What Type of Stats Should We Expect Saturday?

By Chad Peltier on August 29, 2013 at 11:20a

Love stats? Be sure to check out the Buffalo charting thread and consider volunteering to chart future games. 

It's game week. From that first team huddle at the start of camp until now, the team has worked to solidify its identity, discover some new play makers, and get the right mindset for a 14-0 season. 

But Urban wouldn't want me talking like that – while it's good to have a goal like the national championship, there's an opponent in the here and now that needs to be tackled first. Buffalo isn't a good team by any stretch of the announcer's commentary, but this is where the team can both lay its foundations and avoid upsets. 

There's no need for another 2008 Ohio, 2009 Navy, or even 2012 Cal. So what numbers ensure that the Buckeyes steer clear from a near upset?

Ross has already shown you what he's looking for offensively, but here are the things that I'm looking for statistically. 

As I mentioned, there shouldn't be too much drama in this game, as Buffalo has sat on the negative side of the F/+ rankings for quite some time. Of their four wins last season, the largest margin of victory was over Morgan State, with a score of 56-34. I'll wait while you google Morgan State. None of their top six receivers had a catch rate of over 58%, their quarterback is returning with a 51% completion rate, and their offensive line is comprised of two-star and unranked guys.

I understand that you're not here to truly get in to the deep numbers for Buffalo, but we have to understand that a) the Buckeyes will post big numbers and b) these numbers might not be indicative of the rest of the season. 

Ball had an excellent spring game and has done well enough to get an "OR" with DunnCan Ball hit 100 yards while sharing carries?  

But with that disclaimer out of the way, I'm still looking for the Buckeyes to post certain statistics that indicate their off season growth. Here are the quotes I'm looking to validate: 

“Jordan Hall is the best running back on our team right now” - Meyer 

Jordan Hall managed 40 carries and 218 yards last season in limited time between injuries. More importantly, however, Hall managed to lead all ball carriers (with 40 or more carries) in running back success rate (RBSR) at 73%. 

As a refresher, RBSR measures a running back's efficiency, or efficient carries divided by total carries. More specifically

A play counts as a "hit" if it gains 40% of yards on first down, 60% of yards on second down, and 100% of yards on third down. If the team is behind by more than a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the benchmarks switch to 50%/65%/100%. If the team is ahead by any amount in the fourth quarter, the benchmarks switch to 30%/50%/100%.

I'll be looking to see which running backs can not only hit explosive plays, but can also pick up first downs consistently. If Hall is running like Meyer has reported, then we should expect a number north of 67% with a few explosive plays mixed in. 

Buffalo runs an interesting 3-4 defense that resembles a Bear look and is particularly strong against the inside zone. The inside zone is Meyer's bread and butter, so it will be interesting to see how efficient Hall, Dunn, Ball, and company are able to be against this front. 

“We’re much more well-oiled, if you will, with our jet pace and our up-tempo stuff. - Herman

Last season the Buckeyes averaged 70 snaps a game and held on to the ball for slightly over half the game. Time of possession by itself is a fairly overrated statistic, but tempo is an extremely important strategic tool that offenses can leverage against a weary defense. 

Herman said over the offseason that the Buckeyes' jet pace is making him sleep better at night. Will this translate to more snaps per game or maybe a lower time per snap? This year I'll be looking at time per snap, which is just the time of possession divided by number of offensive snaps. This metric gives a slightly more in depth look at tempo. 

Last season the Buckeyes averaged one play for every 26 seconds that they held on to the ball. How will this change as Braxton operates the jet pace more efficiently? My instinct is that it shouldn't change too much because the Buckeyes will vary tempo significantly throughout the game. 

“The first time we went against them we were kind of shocked and surprised when we saw some of the things they were able to do." - Shazier. 

Everyone associated with the team has raved about the freshmen skill players like Dontre, Jalin, Elliot, and Clark. They are supposed to come in and "fully weaponize" Urban's death star. 

