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Through 3 Games, 2017 Offense is More Efficient Than 2011



The similarities are remarkable. In 2011, Oklahoma State played Louisiana, Arizona and Tulsa in its three games leading up to the Big 12 Conference slate. This year’s trio of Tulsa, South Alabama and Pittsburgh is more or less the same schedule. A Power 5 school, a Sun Belt school … and Tulsa.

This year’s team is out-pacing the 2011 team by just 18 total yards and 5 total points. However, it has been far more efficient on offense, needing just 213 plays to amass those totals compared to 259 for the 2011 team.

Additionally, the OSU offense has engaged in just 36 offensive drives this year (this does not include punt fumbles or defensive scores) whereas the 2011 team had 45 drives through three games in 2011. And the 2017 team has scored nearly as many offensive points! That’s pretty stunning.

Overall Oklahoma State is averaging more team points in 2017 with nine fewer offensive drives (this is where I should point out that the 2011 team didn’t get a defensive score in each of the first three games).

Here’s a look at the stats.

Thru Game 3 2011 Offense 2017 Offense
Yards 1,803 1,821
Yards per play 7.0 8.6
Rush yards 579 599
Yards per carry 4.7 5.5
Pass yards 1,224 1,222
Yards per attempt 9.0 11.8
Points 157 162
Points per game 52.3 54.0
Offensive drives 45 36
Offensive points 150 141
Points per drive 3.33 3.92
First downs 88 81
Leading passer Weeden — 385 YPG Rudolph — 378 YPG
Leading rusher Randle — 126 YPG Hill — 83 YPG
Leading receiver Blackmon — 110 YPG Washington — 122 YPG

The result of all of these numbers? The 2017 team is averaging over half a point more drive and has been cleaner when it has the ball (4 turnovers this year compared to 6 for the 2011 team through three games).

Coming into the season, I was dubious that this year’s offense could keep pace with that absurdly good 2011 squad. Led by two first-round picks, that year’s team basically rewrote the Oklahoma State media guide. This one, through three games, seems intent on doing the same.

The real test begins this week against TCU, though. In 2011 Oklahoma State finished the season averaging 3.42 points per drive (garbage time and end-of-half adjusted) which this team has a shot of matching. If they do so, they can’t have off weeks, and they can’t have bumps in the road against inferior opponents.

TCU will be a decent benchmark for Big 12 play this week as its defense has looked pretty solid thus far, probably the best OSU has played. I have a feeling, though, that’s probably not going to matter all that much.

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