Mike Gundy Says Oklahoma State Has to Score More in Red Zone to Win Upcoming Games

Written by Kyle Cox

For the last two seasons, I’ve been keeping track of Oklahoma State’s (and the Big 12’s) red-zone efficiency with a stat I call “PPR” or points per red-zone attempt. It basically quantifies an offense’s effectiveness at scoring inside an opponent’s 20-yard line (or a defense’s at protecting theirs).

Unfortunately, Oklahoma State has not been especially effective at either through five games. We looked at the Texas Tech game specifically last week. Now let’s take a look at how the Cowboys rank among the conference as we near the halfway point of the season.

Offensive PPR
Team RZ ATT. RZ PCT. RZ TDs RZ FGs PPR
Oklahoma 21/23 91.3% 19 2 6.04
West Virginia 22/25 88.0% 19 3 5.68
Iowa State 18/19 94.7% 13 5 5.45
Kansas 19/20 95.0% 13 6 5.45
TCU 20/23 86.9% 16 4 5.39
Kansas State 21/23 91.3% 14 7 5.17
Oklahoma State 24/29 82.8% 17 7 4.83
Texas Tech 22/29 75.9% 18 4 4.76
Texas 16/23 69.6% 13 3 4.35
Baylor 11/14 78.6% 6 5 4.07

The Cowboys have had an issue with red-zone efficiency all year (and for most of Mason Rudolph’s career) but that was compounded against Texas Tech when it missed two field goals in the red zone and threw a pick-6.

Oklahoma State can probably afford that in Lubbock or even against Baylor this weekend, but not against OU or West Virginia. Mike Gundy is confident that Ammendola will get his leg right and even admitted that he probably should gone for it on at least one of the fourth downs. But he said they’re still efforting to fix what ails their short-field O.

“Part of that was (defensive coordinator) David (Gibbs) made some really good calls for (Texas Tech),” said Gundy this week. “We had a couple plays we didn’t execute very good. That’s an issue we have to try to manage the best we can. There are only so many things you can do. It becomes a numbers game and a space game. We’re not a great power football team. That’s not something we do. We’re certainly aware of it. We have to score more touchdowns down in there if we’re going to win these games.

“First you have to identify what the problem is. Then you have to find out why it was a problem. Then you come up with 3-4 solutions to those issues. Then you find which one of those fits best on your personnel and who we are and who we’re playing. You pick 2-3 of them, and you work those and you live with them. Then on Saturday you call it, and you go with it.”

How is Oklahoma State’s defense at limiting opponents inside the 20? Let’s take a look.

Defensive PPR
Team RZ ATT. RZ PCT. RZ TDs RZ FGs PPR
TCU 10/14 71.4% 5 5 3.57
Kansas State 12/17 70.6% 7 5 3.76
Texas 11/15 73.3% 8 3 4.33
Baylor 17/19 89.5% 8 9 4.37
Oklahoma State 16/20 80.0% 10 6 4.40
Oklahoma 15/16 93.8% 7 8 4.56
West Virginia 15/18 83.3% 10 5 4.72
Texas Tech 18/22 81.8% 14 4 5.00
Kansas 21/25 84.0% 19 2 5.56
Iowa State 16/17 94.1% 13 3 5.88

The Cowboys are right in the middle of the pack in red-zone defense. However, against Big 12 teams, Glenn Spencer’s crew gave up 27 points on six red-zone trips to Tech (4.5 ppr) and 30 on six attempts in the loss to TCU (5.0 ppr). That needs to be better.

Fortunately, the Cowboys host the worst team in offensive PPR in the league this Saturday. Let’s hope we see them hold Baylor below its season-long 4.07 mark.

Note: Numbers are for games before Thursday, October 12.