Oklahoma Football Stats Tell Sooners Sad Story So Far

Through the first three games of the 2016 season, the stats for Oklahoma football tell the whole story.

Sep 17, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Noah Brown (80) catches a touchdown pass against Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Parrish Cobb (4) during the first half at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One win in three outings is not the start Bob Stoops, the Sooners and their fans were hoping for. The good news is it is still very early in the season and plenty of time to get things turned around.

It is doubtful any team in the Big 12 this year – and perhaps only a handful in the country, if that – would have done any better than the Sooners against two well-coached and very talented teams in Houston and, even more so, Ohio State.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that Oklahoma did not look sharp and was unable to sustain drives in key situations in either of its two losses. And the same was true on defense. The Sooners couldn’t get third-down stops when they really needed them and yielded too many big plays.

You can put some of that off on the quality of the opponent, but that is when the margin for error diminishes considerably. OU ended up hurting itself as much as anything Houston and Ohio State did to the Sooners. Against Houston it was lost fumbles, and with Ohio State, it was errant passes that were picked off, leading to scores.

Chances are good that some very alarming Oklahoma stat lines will get better as the Sooners progress through the Big 12 portion of the 2016 schedule. At the moment, though, the Sooners are down in some highly uncharacteristic areas.

  • Pass defense: In 2015, Oklahoma led the Big 12 in pass defense, yielding 202 passing yards per game in a pass-heavy conference and allowing opponents a 52.6 completion percentage for a league-leading 108.5 efficiency rating. Through three games this season, however, the Sooners rank ninth out of the 10 Big 12 teams with a pass defense efficiency of 153.6. Oklahoma’s pass defense completion percentage is up almost 10 points over last fall.
  • Sacks: Another troubling statistic for the Sooners is the number of quarterback sacks they are allowing. Oklahoma is last in the conference through the nonconference portion of its schedule, allowing 11 sacks for a loss of 64 yards. Some of that is the result of quarterback Baker Mayfield holding on to the ball too long, but a sack is a sack. The Sooners aren’t doing well on the other end of that statistic, either. No Big 12 team has fewer sacks through the first three games than Oklahoma’s five.
  • Opponents 3rd-Down Conversions: The Sooners have not done a good job, comparatively, stopping opponents on third down. OU first three opponents in 2016 have been successful 38 percent of the time in converting third-down possessions. Only three other Big 12 teams have a worse percentage at this stage.
  • Punting: Punting has been somewhat of a concern for the Sooners. S.sophomore OU punter Austin Seibert led the Big 12 with a net average of 41.1 yards per kick last season. This year, that percentage is down slightly, and he had a very short punt in the Ohio State game that set the Buckeyes up at mid field. Seibert is handling all of the kicking chores for the Sooners this season, including kickoffs, which could play a factor here.
  • Time of possession is another area that should be of concern to the Oklahoma coaching staff as well as the Sooner offensive unit. The OU defense is averaging nearly eight minutes more on the field in the first three games than the Sooner offense. That is not a stat that bodes well for long-term success unless you are a quick-strike offense, which Oklahoma has not shown much of so far.

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