Stats Corner: Four years of Statistics for Aztecs and Rainbow Warriors. – Mountain West Connection

Stats Corner: Four years of Statistics for Aztecs and Rainbow Warriors. - Mountain West Connection nevin manimala

Last week we covered the state of Colorado with Colorado State and Air Force Academy, the week before that it was New Mexico and San Jose State. This week let’s visit the warm beaches of San Diego State and Hawaii to look at the advanced statistics over the last four years.

SDS

Year NFP OFP Rank OLF Rank DFP Rank DLF Rank
Year NFP OFP Rank OLF Rank DFP Rank DLF Rank
2018 -2.1 71.9 104 0.267 8 69.8 85 0.213 46
2017 2.6 70 42 0.223 52 72.6 19 0.206 71
2016 6.3 67.2 10 0.168 117 73.5 9 0.301 6
2015 8.5 65.4 2 0.17 11 73.9 6 0.212 66
3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs
Offense Per Game Rank Converted Conversions % Rank Defense Per Game Rank Converted
2018 13.9 80 4.7 33.53% 111 15.1 94 6.3
2017 12.8 122 5.5 43.14% 36 13.9 44 5.5
2016 12 127 4.9 41.03% 56 15.2 88 6.2
2015 14.6 71 6.1 41.58% 37 13.4 20 3.9
Red-zone Red-zone Red-zone Red-zone
Offense scoring % rank attempts Rank Defense scoring % rank attempts Rank
2018 78.12% 105 2.7 113 89.19% 105 3.1 39
2017 81.58% 78 3.2 85 77.42% 21 2.6 23
2016 86.96% 41 3.5 74 85.19% 72 2.1 2
2015 93.02% 5 3.3 79 69.70% 6 2.5 9

In 2018 the Aztecs went 7-6, 2017 they were 10-3, 2016 found them 11-3, and in 2015 the conference champs went 11-3 completely dismantling Cincinnati in the bowl game 42-7. During the eleven-win seasons, they were good across the stat sheet. A nation-wide second best 65.4 OFP, meaning they average drive started just 65 yards from the end-zone, while a sixth best 73.9 DFP which meant their opponents started almost 74 yards from pay dirt. It’s no surprise that they best seasons have a NFP of 8.5 and 6.3. That forced opposing offense to get a first down before they even got to where the Aztecs started. Also, not shocking is their worst and only negative NFP, the only year opposing teams started closer to the end zone that the Aztecs at -2.1, was their poorest overall record. Another huge factor to their decrease of success was the decrease in their red-zone offense and defense. While the Aztecs have never had great numbers when looking at red-zone attempts, they do make them count. A top five scoring percentage for offense, coupled with a sixth best scoring defense, and a ninth best defense attempts lead to a conference title. In 2016, the defense decreased the challenger’s red zone attempts to an another nation wide second best 2.1, but slipped in the effectiveness on both offense and defense. As the numbers across the red-zone have reduced, recently dropping to triple digit rankings, so have the win totals. If you can’t score and you let the other team have more scoring opportunities and capitalize on them you are not going to win as many games.

The biggest need for improvement year in and year out is in 3rd downs. The highest amount of 3rd downs per game was 14.6 which was 71st in the nation, the last three years, the number and rankings have been lower. Last year, the conversion rate has 33.53% or 111th in the nation, even on good years the average is around 41% or middle of the pack. 2015 was the best San Diego State has seen for defense only 13.4 per game, 3.9 converted at less than 30% which was eighth in the nation. Since then the bad numbers have gone up and rankings have gone down, along with the success of the team. The defense has got to make stops on 3rd down and get the opposing team off the field.

Hawaii

Year NFP OFP Rank OLF Rank DFP Rank DLF Rank
Year NFP OFP Rank OLF Rank DFP Rank DLF Rank
2018 -5.5 70.5 66 0.196 58 65.1 128 0.141 116
2017 -4.9 73.8 121 0.252 21 69.2 98 0.227 52
2016 -2.3 71.2 75 0.187 100 68.9 99 0.219 63
2015 -3.2 72.7 113 0.264 17 69.6 85 0.27 20
3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs 3rd Downs
Offense Per Game Rank Converted Conversions % Rank Defense Per Game Rank Converted
2018 12.9 116 4.2 32.14% 120 14.5 71 6.3
2017 14.1 75 5.4 38.06% 79 13.4 25 6.6
2016 13.2 113 4.6 35.09% 103 14.2 48 7.1
2015 14.2 86 4.2 30.00% 120 16 106 6.9
Red-zone Red-zone Red-zone Red-zone
Offense scoring % rank attempts Rank Defense scoring % rank attempts Rank
2018 84.31% 61 3.9 40 84.75% 83 4.5 111
2017 69.44% 123 3.3 73 84.09% 70 4 94
2016 89.36% 20 3.6 70 86.21% 80 4.5 104
2015 74.07% 110 2.2 124 86.21% 89 4.8 117

In 2018 the Rainbow Warriors went 8-6, 2017 saw 3-9, 2016 was 7-7, and 2015 was another 3-10. Hoping the pattern breaks and they don’t have another 3 win year. During the 3 loss years, there was almost across the board triple digit rankings in the advance statistics categories. While the Rainbow Warriors have had a negative NFP for four straight years, which mean they are giving their opponents a head start on the field, during the ten loss years their OFP rankings were 113 and 121. When their red-zone scoring is below 75% and ranked below 100 they lose 10 games. When the red-zone scoring is over 84% it’s bowl game time. It all seems so simple, don’t start behind the other team and score points in when you get into the red-zone. Remember, the true purpose of statistics is to get coaches to ask the right questions which is why does the offense fail to score even a field goal 1 out of 4 trips inside the 20 yard line?

Third downs and red-zone defense are fairly consistent over the last four years, unfortunately they are not consistently good. On the offense side, not enough 3rd downs and the conversion rate is way too low. The reverse is true for the defense, they give up too many 3rd downs and allow conversion rates that are close to 50%. Not good numbers for defense. If your offense is only converting 4 3rd down a game at 30% of the time, your defense cannot be giving up 7 3rd downs a game at 50%.

If the Rainbow Warriors can keep the starting field position the same, while improving 3rd downs and red-zone scoring on both offense and defense, it will be another bowl game. If not, it will be a long season.

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