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Stats that matter: Looking ahead to OSU

9/19/2012

Numbers are said to rarely lie. It’s with that thought in mind that each week HornsNation, with a healthy assist from the ESPN Stats and Info crew, will dig into the numbers and pull three stats that could play a significant role in the outcome in Texas' next game. On next Saturday's showdown at Oklahoma State:

1. 2.6

That is the average number of 20-yard pass plays Texas has allowed in each of the past five games (dating back to the 2011 season). That stat become alarming when contrasted with what Texas did in the first 11 games of 2011. In those 11 games, Texas only allowed a total of 21 passes of 20 yards or more and none were for touchdowns.

So since the Baylor game, Texas has allowed 13 passes of 20 or more yards and five have been for touchdowns. Just this year Texas has given up an 82-yard touchdown pass and a 75-yard touchdown pass.

Now Texas goes on the rod to face Oklahoma State, an offense known for airing it out. While the Cowboys numbers are certainly skewed because of who they have played -- Savannah State and Louisiana Lafayette -- they are ranked as the top offense in the BCS and the No. 4 pass offense with 378 passing yards per game.

2. 21st

Currently that is the best defensive rank of any of Texas’ future opponents. And that number doesn’t just represent this year’s defensive output. ESPN Stats and Info went back to the start of the 2011 season and crunched all the data to come up with the defensive ranks of all of Texas’ Big 12 opponents. TCU is ranked the highest at 21. The next closest teams are West Virginia (40) and Oklahoma (42). After that no other team is ranked in the top 60 with three, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas, ranked 106 or worse.

So while there might be the argument made that Texas has been prolific against po0r defenses so far this season -- Wyoming (102 since the start of 2011), New Mexico (118), Ole Miss (100) -- it can also be argued that Texas will not have to face a truly great defense in all of 2012.

3. 354.1

David Ash has been much maligned for his inability to throw the long ball. And while his throws may not have been all that pretty, they are extremely effective. On passes of 10 yards or more Ash is 9-of-11 for 278 yards. That’s an average of 25.3 yards per attempt. His pass efficiency rating is 354.1 on those throws.

Now, in contrast, Ash connected on 34 percent on passes of 10 yards or more in 2011 with an efficiency rating of 108.9.

One reason for the increased efficiency is that Ash is not being asked to throw many passes of 10 yards or more therefore he is not forcing the ball. In 2011, 35 percent of his passes were 10 or more yards as opposed to just 15 percent in 2012.