Texas Tech appears to be a bit better than Arizona State in the per play stats, largely because Patrick Mahomes is a better passer than the Arizona quarterback. Despite Texas Tech not running the ball that much, I think that about 4.5 yards a carry is just fine considering the lack of a running game for Texas Tech. One key that probably kept the game close for Arizona State against Northern Arizona is the turnover margin, being in the negative for ASU and positive for Texas Tech.
I am quite impressed with the third down success for Arizona State and would guess that when they do run the ball, they’re grinding out those third down conversions, gaining positive yards on 1st and 2nd downs and then converting at a fairly high rate after that.
Defensively, they both played FCS teams, although I have no idea how good or bad Northern Arizona is. Both rushing defenses were good, although I don’t believe that NAU made much attempt at running the ball, but then again, neither did SFA. The biggest difference is the yards per passing attempt, where ASU gave up a ton of passing yards. That fits with their profile from last year, a team that cannot defend the pass.
All of the other stats are pretty even, within a couple percentage points on third down conversions and both being not great at stopping the opponent in the red zone. Of course, this doesn’t account for both teams keeping their respective FCS opponents out of the red zone altogether.
Kind of a mixed bag here for Texas Tech and a bit surprised that Texas Tech is so low on explosiveness, but very pleased that Texas Tech is doing so well in efficiency. And don’t fool yourself, that jump in field position is directly related to the punt returns. That’s a good thing. A bit shocked by the Rushing Success Rate, but it’s a small sample size. For Arizona State, nothing really jumps out at me other than they’re generally a top 30 offense and they grind the ball, much like the numbers above indicate. The Sun Devils are much better at running the ball than passing the ball and that’s not really a surprise.
Defensively, it’s fun to those numbers look so good for Texas Tech even though they most likely won’t last. Not to be negative, but to obtain these sorts of numbers would be a catastrophic leap, but I’ll enjoy then while they last. Keep in mind that these numbers are all adjusted accordingly to account for FCS opponents and what you’re seeing is a top 50 defense with one game down. The numbers that stand out to me is the efficiency metric and the Rushing Success Rate, those are ridiculously high and don’t ask me why the Rushing IsoPPP is not available.
Arizona State is a bit Jekyll and Hyde, good in some areas, but not so great in others. As mentioned already, ASU is pretty terrible against the pass no matter how you cut it, traditional or advanced stats. The Sun Devils are better against the run, but generally speaking, the defense struggled a bit on Saturday.