One way we can measure their contribution to the offense is in yards after reception and with adjusted completion percentages. The charting project will allow us to measure both of these things. In future weeks I'll be able to break down Braxton's completion percentage by five-yard increments as well as measure how receivers are getting extra yards after catching the ball. 

If Dontre and company are truly making an impact on this offense, I'd hope to see Braxton's completion percentage jump to at least average levels for passes greater than ten yards. Further, I'd hope that each of the receivers is able to take short passes further this season. 

“I want an aggressive defense, not a bend but don’t break unit" - Meyer

Last year's defense was underachieving in some ways, with Indiana and Nebraska both putting up more points that Fickell and Withers would like. Besides a still unsettled linebacking core, the defensive coaches have raved about the young defensive line and experience in the secondary. 

It's fair to say that I have high expectations for this unit in terms of forcing negative plays and turnovers, but how efficient can this defense be? 

I'm pretty fond of the points per play metric for defensive efficiency, which is simply the total number of points allowed divided by the opponent's total offensive snaps. The Buckeyes averaged .32 points per play allowed last season, but elite defenses are typically in the low .2 region. Alabama's defense allowed an average of .18 points per opponent play last season. 

The Buckeyes shouldn't have too much trouble keeping Buffalo around .2 points per play, but it will definitely be a point to watch nonetheless. 

Another defensive statistic I'll be looking at is the number of three and outs forced. There has been some research that suggests offenses that have more than two three and outs per game will not be happy. Can the Buckeye defense force the Bulls in to multiple three and outs? I'm looking for at least four three and out series. 


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stittracer99's picture

Great write up, Chad.  Jet Pace - yes please

razrback16's picture

Agree. Give me Jet Tempo as much as possible. :D

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

How many sacks do you think we can get Saturday?

Yeti's have feelings too.

jdagrava.1's picture

Line for line the Bucks should dominate.  If Buffalo is smart they will game-play to get rid of the ball quickly with screens and draw plays, minimizing the amount of time that the ball is in the backfield.  But if they plan to drop back in the pocket and pick and choose receivers, Washington and Spence are going to have a meeting a the QB pretty often.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

PHATBUCK13's picture

Spence, Washington (2), Bennett, & Perry....

Jabba the Hoke's picture

No Ryan Damn Shazier?

Chad Peltier's picture

3-5 seems reasonable. 

Bamabucknut's picture

I think one of the pleasant surprises will be the OSU team speed on offense and defense.I would expect some high  "yards per carry" and a lot of longer pass completions.

cinserious's picture

I'm excited to see the what the punt return team can do and also see Cameron Johnston boom some sweet kicks! (did i just say that?)

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Oyster's picture

There is only one stat I am really concerned about and I want it to be a big fat goose egg.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

Baroclinicity's picture

I got used to, and was satisfied with the 'bend but don't break' defenses in the past.  Excited to see what aggressive looks like.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

hit_the_couch's picture

Honestly, I think it will be a bit sloppy as the kinks are worked out. The back of mind thinks they go hard all year because there is a chip on the shoulder and a lot of naysayers.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

College football is upon us!

Buckeye06's picture

I just want the team to win every game it plays.  I don't care if they win 7-3 or 70-67...
The only goose egg I care about is in the loss column

WyoBuckeye's picture

I used to think the same.  But these days, style points count more than they used to. Especially if Ohio State is a 1-loss team fighting for a BCSCG berth against other 1-loss teams.

Maestro's picture

Nothing less than a gazillion yards is acceptable.

vacuuming sucks

Baroclinicity's picture

Is that greater than or less than a gajillion?

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

otrain2416's picture

My conspiracy theory: Meyer is saying Hall is the best RB on the team is to light a fire under Smiths and Hydes asses when they come back

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

TheBadOwl's picture

Or maybe Hall's actually the best running back on the team.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Or maybe there aren't any running backs on the team.

Estrada's picture

Or maybe a little of column A and a little of column B?

