Regular Season Recap: Texas Longhorn Football 2018 - NinosCorner Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Friday, November 30, 2018

Regular Season Recap: Texas Longhorn Football 2018

Regular Season Recap:  Texas Longhorn Football 2018
by B.R. Battle
BattleStat Number Definition
The BattleStat Number (BSN) for the analysis of a team showcases how efficient a team is by calculating the offensive and defensive productivity of a team. These numbers are categorized into two sections…Offense (BSN-OFF) and Defense (BSN-DEF). To calculate the BSN-OFF and BSN-DEF, Offense and Defense Success Rates (OSR and DSR) will be analyzed to illustrate how successful and effective a team is.  OSR and DSR are calculated by accomplishing successful plays.  Successful plays occur when a play gains enough yardage to keep an offense progressing towards a 1st down (50% of yardage on 1st down, 70% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd/4th down).  A higher number equates to a better overall score.

BSN-OFF
After last season's woeful play by the Texas offense, who would have predicted that the Longhorns would have showcased a more efficient offense than 9 of the 12 opponents they faced throughout the season.  With a 40 point average NCAA BSN-OFF, Texas compiled a 12-game average of 55.1 points ...well above the NCAA average and teetering into "excellent" status.  During this stint, the Longhorns posted higher BSN-OFF scores than three top 15 offenses in the nation (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech).  In fact, Texas posted scores at an average of 13.9 points above these three teams.  On the contrary, the Longhorns posted a score less than the NCAA average only once during the team's loss to Maryland in the season opener.
To say this offense made a complete turn around in year 2 of Tom Herman's tenure is an understatement.  They carried the team this year, which is in stark contrast from last year's scenario in which the defense led the way.  How were the Longhorn's able to  accomplish this?  Well, for starters,  the Texas offense was a direct reflection of star quarterback Sam Ehlinger's actions.  If we view the team's passing OSR, you will notice  that the Longhorns were only below the NCAA average of 40% 3 times during the season.  The team's season total passing OSR was 49%, which is above average, but a drastic increase from last season's 39% score.  As a result, the Longhorn's total OSR increased from a below average 38% in 2017 to an above average 45.7% this year.

Another interesting stat for Texas was the amount of rush attempts they had on a per game basis.  In the Longhorn's 9 wins, they averaged 41 carries per game.  In their 3 losses, Texas averaged just 35 total carries.  When the Longhorns ran the ball and establish their identity, they were very hard to overcome.

BSN-DEF
The NCAA average BSN-DEF score is 45 points.  Texas averaged a 52.3 point BSN-DEF throughout this season.  They were below the NCAA average during 4 of their games this year.  Of those 4 games, the Longhorns lost 3 of those contests.  Texas compiled 8 wins in all 8 games they posted a BSN-DEF over the NCAA average.
Although Texas was above average in regards to BSN-DEF, their Defense Success Rating (DSR) dipped slightly compared to last season. The Longhorn's average DSR this season was 49.5%, which is slightly lower than last year's 54%.  The decrease in this season's defensive efficiency is attributed to the DSR against their opponent's run game.  In 2017, the Texas defense's main objective was to make a team one-dimensional by limiting their opponent's running game.  The Longhorn's were very successful accomplishing this last year.  They tallied a 50.6% DSR against the run.  This year's DSR against the run decreased to 46.9%, just 3.7% less than the 2017 season.

Although the run game DSR percentage offsets seem slight, the totality of the numbers could have been game-changers for this Texas team.   The Longhorn defense faced 399 running plays throughout this season.  They were successful against 187 plays.  The 3.7% difference stated above would have increased the Texas successful plays against the run to 202 plays...an increase of 15 plays.  In a season where the Longhorns lost 3 games by a total of 9 points, the addition of an extra 15 successful plays could have paid huge dividends for this team to change the Texas losses to potential wins.

BIG XII CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Looking at this season's review, it's pretty obvious what Texas needs to do to bring the Big XII Championship trophy back to Austin.  The Longhorns need to establish a running game to impose their will and establish their identity on Oklahoma.  The Texas defense needs to stop the Sooner running game, including trying to limit Oklahoma Quarterback Kyle Murray from gaining first downs and large yardage plays with his legs.  The Longhorns beat the Sooners earlier this year and have the confidence of knowing they can win this game.  Oklahoma is looking for revenge and a possible birth in the College Football Playoffs.  The stakes cannot get any higher for both teams.  This should be a great game!

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