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Stats that matter: Wyoming at Texas

8/28/2012

Number 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’ game. First up is the season opener against Wyoming.

No. 1: 232 Rushing yards per game allowed

It was already clear that Texas, with its stable of running backs, veteran offensive line and still unproven quarterback, wanted to run the ball against the Cowboys. Add to that mix Wyoming’s complete inability to stop the run and you have what could be a game much like Kansas of a year ago. (Texas rushed for 441 yards.) Additionally, the Cowboys gave up more than 300 rushing yards three times. Wyoming does have seven starters back on defense. Chris Tormey, a former head coach at Nevada and Idaho, has been installed as the new defensive coordinator. But he does not yet have the personnel in place to slow down what could be a very steady and successful Texas rushing attack.

No. 2: 55.6 or 60 percent

The first is David Ash's completion percentage as a starter while the second number is his percentage as a backup. Now Ash has been named the starter for the opener. But in his first year Ash was much more effective coming off the bench than he was in a starting role. Ash was 3-3 as a starter. The team was 5-2 when he came off the bench. He had one touchdown pass as a starter. That came in the third quarter of the Holiday Bowl. He threw six interceptions in his six starts. As a backup Ash threw three touchdowns against two interceptions.

He also averaged eight yards a completion as a backup and only 5.6 as a starter. And, finally, his pass efficiency rating was 96.3 as a starter and 142.0 as a backup.

No. 3: 97 degrees

Maybe it is not a stat but it is a fact that the forecast high is 97 degrees for Saturday. In Laramie, Wyoming the forecast high is 80. Simply put, the Cowboys are not used to the heat.

Texas on the other hand is and is better equipped to handle it. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is already talking about rotating his eight defensive linemen on the first series. Texas has the depth to do that. Wyoming doesn’t.

Depth of talent is typically the difference between teams from the Mountain West and Big 12. Usually the first string lines can at least hang with the bigger conference teams. It’s when the game gets into the second quarter and beyond that a team like Wyoming is exhausted physically and of resources. Texas meanwhile will have a fresh defensive line and be working on at least a seven-man rotation on the offensive line.