Nearly two centuries after Mark Twain warned of "lies, damned lies, and statistics," our beloved Will Muschamp has been known to growl that "stats are for losers." Their points are well taken, but I suspect if you pressed both geniuses on the issue, you could and would squeeze out an admission about statistics' utility... properly applied. Numbers can tell lots of stories, some more complete than others.
Which serves as the introduction to tonight's inquiry: While with one click of the mouse we can look at how many points the Texas defense has allowed, having watched all 9 of the Longhorns' games, I know that number doesn't tell the full story of this year's scoring defense.
But what is the full story of this year's scoring defense thus far? Just how many points have they really allowed? Under what circumstances? And while we're at it, how many points have they scored?
Forget stats; we're talking about points -- the tallies on scoreboard. As even our esteemed defensive coordinator will concede: that is the stuff of winners.
2009 Texas Longhorns Defense: Points Allowed
As a preliminary matter, through 9 games Texas has outscored opponents 369-112, allowing an average of 12.4 points per contest. However, 14 of the opposition's points were scored on a blocked punt at Wyoming and via a pick six against UTEP, lowering the points allowed by the defense to 98, or just 10.9 per contest.
So now we can ask: How were those 98 points scored? Below I've charted each score allowed by the defense -- by whom it was scored, the quarter of the game, the type of score, and the drive of which it was a part.
|ULM||1st||3||FG (24)||UT 08||3||1|
|ULM||2nd||7||Pass (75)||Own 20||2||80|
|ULM||4th||3||FG (21)||Own 15||9||81|
|ULM||4th||7||Rush (13)||Own 31||9||69|
|WYO||2nd||3||FG (22)||UT 14||4||9|
|TT||1st||3||FG (41)||Own 19||10||56|
|TT||3rd||7||Pass (14)||Own 39||11||61|
|TT||3rd||7||Pass (10)||Own 16||8||84|
|TT||4th||7||Pass (22)||Own 12||8||88|
|CU||1st||7||Pass (25)||Own 34||8||66|
|CU||2nd||7||Pass (11)||UT 06||1||6|
|OU||1st||3||FG (26)||Own 14||8||77|
|OU||1st||3||FG (37)||Own 26||9||54|
|OU||3rd||7||Pass (35)||Own 32||6||68|
|MU||2nd||7||Pass (11)||Own 19||12||81|
|OSU||2nd||7||Rush (1)||Own 16||8||84|
|OSU||4th||7||Pass (6)||UT 28||7||28|
|UCF||2nd||3||FG (39)||UT 39||8||36|
- On four occasions this season, the defense has taken the field after a turnover in Texas' own red zone, yielding a grand total of 15 yards on 11 plays. UL-Monroe and Wyoming settled for field goals, while Colorado converted a touchdown on one and was intercepted on the other (not charted above).
- If we take away those three assisted scoring drives, and extrapolate the overall success of ULM, Wyoming, and Colorado on their other drives, it wouldn't be unfair to attribute just 86 points allowed to this year's defense, dropping the per-game average to 9.6.
- If on top of that we take away the single outlier touchdown (75-yard touchdown on a snoozing Chykie Brown, in the first game of the year), the points allowed -- all sustained drives of 7 plays or more -- drops further still, to 79 (8.7 per game).
- If on top of that we take away the 10 points accrued by OSU and UCF on a pair of drives starting inside the Texas' 40 yard line, the defense has allowed just 69 points -- a mere 7.7 points per game on drives in which the opposition begins on their own side of the field.
- Meanwhile, Texas' defense (14) and special teams (42) have scored 56 points on the year (6.2 per game).
- CONCLUSION: The Texas offense need only show up, not turn the ball over, and be minimally competent for the 2009 Longhorns to beat non-elite teams. That's it.