With the Sooners facing the bye this weekend, Oklahoma fans are left without games that they have a true vested interest in. The bye week is always a good opportunity to evaluate how your team is actually performing, compared to public opinion. The perception is that the offense has flip-flopped from last season with a strong rushing attack and a minimal passing attack, but what do the stats say?
Stats Are Saying That Oklahoma's Passing Game Is Struggling
Even with the record-breaking performance of Blake Bell on Saturday against Tulsa, the Sooners are just 76th nationally in passing at 218.70 yards per game. Based on that alone, we have to agree with the stats. Bell could very well be the solution to the issue and we should know more after the Sooners play Notre Dame next week. As for now though, Oklahoma's quarterbacks have a combined 56% completion rate with eight touchdowns and three interceptions on the season.
The Sooners are currently eighth in the Big Tweleve in passing yards per game. At an average of 218.7 yards only TCU and Kansas have a worse average than Oklahoma, so you can clearly see that there's still a lot to prove for this team through the air.
Stastics Are Saying That The Receiving Corps Is Gradually Improving
This is true! Drops plagued this group in the first game, against Louisiana-Monroe, and then questionable routes against West Virginia. By the time the Tulsa game rolled around, last week, this unit seemed to have found their stride. They went from an average of 8.8 yards per catch in week one, to 11.9 in week two, and then 15.29 against Tulsa.
|Roy Finch||3||31||10.3||29 (TD)||1|
|Trey Metoyer||2||18||9.0||13 (TD)||1|
Of course the key to success for the receivers is the quarterbacks confidence. In the first two games Oklahoma quarterbacks connected on a combined 45% of their passes. Last Saturday, against Tulsa, Blake Bell was good on 73% of his passes. When a quarterback is in rhythm and his hitting his passes with confidence you get to a more accurate picture of the potential of the receiving corps. Unfortunately the Sooners have only been in that scenario once this season but the end result for the receivers was very encouraging.
Statistics Are Saying That Oklahoma's Rushing Attack Is Very Strong
Once again this pans out to be accurate. Through three games, the Sooners lead the Big Twelve in total rushing yards (815) and are second in the conference in both yards per carry average (5.4) and yards per game (271.7). Oklahoma currently has the nation's 15th best rushing attack and will no doubt try to improve on that as the season wears on.
Looking deeper into the stats we find some incredibly encouraging news regarding Oklahoma's rushing attack. In all three games this season the Sooners have averaged more yards per carry in the fourth quarter than what the game average is. Be it by a slim margin, as in the West Virginia game, or by a large margin, as in the Tulsa game, the point is that this Oklahoma offense is wearing down their defensive counterparts as the game progresses. That's not a trademark of a finesse offense, as some would have described Oklahoma in the past, but its the mark of a physical team that just pounds you into submission. This will be an interesting stat to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Oklahoma Football Yards Per Carry Average
|Opponent||Game Average||4th Quarter Average|
Stats Are Saying That Oklahoma's Offensive Line Is Effective
With four returning starters from 2012, and several other players having game experience, Oklahoma's offensive line was expected to be strong and a fourth of the way through the season they've lived up to that expectation. The above rushing stats can be contributed, in part, to the offensive line being more physical in 2013. Beyond that, they've allowed just 4 sacks in 91 passing attempts. That's just one sack for every twenty-two passing attempts. The offensive line has more than held their own against the first three opponents of the 2013 season.
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