How Saturday’s Game Could Come Down to The Final Drive

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Third straight week for @BradF79 on the blog. If you aren’t following him on Twitter, you should be. His Tech preview this week is tremendous.Before we get started this week on the analysis, I want to take a quick look back at the KSU game.  If you recall, my keys to the game were the following:Can OSU limit success for KSU on early downs and force them into passing downs?Can the OSU run game get anything going against a stout KSU defense?Can Rudolph hit the intermediate routes accurately (and can the receivers make clean catches)?Can OSU limit the ability of the KSU return teams to affect the game?Turnovers.OSU failed on three of the five key points yet still came out with a victory.  KSU was 67 percent successful on standard downs, but only 29 percent successful on passing downs. OSU lost the field position battle handily as well, starting on average on the 19 while KSU started on average at the 33.  Some of that certainly had to do with turnovers but the return game of KSU was terrific. OSU had a 56 percent success rate rushing (50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down) which was its highest this season by far. The success against Kansas was only 47 percent. Rudolph had a tremendous day throwing for over 75 percent with 11.5 yards/attempt.  Moving on to Texas Tech, OSU has won 7 in a row against them, their longest win streak in this series. TTU last won in 2008 when Mike Leach was still coaching there. Trends do get broken however, as we experienced with a road victory in Manhattan last weekend. Let’s hope this trend stays in tact, but it isn’t without its challenges.Five FactorsThe baseline for all comparisons is the 5 factors, win more of these categories, and win the game (most of the time).screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-27-pmThe Texas Tech offense sports great success rate and they have a terrific ability to finish drives, averaging just over five points per trip inside the 40. They aren’t explosive as you would think for a TTU team (sitting below national average), they haven’t been great in coming up with good field position, and they are -5 in turnovers on the year.  The OSU defense will certainly challenge them in field position and turnovers. Will TTU be able to get chunk plays against an OSU defense known for giving up the big play?The OSU offense is explosive, they don’t turn the ball over much, they routinely start with good field position and they also score over five points per trip inside the 40.  While their success rate isn’t as good as TTU’s they are helped by the fact they are facing a TTU defense that allows success nearly 50 percent of the time and is susceptible to the big play.  OSU has an advantage in five factors in nearly every category. We could call the matchups even in success rate and finishing drives, but that still gives OSU a three out of five advantage for the game.Success Rates (Play-by-play & per Possession)screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-35-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-40-pmLooking briefly at the play-by-play success rates for the two teams … again, I find it interesting the the explosiveness of TTU is below average in every category but passing downs. Hopefully OSU can limit the big plays though they have certainly struggled doing just that this season.  TTU has one of the best passing down success rates and they also do a good job of protecting Mahomes (a terrific 2.2 percent sack rate on standard downs and a more average 7.7 percent on passing downs). OSU must limit their success on passing downs and get hurries, hits, and sacks on Mahomes.OSU is trying to turn the run game around, but the success rates aren’t quite catching up with their recent success. OSU will try to run the ball and control the game against a TTU defense that allows over 52 percent success rate versus the run.  On passing downs, the OSU offense also holds a significant advantage, and despite their less than stellar sack rate on passing downs, TTU’s defensive sack rates are extremely poor (less than 1 percent on standard downs and only 2.7 percent on passing downs).screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-47-pmYou really don’t need my analysis on these two charts.  The TTU offense is terrific when looking at drive-based stats. They do turn it over 11 percent of the time, which is perhaps one weakness. The other is their inability to keep momentum in possession success rates. The OSU defense must try to put them in long drives and hope to eventually stop them as they march down the field.This TTU defense is really bad.  OSU must limit their mistakes as their biggest obstacle to scoring will most likely be themselves. If OSU can take advantage of their momentum success rate and bury TTU this game will be much easier for their fans to watch after last week’s thriller.Opponent-Adjusted Successscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-53-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-15-58-pmThese opponent-adjusted numbers look a little too similar for me, especially on defense. To say the OSU defense has been a disappointment would be putting it lightly.  They’ve certainly had their success at times, and been good at getting turnovers, but when I look at their adjusted numbers vs TTU and I don’t see too much variance, I have concerns. OSU defense is certainly bolstered by their third-down defense and their improved success in the 3rd/4th quarter.  Offensively, these teams also have similar profile, OSU struggles more running the ball than we’d all like and they need to find a way to score points in the 3rd quarter and be more effective on 2nd down.  TTU is nearly as good as OSU is on 3rd down and this will be a key matchup in the game. When TTU is in 3rd down, can OSU limit their success?Special Teamsscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-16-03-pmTTU’s punt success rate isn’t very good. It’d be nice to finally see Barry J. break a long return. The TTU team doesn’t provide near the ability in the kick return game as KSU did last week.  Ammendola still needs to have a better week kicking the ball. TTU is plenty good in the FG department but the other special teams struggle at times. OSU needs to win special team battles this week after being run off the field by KSU last week.ConclusionIf the OSU defense comes out flat, this is going to be a barn burner. If the OSU offense comes out flat, it might be a long stressful day. OSU will score their points (eventually), but can they limit the points scored by TTU?Here are the keys to the game:Can the OSU offense keep from beating itself with turnovers and penalties?Can OSU defense get off the field on 3rd down and limit the success of TTU on passing downs?Can OSU special teams find a way to impact the game (blocked FG/P or perhaps a long return)?Can the OSU control time of possession with the run game keep the TTU offense on the sideline?Turnovers.last_img

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