Expect points in Arkansas vs Texas A&M

Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Kenny Hill has led the Aggies to the end zone on 59 percent of their drives this season.It’s early, but through four games, Texas A&M (55.2 PPG) and Arkansas (48.8 PPG) are on pace to break the SEC record for points per game set by Florida in 1996, when the Gators averaged 46.6 points en route to winning the national championship.

Both offenses are also efficient, ranking in the top five in points per drive and in ESPN’s offensive efficiency ratings.

Offensive FBS Ranks - 2014 Season

While both offenses have been productive, their styles are drastically different.

Texas A&M passes more often than any other SEC team (58 percent of plays) and leads the conference in pass yards per game.

Conversely, Arkansas runs more often than any other SEC team (69 percent of plays) and leads the conference in rush yards per game.

Let’s dive deeper into what makes each offense go.

Texas A&M’s Pass Offense

Texas A&M ranks in the top five in the FBS in most major passing categories.

The Aggies are the only FBS team to pass for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in four games this season. Since Kevin Sumlin took over in 2012, Texas A&M has reached those marks 17 times, two more than any other FBS team.

Kenny Hill has been the driving force behind Texas A&M’s offense. The Aggies are averaging 8.3 yards per play and scoring a touchdown on 59 percent of their drives with Hill under center.

For context, Texas A&M averaged 7.4 yards per play and scored a touchdown on 45 percent of its drives with Johnny Manziel at quarterback.

Highest QB PAA in the FBS - 2014 Season

Hill ranks fourth in the FBS in Total QBR, but a better measure of Hill’s overall contributions is a statistic called QB points above average (PAA), which accounts for Hill’s efficiency AND the number of the plays in which he was involved (Total QBR is just efficiency). PAA totals the number of points a player contributes above the level of an average quarterback and adjusts for the defenses he faces.

Hill’s FBS-leading QB PAA of +40.7 means that he has added more than 40 points to Texas A&M’s scoring margin compared with what an average quarterback would have.

The Aggies have been efficient in key situations, ranking tied for third in the FBS in third-down conversion percentage and fourth in the FBS in red-zone touchdown percentage.

All of these components are factored into ESPN’s offensive efficiency rating, in which the Aggies rank first for the second time in three years.

Arkansas’ Run Offense

Arkansas ranks in the top 10 of the FBS in rush yards, yards per rush and rush touchdowns this season. The Razorbacks have twice run for at least 400 yards and six rushing touchdowns in a game. Only Nevada in 2009 and Nebraska in 2000 have had more such games in a season since 2000.

The Razorbacks are led by a tandem of running backs, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who have combined for more rush yards (881) than any other running back duo in the nation.

Arkansas has 292 fewer carries than last season, but it already has three more rushing touchdowns than in 2013. Fifty-six percent of Arkansas’ runs have gained at least five yards, most in the FBS, as the Razorbacks average more than seven yards per rush.

One surprising aspect of Arkansas’ offense is how quickly it is scoring.

Arkansas leads the FBS in touchdown drives of one minute or less (10), three plays or fewer (12) and one-play touchdown drives (7). The Razorbacks’ seven one-play touchdown drives are four more than any other FBS team this season and three shy of the most by a team in the last ten seasons (Texas had ten in 2005). Five of those drives, however, came against Nicholls State of the FCS.

Arkansas will get a chance to prove it can be equally effective against better opponents. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Arkansas has the hardest remaining schedule in the FBS. The second-toughest schedule? Texas A&M.