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.

  • Chris Putnam

    You have the Sooners Red Zone off % incorrect. It should be 91.3%

    • Lee

      15/16 = 93.75% (You sound like a gooner with math problems.)

      • Chris Putnam

        First of all I have 4 tickets on the 50 yard line st BPS. Second as I stated in my original post: Sooners Red Zone off %. Off = offense. You showed the def %. Now go back to the first table and look at Ou’s off %. The math is wrong. Class dismissed.

        • Lee

          My mistake. You are correct. I missed your “off” statement.

          • Chris Putnam

            No worries. We are rooting for the same team.
            I’m wondering who I want to lose in Dallas this weekend? If the Sooners lose then it’s the sky is falling in Norman and they can almost kiss the Big 12 title game goodbye….on the other hand -No I just want OU to lose.

          • Lee

            I think I want OU to win. Then, if TCU beats OU and we beat OU it will be us and TCU in the CG. If OU beats TCU and we beat OU, then we have a three way tie. If we lose to OU, we are out of it anyway. TX winning just muddies the water for the Big 12 which is not good for anyone. On the otherhand, if TX beats OU, that looks bad for Ohio State…which is ok with me. And, it probably increases the chance that we will beat OU.

  • stepdaddy

    Holy hell! There might actually be hope for one or more the Kyle’s around here. These stats tell the story of why OSU and OU offenses are statistically similar, but why OU wins more championships and beats better competition. OSU does not score enough in the red zone. Also, I am so proud of you for noting the our defensive numbers are actually much worse in the B12 when OSU is playing better teams. This is actually really good reporting as opposed to the typical let’s find excuses articles, whoas me what happens if Gundy or MY are hired away (laughable) or a personal favorite “I love it that our coach has a pet jackass” that are the norm around here. Keep up the good work.

    • T-Bone

      Gundy has a pet jackass? Who knew?

      • Adam M.

        His name is Stepdaddy.

    • okstate4life

      No joke!! I was thinking the exact same thing and then I had to go back a reread the author’s name as I thought one of the other Kyle’s had finally gripped reality. On a different note, (smart)Kyle mentions that these redzone issues have been going on for a few years now. Weird, I wonder if some sort of change happened a few years ago that has negatively affected our redzone schemes?? Hmmm….

  • Alum in AZ

    Jumbo DQ package.

  • Big Daddy

    Crap, sounds like we’d better just score from outside the 20. Just like on FGs and backing Ammendola up . . .

  • Mkobize

    You’re talking to the wrong guys Mike. Tell the guy in the mirror.

  • Adam M.

    Tech and Pokes inflated their own redzone numbers by a lot.