To the Booth: Purdue By the Numbers

By Chad Peltier on October 31, 2013 at 11:15a
I wish I knew the context for this Purdue duck and roll

Purdue is bad.

Really, really bad. As in the-worst-team-that-OSU-has-seen-all-year (according to the F/+) level of bad. Here's the Buckeye's schedule according to the F/+ rankings (note that Penn State was better on F/+ before last week's historic beatdown): 

F/+ -6.5% -15.6% -17.3% 25% 3.4% 11% -2% -21.6%

These numbers have the potential to change significantly as the season progresses, but Purdue is the worst team the Buckeyes have faced (not counting FAMU) by a healthy margin.

If Darrell Hazell wants to continue the Danny Hope tradition of West Lafayette lifelines, he'll need a bottle of pure, unadulterated luck on November 2nd. 

You know the drill at this point. Below are some important metrics for comparing Purdue and the Buckeyes, including offensive and defensive points per play, offensive and defensive yards per play, explosive play ratio, the turnover ratio, and red zone efficiency.

  Off PPP DEF PPP OFF YPP DEF YPP EX Play Turnovers Red zone
OSU .628 .287 6.87 (11) 5.04 (20) 44 (21) +8 80%
Purdue .204 .488 4.24 (120) 5.66 (75) 17 (123) -5 44%

Like Penn State last week, Purdue turned to a true freshman quarterback with high upside in Danny Etling. Etling was a composite four-star recruit and has a pretty decent skill set as a passer, but is prone to throwing interceptions.

The Offensive Numbers Are Blinding

Purdue turned to Etling after incumbent starter Rob Henry wasn't getting it done for Hazell and company, but the offense has yet to really see the benefits of the switch, ranking almost last in the country in offensive yards per play. If being 120th in the country in YPP didn't convince you of Purdue's offensive woes, then the fact that the Buckeye offense averages over three times as many points per play should be enough to convince you. It's not just short fields or poor red zone offense that dooms the Boilermakers – they're just not there yet on offense. 

New stat alert! I turned to Football Outsiders for a new metric this week, which they call running back block success rate. The idea is to break down the rushing statistics to see how much can be attributed to the offensive line and how much to the running back. Here's their definition: 

If line yards offer 100 percent credit to the offensive line for yards gained up to five yards, what percentage of a teams runs then reach five yards? The use of "success rate" here might be confusing (I'll search for a better name) but we'll use this for now. This is the percentage of runs by a running back that go at least five yards.

Urban has said over and over that, “I’d take this offensive line over any that I’ve seen. Tremendous players, work ethic, cohesiveness.” What do the numbers say? Simply enough, that the Buckeyes have one of the top lines in the country according to this metric. 53.9% of runs go for at least five yards, which is tops in the entire country right now. The Buckeyes are also eighth in "line yards" (3.68) in the quote above. The line isn't perfect, as they aren't as great on passing downs or in various sack rates, but you've got to hand it to Warinner for cleaning things up. 

  • Purdue on the other hand? 119th in line yards (2.52) and 102nd in running back block success rate. The bright side is that the line is only average in giving up sacks on passing downs. So there's that! 
  • Against Big Ten opponents (Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State), Purdue has had a total of 14 three and outs. That's not good. However, one bright spot is that the Boilermakers have had fewer and fewer three and outs per game: six against Wisconsin, five against Nebraska, and only three against MSU. The goal for any offense is to get under two per game.
Looking at the numbers and their roster, Etling is really Purdue's only shot.The offense has Etling but almost no running game 

Let's Get Defensive, Boilermakers

  • If the Boilermaker offense has struggled this season, the defense has merely been mediocre-to-bad. They give up roughly 170% as many points per play as the Buckeye defense. 
  • One bright spot for the Purdue defense is that they are actually 36th in the country in opponent explosive plays with 30 on the season (Ohio State is 5th with 20).
  • With the defense being as mediocre in PPP and YPP as it is, however, this suggests that Purdue's opponents have been really good at both third down conversion percentage and red zone scoring...which they have. Purdue ranks 111th in opponent third down conversion rate and 117th in opponent red zone scoring. 
  • That, in turn, suggests that Purdue's opponents have been efficient on standard downs and have limited negative plays. Look for the Buckeye offense to have success on first and second down to set up more than manageable third downs for Hyde and company. 
  • Purdue is 107th in sacks with ten on the year and 104th in tackles for loss, which gives credence to the hypothesis that Purdue allows opposing offenses to be highly efficient and "on track" in terms of stringing together long drives (while, to their credit, limiting big plays). 

Comments Show All Comments

DJRoss926's picture

How much worse is this offense if Bollman had stayed?

chirobuck's picture

I will not stop worrying till the final seconds tick off the clock.....I don't care how bad they are, I've seen some pretty bad Purdue teams give the Buckeyes fits esp at home


^ best post ever ^

Doc's picture

Anything but a blow out will be looked upon as a weak Buckeye team.  We are in a no win situation this weekend.  I hope for a blow out win and look good doing it.  But any victory at Ross-Ade is a good one.  Go Bucks!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Buckeye419er's picture

Pretty sure we got this..just sayin

There can be only one

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I've seen all the "oh, we can't look past Purdue--look at how many times they've upset us" comments--but in point of fact, outside of the massive exception of 2009, our recent losses to them really haven't been upsets. And even the 2009 Boilers were a .500 team in conference play.
So I'm not going to talk myself into being worried. They're terrible and we're not.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

OSUBias's picture

They are just god awful. We need to dial up like a 66-0 drubbing. Get a shutout to get the defense's swagger at full capacity for the home stretch.
But, because there is a witch curse on us playing in that stadium, I'll settle for any type of W.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

sivaDavis's picture

Wait, worse than FAMU...

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

MassiveAttack's picture

No football team at the collegiate level is worse than FAMU.  Especially not in The B1G.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"


^^Savannah State

Nothing clinses the sole like getting the hell kicked out of you - Woody Hayes

45has2's picture


"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

GoBucks713's picture

Texas State Armadillos

-The Aristocrats!

sivaDavis's picture

Southern Alabama University?

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

Rjpfish2's picture

The Georgia St. Panthers, hailing from the Sun Belt, have lost to THREE FCS schools this year. Miami(OH) is pretty terrible also, winless in the MAC while being outscored by more than 3 touchdowns a game.