Welcome to the weekly Big 12 stat crunch, where we're taking a deeper statistical look at what's going on in the conference. Three things that stood out after Week 8:
1. Reviewing Seth Russell’s run
It’s a shame Seth Russell’s season ended so soon, because he was on pace for one of the finest seasons by a Baylor QB in the Art Briles era.
Russell ranked No. 1 in FBS in passer efficiency at 189.7 and No. 2 in QBR at 87.4, right behind TCU’s Trevone Boykin. Both ratings would’ve ranked best among Baylor QBs under Briles.
Russell is also No. 1 nationally in yards per attempt (10.5), yards per completion (17.7) and passing touchdowns (29). He averaged 13.9 air yards per attempt, No. 2 behind Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas.
And when you take sacks out of the equation, Russell finished with 414 rushing yards on 46 carries. He averaged more yards per carry than Robert Griffin III did during his Heisman season.
Russell might not hold onto some of these No. 1 spots by season’s end. But it’s going to be difficult to top his average of 4.1 passing touchdowns per game. The real shame is we didn’t get to see what Russell could do against the Big 12’s best defenses. I’m not sure there would’ve been a significant drop-off in his production, considering his dual-threat talents and the staggering ability of Baylor’s receivers.
2. Did Mark Mangino help or hurt?
Based on the comments of Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on Monday, it seemed the issues that cost Mark Mangino his job as ISU offensive coordinator weren’t so much about on-field success. The Cyclones were slightly more effective on offense during Mangino’s stint, but not by much.
In Rhoads’ 63 games as head coach before Mangino arrived, Iowa State averaged 22.8 points per game and 22.2 in Big 12 play. That average rose to 24.5 and 24.9 in Big 12 games during Mangino’s tenure.
In 19 games with Mangino as OC, the Cyclones’ points per drive and yards per play averages increased. They’re picking up 50 more yards per game in Big 12 play than before he arrived.
But these are only marginal improvements, and Iowa State still ranked 90th nationally in scoring and 98th in yards per play over the course of Mangino’s 19 games. Whether the switch to Todd Sturdy as playcaller makes much of a difference, there’s at least a decent chance they improve with Joel Lanning at quarterback.
3. Oklahoma State owns Texas Tech
Well, OK, not really owns. But the Cowboys do have a six-game winning streak over Texas Tech heading into this year’s game in Lubbock. And it’s not hard to see why.
Oklahoma State is outscoring Tech by an average margin of 25 points per game over their last six meetings. Texas Tech is averaging less than 22 points per game and under 1.4 points per drive during that six-game streak.
One problematic trend over that six-year run: Texas Tech has a combined 12 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Only three rushing touchdowns, too.
While I expect Tech to keep up this year and make it a four-quarter shootout in front of a packed, blacked-out house, the Cowboys certainly shouldn’t be lacking for confidence.