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OSU’s Turnover Margin Rate is Historic(ally Bad)

Look away!



You already know that Oklahoma State turns the ball over a lot. You already know that this is a Spencer Sanders problem. You already know that Jim Knowles’ defenses don’t turn teams over. What you might now know is that when you add all of this up, OSU actually has the worst conference-only turnover margin in the last decade of Big 12 football. That’s 114 team seasons since 2009, and nobody has been worse (so far).


Here are the five worst per-game numbers since 2009.

  • Baylor (2009): -1.25
  • West Virginia (2013): -1.33
  • Texas (2010): -1.50
  • Kansas (2017): -1.56
  • Oklahoma State (2019): -1.75

There’s actually worse news though: The combined record of those other four teams was 14-34. The best record of the bunch was Texas in 2010 when they went 5-7. Baylor and WVU both went 4-8. Kansas did what Kansas does and went 1-11.

There is of course hope that OSU can turn this number around over their remaining five Big 12 games against Iowa State, TCU, Kansas, West Virginia and OU. Four games isn’t a massive sample, but we’re still almost halfway home and if they don’t flip this around then the reality they’re staring at is the potential of a losing season.

They sort of got away with this last season when they only gained eight turnovers because they only (“only”) lost 15. They’ve already lost 12 this time around with 20 quarters of football still to go.

It’s a two-way problem to me. The bigger issue is obviously on offense where you have more control over how much you’re giving it up, but one of the hallmarks of the Gundy era has been defenses that create chaos which leads to TOs. That hasn’t happened under Jim Knowles like it did under other defensive coordinators.

The record here, by the way, is Kansas State in 2012 when they had a +2.11 TO margin (!!) in Big 12 games. That was 26 gained and just seven lost. That narrowly clipped OSU’s 2011 margin when they gained 33 (!) and lost 16 for a 1.89 per-game number. I hope they don’t match the opposite of that in 2019.

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