- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Each week, we team up with the ESPN Stats & Info crew to dig into the numbers that matter most and find three statistics which could make a big difference on Saturday. Here are the numbers to remember going into Texas’ big home game against Oklahoma State:
No. 1: 10
Last week we took a closer look at how Texas had become a top-15 defense nationally is several key statistics during its undefeated start to Big 12 play. This Oklahoma State defense, on the other hand, has been good throughout.
The Cowboys are currently a top-10 defense in FBS in the following categories: Yards per play (9th), passing yards per attempt (6th), third-down defense (6th), opponent QBR (8th), takeaways (tied for 9th) and interceptions (tied for 7th). And some of those stats tell you a lot more than total yardage ones can.
And in conference play, the Cowboys have a top-four scoring defense and run defense. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer has this unit playing at a high level, and a five-game win streak has surely helped bolster his players’ confidence.
No. 2: 359
Watch out for Desmond Roland, who’s led the Big 12 in rushing over the course of the past three weeks since becoming a starter.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior from Dallas has rushed for 359 yards and eight touchdowns on a league-high 73 rushing attempts in his last three games. Another Big 12-best stat for Roland: He’s gained 5 or more yards on 25 of those 73 carries.
Texas has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in its past four games and only three Big 12 running backs have surpassed 50 yards on this defense.
In fact, how’s this for a stat: In Big 12 play, starting running backs have averaged 59.8 rushing yards against Texas’ defense.
Will the suddenly hot Roland be the one to break through and make the Longhorns pay?
No. 3: 74.9
Believe it or not, Case McCoy is the best second-half quarterback in the Big 12 right now.
So says our QBR measures. In Big 12 games, McCoy has a QBR of 74.9 in the second half and overtime. He’s No. 1 ahead of Texas Tech’s Davis Webb (65.6) and Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf (55.6). Bryce Petty, for the record, is currently seventh at 35.2.
How’s this for some clutch play from McCoy? He went 6-for-9 passing on third and fourth downs in the fourth quarter and overtime at West Virginia. He earned a total QBR of a perfect 100.0 on those situations.
McCoy says he’s not proud of needing to make so many fourth-quarter comebacks in his career and that he doesn’t like putting his team in that position. But he’s faring fairly well in those late-game situations lately.
Three more to remember
0-29: OSU’s defense held its last three opponents to 0-for-29 on converting third and 7 or longer. The Cowboys have the No. 6 third-down conversion defense in FBS this season.
20.6: Oklahoma State is outscoring opponents by an average of 20.6 points per game during its five-game win streak.
Six: Justin Gilbert has six career kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career at Oklahoma State, including one at Texas in 2011. The FBS career record is seven.