Opposing teams are scoring touchdowns on 75 percent of their trips to the red zone. That rate of 27 touchdowns in 36 red-zone drives ranks second-worst in FBS behind UTEP.

Can Texas take advantage there? The Longhorns rank below-average nationally in red zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on nearly 59 percent (17/29). And they were abysmal in K-State territory last week. A team that has had so many missed opportunities in 2014 should know by now it must play smart once it reaches the 20.

Three more to remember

Seven: Sacks Texas Tech has allowed in eight games, a rate of less than 2 percent of their snaps. After not getting much push last week, Texas' defensive line needs to challenge this group.

No. 8: Texas still ranks No. 8 nationally in pass defense at 171.4 yards per game and is top-15 in yards per attempt and completion.

23: Total passes Texas Tech freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes has attempted. Hard to know what to expect from him if he does get the start Saturday.