There are three types of Inside the Numbers that I enjoy to write: the first, statistically crazy performances where everyone sets records, like the New Mexico State game to start the year; the second, close games where you have to dig to find the few key stats that separated the teams, such as the contests against Baylor and West Virginia last year; and the third, what we witnessed this weekend against OU, where the contrasts in performances between equal teams was so sharp that it touched all statistical measures. Let's get to it.
82 - 445 (5.4) - 36: Texas offensive plays - offensive yards (yards per play) - total points
59 - 263 (4.5) - 20: Oklahoma offensive plays - offensive yards (yards per play) - total points
That right there about says it all. Texas averaged nearly a full yard more per play on 23 additional plays. Absent lopsided special teams performances (which Texas had a slight advantage in), or crazy turnover differentials (even on the day), getting that level of offensive production dominance will lead to pretty comfortable wins. The play and production differential are pretty easy to explain. First, the play differential.
13 - 20: Texas offense 3rd down conversions - 3rd down opportunities
2 - 13: Oklahoma offense 3rd down conversions - 3rd down opportunities
The Texas offense flat kept drives alive, and did it in a variety of ways: power running when staying ahead of the chains (see just about any Malcolm Brown run behind Alex De La Torre in the I), strong individual play (Case McCoy finding Jaxon Shipley settling between two defenders early in the game), excellent play design and call from Major Applewhite (on Kendall Sanders early 3rd down reception, watch the 2 RBs headed to the flats and how they pull the OU LBs away from the middle of the field), and simple yet beautiful execution (Johnathan Gray's wicked lead draw). Of Texas's 12 offensive drives, 6 went for 50+ yards (2 for TDs, 2 for FGs, and two turnovers on fumble and downs). The offensive production on those 3rd down opportunities? 20 plays, 193 yards, 9.65 yards per play. All against a defense that was best in the Big 12 at allowing 27% of 3rd down conversions.
On the other side, Oklahoma had a tough day on 3rd down. Oklahoma's struggles came from failure to get ahead of the chains by establishing their run game, and absolutely dreadful performance of QB Blake Bell in the passing game. Of OU's 13 attempts at 3rd down, the Sooners netted -4 yards. Not a miscalculation. Oklahoma had only 3 drives go for more than 30 yards (10 plays - 58 yards ending in FG to start the game, 8 plays - 55 yards ending in FG to start the second half, and 7 plays - 58 yards ending on downs to finish the game). The only offensive TD came on a short field following a long kickoff return.
60 - 255 (4.3), 22 - 190 (8.6): Texas rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry), passing attempts - passing yards (yards per attempt)
33 - 130 (3.9), 26 - 133 (5.1): Oklahoma rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry), passing attempts - passing yards (yards per attempt)
Nearly half a yard better per carry on nearly twice as many rush attempts. 3.5 yards better per pass attempt. Money. Individual tips of the hat coming.
29 - 123 (4.2) - 0: Johnathan Gray rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
23 - 120 (5.2) - 0: Malcolm Brown rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
Brown and Gray ran hard and smart from the opening gun to the ending cannon, and posted the first pair of 100-yard rushers for Texas in the history of the Texas-OU rivalry. At the midpoint of the season, Johnathan Gray sits at 562 rushing yards, and is ready to be Texas's first 1,000 yard rusher since Jamaal Charles in 2007. However impressive their running was, it wasn't possible without the most dominant performance by a Texas offensive front in years. And because it's a group that doesn't really translate to a Inside the Numbers type of appearance, they get a special shoutout.
The group got displacement up front, and maintained their blocks, and it led to consistent production from Brown and Gray. Of the 52 carries for the lead dogs, only 5 total yards were lost. Malcolm Brown didn't lose a single yard, and didn't have a run longer than 13 yards. Domination. And they did it without breaks; with Desmond Harrison in street clothes, Josh Cochran still in a sling, and Sedrick Flowers not making an appearance, it was all starting five.
1 - 59 - 1: Marcus Johnson receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
1 - 38 - 1: Mike Davis receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
5 - 59 - 0: Jaxon Shipley receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
4 - 29 - 0: Kendall Sanders receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
Marcus Johnson and Mike Davis provided the explosion, and Jaxon Shipley and Kendall Sanders did the heavy lifting underneath.
5 - 124 - 1: Daje Johnson punt returns - punt return yards - punt return TDs
When it was first announced that Daje Johnson would be returning punts against OU, it felt a little bit like a panic move. I questioned the wisdom of giving a guy his first shot at returning punts in the toughest game of the season.
Shame on me for doubting The Daje Johnson Show. He was sure handed and made great decisions on the field, and that was all I needed to see. If you are building the ideal punt returner in a lab, you get Daje Johnson. Low center of gravity, strong lower build, explosive change of direction ability, separation speed. The 85 yard punt return TD in a sorely needed spot in the 3rd quarter was beautiful football. On a day where Daje got his touches on offense but did little with them, the move to get him more involved on special teams proved incredibly valuable.
9 - 1: Adrian Phillips tackles - quarterback hits
8 - 1.5 - 1: Cedric Reed tackles - tackles for loss - sacks
6 - 1 - 1: Malcom Brown and Chris Whaley combined tackles - INTs - TDs
It's hard for me to pick a single defensive MVP, but those 4 players are the ones I felt were most responsible for Texas handling the Oklahoma offense. Adrian Phillips was deployed as the Swiss Army Knife for the defense, playing as a deep safety, lined up in the box as a run force, and covering slot receivers and backs out of the backfield. He proved tough to block and was always aware of what Oklahoma was trying to do on offense. Big game from AP.
Cedric Reed, my defensive MVP overall at the mid-point of the season, continued his dominance on the edge for the Texas defense, being 2nd in tackles and notching another sack.
Malcom Brown and Chris Whaley led the charge for the defensive tackles, alongside Tank Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway. The DTs stood up double teams and destroyed single blocks all game long, and kept the Texas back seven clean.
Not sure I could hit everyone that flashed or had a moment in this game, but I tried to hit the highlights. What numbers jumped out to you, and which numbers do you feel were the biggest factors in the win?