Big 12 Football By The Numbers: Is Run Game Returning To Big 12 Playbooks?

In recent years, Big 12 football has been known for its spread formation, pass-heavy, high-scoring offenses. Two weeks into the 2013 season, the numbers would suggest that times are changing among Big 12 teams, and that ground attacks are becoming more the norm than the exception.

Sep 7, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) runs with the ball past West Virginia Mountaineers defensive end Dontrill Hyman (99) and cornerback Travis Bell (26) in the third quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The Oklahoma Sooners beat the West Virginia Mountaineers 16-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Granted, it is still very early in the season, but after 18 games and heading into Week 3, which for several teams will constitute the third and final nonconference game on the 2013 schedule, Big 12 teams have run the football 54 percent of the time, or 709 out of a combined total of 1,312 offensive plays.

Kansas and Iowa State have only played one game, but the eight remaining Big 12 teams are two games into the new season. So far, the biggest reversal of  form on offense this season over a year ago rests with the Oklahoma Sooners. Sixty-six percent of the Sooners’ offensive plays this season have been runs. This represents a sharp contrast from last season when OU, with four-year starter Landy Jones at quarterback, threw the ball 57 percent of the time.

Only Baylor, with eight fewer rushing attempts than league-leading Oklahoma through its first two games, has run the ball as much as the Sooners this season. Ninety-nine of Baylor’s 152 offensive plays this season have been running plays. The Bears are averaging 305 rushing yards through the first two games to OU’s 310-yard average.

Overall, six conference teams have run more rushing plays than passing attempts so far this season, the same percentage as the full season a year ago. Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU, Kansas and Kansas State employed running plays more than the pass last season. The same is true early on this season, with the notable exception of Kansas State.

Last season, with senior quarterback Collin Klein and running back John Hubert both totalling almost 1,000 rushing yards each, Kansas State ran the ball 63 percent of the time, reverting to the forward pass only when they it needed to. The Cats have been much more balanced this season, with a fairly even split between running the ball and throwing it after the first two games.

While the Big 12, over the past 10-12 seasons, is perceived by most college football fans as a quarterback-driven conference that has puts up huge passing yards, the reality is that the past two full seasons, in 2011 and 2012, Big 12 teams executed more running plays than they passing attempts.

Here are a dozwn more revealing facts and figures on Big 12 football to whet your appetite after the first two weeks of the season:

13 – Texas had 13 consecutive nonconference road wins before being run over at BYU last Saturday, 40-21.

16 – Oklahoma’s total points in a 16-7 win over West Virginia last Saturday. That’s the fewest points scored by the Sooners in a home win since defeating Kansas 14-10 in 1967.

26 – Kansas has only won six games in the last three seasons and has only one win in the conference over that time. But the Jayhawks’ 31-14 win over South Dakota last weekend was their 26th in the last 28 home games against nonconference opponents.

50 – Consecutive made extra points by TCU sophomore Jaden Oberkrom, the third longest streak in school history.

61 – Big 12 defenses have held opponents to 61 possessions of three plays or less in the opening two weeks.

69 – Number of first-time starters who began the 2013 season for Big 12 teams, including six new starters at quarterback.

70 – Baylor’s 70 points in its 70-13 win over Buffalo last week set a school record in the modern era (since WWII), breasking the former record of 69, set in the Bears’ opening game this season against Wofford.

75 – Dreamius Smith’s 75-yard touchdown run for West Virginia against Oklahoma last weekend was the first TD run or 75 or more yards on the Sooners’ defense in eight seasons, dating back t0 2005.

81 – Number of touchdowns scored by Big 12 teams through 18 games (43 rushing and 39 through the air).

250 – Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters passed for 250 yards in the first half against Louisiana-Lafayette. That’s the most passing yards in a half by a K-State quarterback since 2008.

300 – Oklahoma has had back-to-back 300-yard rushing games (305 yards against Louisiana-Monroe; 316 vs. West Virginia) for the first time in Bob Stoops’ 15-season head-coaching tenure at OU.

518 – Passing yardage recorded by Oklahoma State, the most in school history, in its 56-35 road victory over University of Texas-San Antonio last weekend.

 

 

Topics: Baylor Bears, Big 12 Football, College Football, Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners

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