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A Look At Not So Official Stats Heading Into Week Four

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Our official stats guy is back after enjoying the bye week with some stats to watch for when West Virginia takes on BYU in Washington, DC.

Like Holgo, I took the week off and watched some hilariously awesome football last weekend. To be honest, the Youngstown State game was, statistically, kind of boring. WVU struggled early to consistently move the ball and let a some big plays get into the secondary; before putting the game away with a solid third quarter.

Watching the game unfold, I wasn’t able to really find even an interesting TV Stat, and finally settled on a first half/second half comparison. It was a game, I said to someone, that reminded me of a Big Ten Noon Snoozer.

That said, on further reflection I did find some stats worth mentioning!

Here are Four Stats of the Game (Stats I think are interesting or tell us something about how the game/season is unfolding)

  1. 0, The number of yards lost in rushing attempts. Dana Holgorsen has mentioned this before over the seasons, but one of the “stats” he wants to see is this one -- no negative rushing yards. This generally means the blocking (all around) is doing it’s job. This also means that your QB isn’t getting sacked.
  2. 624 Total Yards. Through three weeks, WVU’s offense now ranks seventh nationally in total offense, averaging 550 yards per game. Last year WVU ranked 25th.
  3. 10-15 on Third Downs. The offense converted on 67% of its third down chances. For the season, WVU is 16-31 on third-down, which ranks sixteenth nationally. This is a trend to watch: in 2015 the offense struggled on third downs, converting just 39% of its third downs — ranking seventy-second nationally.
  4. 185 YSU Rushing Yards. WVU held YSU to a season low 185 yards on 41 attempts. They piled up 394 and 303 against Duquesne and Robert Morris respectively.

Stats To Watch This Week

BYU is an interesting team. They’re one of the few teams to play three power conference teams (Arizona, Utah and UCLA) going 1-2, being highly competitive in both of their losses. New coach Kalani Sitake helped build well-regarded defensive units at Utah and has already put that stamp on the program. Their offense, however, has not yet came together.

Here’s what I’ll be looking at in the booth:

  1. Turnovers. WVU is -2 for the season on turnovers. You can never afford to give the ball up, but in conference play it can be deadly. BYU ranks 8th in turnover margin at +5.
  2. WVU Red Zone Offense. This will continue to be something we have to keep an eye out for. If WVU wants to turn the corner and get into the 9-11 win bracket, FG’s and empty red zone trips won’t do it, especially against a stingy defense like BYU.
  3. BYU Offensive Production. The Cougars rank not just in the bottom half of the FBS in offense, but in the cellar at 105th out of 128 teams.