The Box Score: Inside College Football Statistics

BY BEN ROSS | NOVEMBER 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Box Score is a weekly segment in which a Daily Iowan football reporter uses statistics to contextualize Iowa football’s performance over the course of the season.

With Iowa coming off a bye this past week, there’s little to look at the Hawkeyes in terms of statistics and other fancy percentages. Today, we’ll take a peek at some of the top numbers in the entire nation, and maybe see where Iowa fits in comparison.

Scoring Offense — Baylor: 61.2 Pts/Game, No. 1 in NCAA

All the Bears do is score points. Through just nine games, Baylor has scored 75 touchdowns and 9 field goals to net 551 points. Baylor is undefeated and has moved up to No. 4 in the BCS rankings right behind Ohio State. Junior quarterback Bryce Petty and his hand cannon are leading the way for the scoring attack in Waco, throwing 24 tuddy’s to just 1 interception. Talk about efficiency.

The Bears are pretty balanced, too; 2,700 of their yards and 41 of their scores have come on the ground, and 3,400 yards and 27 touchdowns have been through the air in 724 total plays. In comparison, the Iowa football team averages 26.6 points per game. It has run five more plays than Baylor but has scored just 266 points. It has 210 first downs to Baylor’s 269. Keep in mind Iowa has also played one more game than Baylor.

It’s probably not totally fair to compare these two offenses, like apples and oranges. Still, something seems to be working down South. Don’t be too surprised when the Big Ten starts putting up numbers seen mostly in such parts of the country as Eugene, Ore., Lubbock, Texas, and … DeKalb, Ill.?

Red Zone Conversions — Florida State 98.2%, No. 1 in NCAA

All Florida State does is succeed in the red zone. When the Seminoles are within 20 yards of the end zone, they will score. The Florida team from Tallahassee has been in the red zone 56 times this season and has come away with points 55 of those times — 44 touchdowns and 11 field goals. This is a reason Florida State is No. 2 in the BCS rankings and will likely play for a national championship.

Iowa, on the other hand, is 95th in the nation with a 77.5 percent conversion rate in the red zone. The Hawkeyes have been 20 yards out or closer from pay dirt 40 times this season and have come away with points just 31 times — 20 touchdowns and 11 field goals. The Hawkeyes are 11th in the Big Ten in the red-zone rate, leading only horrible, horrible Purdue. But Northwestern and Minnesota are 1 and 2, respectively, in the Big Ten in this stat, and both those teams kinda suck. So maybe it’s not such a big deal after all.

Long Plays From Scrimmage — Texas Tech 231 plays of 10 or more yards, No. 1 in NCAA

All Texas Tech does is get big chunks of yardage one play at a time. In addition to running 231 plays that have gone between 10 and 19 yards, the Red Raiders have had 62 snaps that have gone between 20 and 29 yards, 27 plays of 30-39 yards, and 15 plays that have gone for 40 yards and beyond.

Iowa is ranked 104th in the nation with 120 plays that have gone between 10 and 19 yards. Big plays have never really been Iowa’s thing, but it would be nice to see some more oomph out of the offense every now and then. Iowa has run just 33 plays that have gone between 20 and 29 yards, which isn’t the best, either.

Again, Iowa is second-to-last in the Big Ten in this stat, in front of only, again, horrible, horrible, Purdue. Surprisingly, Indiana has run the most long plays from scrimmage in the conference, totaling 181 snaps that have gone between 10 and 19 yards and 70 that have gone betwixt 20 and 29 yards.

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