The Buck Guy's picture

I agree with you OTRAIN. Meyer is great using psychology to motivate and this is a form of that.  You only need to watch game replays of Hall and Hyde to see that Hyde is much much much better at RB. He doesn't go down after first contact like Hall does, and he doesn't dance around in the backfield, but explodes ahead. A lot like Beanie that way, although he lacks the stiff arm and lateral jukes that Beanie had.

~ The Buck Guy
Go Bucks!!!!

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I totally agree with the number of three-and-outs. This defense gave up too many third-and-longs the past few years. I want to see that defense on the sideline a lot.
Quick question, Chad - Do uptempo offensive teams have a defenses that give up a higher point-per-play? My gut says yes, since they're on the field more often. If so, Alabama's .18 might not be the best barometer.

Chad Peltier's picture

There is some evidence that's the case. However, the Buckeye offense won't be running "jet" all the time. The ability to vary tempo and go no huddle is what's important, not just going lightening speed all the time. 

And there's no reason to be too concerned about the Buckeye offense getting off the field too quickly - they were 91st in the country in number of snaps last season. 


Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I'd love to see Meyer/Herman use tempo as a weapon against a tired defense or to jump start a sluggish offense. But I'd like to see the number of plays go up because the defense forced more three and outs. 

Jabba the Hoke's picture

I think the "per play" part takes care of that. If they have more plays, yes there is more opportunity to give up points, but those points are divided by a larger number. The two should average each other out.

NEWBrutus's picture

Good stuff Chad.
Here is what I'm looking for:
Better on third and long and more particular Medium: Last year we converted just over 40% of our opportunities at 3rd and medium (4-7 yards to go).  Third and long (8 yds or more) was dreadful, converting only 20%.  I Would really like to see this number above 45% and closer to 50% on third and medium and closer to 30% on third and long. 
A better run/pass mix:  If Coach Meyer wants to be closer to 50/50 it would be significantly different than last year.  We were barely 50/50 on Passing downs, and well over 2/3 run on standard downs.  67% run 33% pass on first down.  It was nearly 70-30 on second down.  I'm interested to see if this changes not only against Buffalo but in general.  I still think we will be a "run heavy" team, but it would be nice if it were closer to 55% run 45% pass.  I think the improvement of Miller's fundamentals, the improvement of the WR's and the level of confidence the players have in each other as well as the level of confidence the coaches have will be reflected in the play calling.
I'll have to look a little bit harder at the running back success rate you mention. INTERESTING!

The Buck Guy's picture

Good points about the lack of offensive efficiency on 3rd downs. The Buckeyes found themselves in poor 3rd down situations too often last season. I know a lot of that was due to Miller keeping the ball rather than handing the rock to Hyde. Hopefully this year, with Miller's improved understanding of the game (at least as reported), there should be much fewer 3rd and 7's or 8's. Plus, if Miller's passing has improved together with the receivers' skills, this team should convert 3rd and long at least twice as often (if not three times as well).  But, we will have to see for ourselves if the hype matches actual performance. Let's hope.

~ The Buck Guy
Go Bucks!!!!

BuckeyeNathan4's picture

What year is Buff's QB???? Has he experienced anything like the shoe before on a saturday????  If he has they will score a couple times in the blow out, but if he hasnt, he will $hit a brick and goose eggs will be had on the scoreboard

cinserious's picture

Do the Bulls have a qb?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Do the bulls even lift bro?

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

InHartWeTrust's picture

If he is the QB from last year, I'd assume he played at UGA last year.

BukFan's picture

I barely knew Buffalo was an actual university with a football team....Honestly.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great work Chad! 
Go Bucks!!

nm_buck's picture

I don't understand all the schmack talk about Buffalo...
I hope they are a good team worthy of respect, and I hope they have a great season after they play us.

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

pjtobin's picture

I can't wait!! It is almost 1 am Friday morning. Laying here reading 11w has me pumped. One more day. And it's football time!!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.