Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Stats that matter: Texas-Baylor
By Max Olson
Each week, we team up with the ESPN Stats & Info crew to dig into the numbers that matter most and find three statistics that could make a big difference on Saturday. Here are the numbers to remember going into Texas’ regular-season finale on the road against Baylor.
What makes this Baylor offense so deadly and such a statistical juggernaut is its big-play ability.
Texas QB Case McCoy is 6-2 as a starter on the road.
Baylor has gained 10 or more yards on 235 plays this season, which ranks fifth-best in FBS. The high-tempo offense Texas just shut down a week ago, Texas Tech, is No. 2 in that category.
Baylor’s 96 plays of 20-plus yards are second to only Oregon nationally. Nobody in FBS has more plays of 30-plus (53) and 40-plus (36) than the Bears.
Three teams have legitimately tested Baylor in 2013: Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas State. It’s no coincidence those three allowed the fewest 10-plus plays of the Bears’ foes. TCU and KSU held Baylor to 13 and 12 plays of 10-plus, respectively. OSU kept it to 18.
Those three Big 12 teams were also the only ones to slow down Baylor’s run game. The Bears averaged 323.6 rushing yards per game against its other eight opponents but just 124 per game against this trio.
Going into the Oklahoma game, Bryce Petty was one of the nation’s best passers in nearly every important category. The past month has been a different story.
Petty has completed 53.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt in Baylor’s last four games. He ranks 21st nationally in Total QBR, 48th in passer efficiency and 93rd in completion percentage since the start of November. To his credit, Petty’s TD-INT ratio in those games was 10-1.
Facing better opponents plays a role here, as do injuries in the Baylor lineup. Also, Petty is facing more pressure. He has been sacked 10 times in his last four games, and only 13 FBS QBs have taken more sacks during that span.
Texas is coming off a nine-sack performance against the Red Raiders. Tight, physical coverage from the secondary and a consistent pass rush will get Petty out of a rhythm, and that’s probably a must in this matchup.
Darrell Royal liked to say “dance with the one that brung ya.” What got Texas into this position, at 8-3 and 7-1 in the Big 12, was a physical offense that pounded the run and sprinkled in shots downfield in the passing game.
By that philosophy, Texas’ two most impressive offensive performances this season came against Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Both were high-pressure, must-win games. In both, Texas had two backs surpass 100 rushing yards.
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The last time Case McCoy played in Floyd Casey Stadium, he went full gunslinger and threw for three touchdowns along with a career-high four interceptions. He knows that’s not his job this weekend.
The Longhorns haven’t lost when they’ve run the ball more than 45 times this season. In their five closest games, they averaged 135 rushing yards. Ground and pound will have to win the day on Saturday if Texas wants to leave Waco with a Big 12 trophy.
Three more to remember
634.4: Baylor’s offense has put up 634.4 yards per game this season. The FBS single-season record is 624.9 per game, set by Houston in 1989.
56: The number of Baylor touchdowns drives that ended in 2:00 or less. That’s eight more than any other FBS team.
6-2: McCoy’s career record as a starter on the road. The two losses were both regular-season finales, against Baylor in 2011 and at Kansas State last season.