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Oklahoma State Has Not Been Great in the Red Zone This Season



We’ve seen four weeks of football and we’ve learned a decent amount about Oklahoma State’s team. Some weeks have taught us more than others. One thing that last week’s loss to TCU taught us is that Oklahoma State still has some work to do when it comes to being effective in the score zone — on either side of the ball.

Let’s look at a stat I call PPR or points per red-zone attempt. It basically quantifies an offense’s (or defense’s) effectiveness in the score zone by looking at scoring percentage and weighing touchdowns vs. field goals. The caveat here is that most of this data is based on non-conference opponents. But we can still see how each team has performed so far and which have some room for improvement.

Here’s a look at the Big 12 in terms of points per red-zone attempt on offense. Four teams — Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Iowa State — have only played three games so far.

Offensive PPR
Team RZ Att. RZ Pct. RZ TDs RZ FGs PPR
Oklahoma 17/18 94.4% 16 1 5.50
West Virginia 20/22 90.9% 18 2 5.18
Iowa State 13/14 92.9% 11 2 5.14
TCU 17/19 89.5% 14 3 4.89
Kansas 16/17 94.1% 11 5 4.76
Oklahoma State 17/19 89.4% 12 5 4.57
Baylor 9/11 81.8% 6 3 4.09
Kansas State 11/13 84.6% 8 3 4.38
Texas Tech 12/17 71.0% 11 1 4.05
Texas 10/15 66.7% 9 1 3.80

The Cowboys are right in the middle of the pack in points per attempt thanks largely to having settled for five field goals in 19 red-zone trips. OSU is actually ahead of only Kansas and Baylor in field goal percentage in the red zone at 26.3 percent of those trips ending in a kick instead of a touchdown.

When OSU heads to Lubbock it will face a Texas Tech team that, so far, has been better than only Texas in this department. Tech has only settled for one field goal inside its opponent’s 20-yard line but has come up completely empty on nearly 30 percent of those trips.

Let’s look at how good the Cowboy defense has been deep in its own territory.

Defensive PPR
Team RZ Att. RZ Pct. RZ TDs RZ FGs PPR
Texas 6/10 60.0% 4 2 3.00
TCU 8/11 72.7% 4 4 3.27
Baylor 11/13 84.6% 5 6 3.69
Kansas State 5/7 71.4% 4 1 3.85
Oklahoma State 11/14 78.6% 7 4 3.85
Oklahoma 11/12 91.7% 6 5 4.25
West Virginia 12/14 85.7% 8 4 4.28
Kansas 16/19 84.2% 15 1 4.89
Texas Tech 8/9 88.9% 7 1 5.00
Iowa State 11/11 100.0% 9 2 5.45

Unfortunately, OSU is in the middle of the pack here, as well. Its held opponents to field goals 28.6 percent of the time which is fourth-best in the conference but has only held opponents scoreless three times.

On Saturday, the Cowboys allowed the Horned Frogs six trips deep into OSU territory and allowed them to leave with points each time. A week earlier, Pittsburgh made it into the red zone just twice but got two touchdowns to show for it.

Across the field, the Red Raiders have been predictably bad, allowing 5.0 points per red-zone trip and have only held opponents to one field goal in the score zone.

This is represents just one part of the equation for the matchup this Saturday and for Oklahoma State moving forward. But the Cowboys will need to improve in red-zone defense as the Big 12 season rolls on. It could make the difference in a game or two.

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