Colorado Buffaloes vs Texas A&M Aggies: A Statistical Preview

It's about time right? Yes, the Colorado Buffaloes do have a game this week against the Texas A&M Aggies. With Woodrow being out of town for the whole week battling the company who just bought our company (taking names and kicking a$$) and my fear of another disappointing Saturday, the statistical look was a little delayed. I promise you this is a good one, though. You won't believe your eyes at a chart after the jump. So make sure to check it out.

I have a dream that one day the Buffs will have more rankings in the top half of the Big 12 than the bottom half. But good news Buffs fans, Texas A&M has a Big 12 average ranking of 9.8 while the Buffs have an average Big 12 ranking of 8.8. Of course, averaging the rankings below equally without weight, probably means nothing but again, The Ralphie Report is searching. And yes, although it has been doom and gloom this week coming off the demoralizing loss to Missouri and being underdogs to Texas A&M, this Aggie team isn't Mizzou, Texas, Kansas, Florida State or West Virginia. They probably aren't even Kansas State who beat the Aggies by 14 They still lost to Arkansas State and struggled mightily against Army. But as you will see after the jump, these teams look to be going in opposite directions.

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Conf National Actual Category Actual National Conf
Rank Rank Rank Rank
11 92 122.13 Rushing Offense 112.75 101 12
12 93 179.5 Passing Offense 256.25 26 8
12 101 301.63 Total Offense 369 62 10
12 104 18.63 Scoring Offense 27.25 T-50 9
9 83 163.63 Rushing Defense 203 106 12
5 66 125.65 Pass Efficiency Defense 139.46 100 11
6 78 377.25 Total Defense 431.5 103 11
9 88 29.13 Scoring Defense 34.5 109 12
8 86 32.91 Net Punting 33.84 78 7
9 61 9.19 Punt Returns 6.78 83 10
8 41 22.45 Kickoff Returns 20.13 88 11
8 T-73 -0.25 Turnover Margin -0.25 T-73 8
1 70 213.63 Pass Defense 228.5 84 3
12 85 113.42 Passing Efficiency 147.62 24 8
9 T-78 1.63 Sacks 1.38 91 11
8 82 5.25 Tackles For Loss 4.38 109 12
11 100 2.5 Sacks Allowed 2.75 110 12

The Texas A&M offense is what we hoped to have as CU fans for our Buff team. A unit full of youth that progressively gets better over a span of a season.  Texas A&M has had to rely on youth just like the Buffs have this year. Last week, A&M started 4 freshman on offense and their top sub, WR Ryan Tannehill, is a freshman as well. Freshmen and sophomores have made up 74 percent of A&M's total offense. After I heard that stat, I was curious what the Buffs were doing in that category of freshman and sophomore production and let me tell you it is mind blowing when you put numbers behind it:

Total Offense - Colorado Buffaloes
Name Rushing % of Total Passing % of Total WR % of Total Class
Yards Yards Yards
Hawkins,Cody -31 -3.2% 1137 79.2%
0.0% Sophomore
Stewart,Rodney 603 61.7%
0.0% 43 3.0% Freshman
Hansen,Tyler 116 11.9% 143 10.0%
0.0% Freshman
Scott,Darrell 191 19.5%
0.0% 105 7.3% Freshman
Ballenger,Matt -7 -0.7% 118 8.2%
0.0% Freshman
Sumler,Demetrius 77 7.9%
0.0% 72 5.0% Sophomore
McKnight,Scotty
0.0% 38 2.6% 292 20.3% Sophomore
Moyd,Kevin 32 3.3%
0.0%
0.0% Junior
Smith,Josh 18 1.8%
0.0% 317 22.1% Sophomore
Crawford,Cody 2 0.2%
0.0% 100 7.0% Senior
Williams,Patrick 2 0.2%
0.0% 196 13.6% Senior
Devenny,Patrick
0.0%
0.0% 107 7.5% Junior
Geer,Riar
0.0%
0.0% 47 3.3% Junior
Celestine,Kendrick
0.0%
0.0% 46 3.2% Sophomore
Behrens,Jake
0.0%
0.0% 43 3.0% Junior
Deehan,Ryan
0.0%
0.0% 39 2.7% Freshman
Cantrell,Maurice
0.0%
0.0% 21 1.5% Senior
Melton,Steve
0.0%
0.0% 8 0.6% Senior
Suazo,Tom -15 -1.5%
0.0%
0.0% Senior
Team, -11 -1.1% 0 0.0%
0.0% Senior
Team Totals 977 100.0% 1436 100.0% 1436 100.0%
Opponents 1309
1709
1709

TOTAL
-22 -2.3% 0 0.0% 325 22.6% Senior
TOTAL
32 3.3% 0 0.0% 197 13.7% Junior
TOTAL
64 6.6% 1175 81.8% 727 50.6% Sophomore
TOTAL
903 92.4% 261 18.2% 187 13.0% Freshmen

More so than you probably thought possible, the Buffs are unbelievably reliant on underclassmen as shown by the bottom of the chart above. 99% of the rushing yards are  generated by freshmen and sophomores, mostly true freshman. 100% of the passing yards are generated by freshmen and sophomores meaning that 99.6% of the offense is started in freshmen and sophomore's hands. Now you look at receiving yards and 63.6% of those yards are produced by freshmen and sophomores. Doesn't this yield some perspective about this year? It is hard to win a lot of games when 99.6% of your offense is generated by freshmen and sophomores. This probably deserves its own thread.

But both of these offenses are going in different directions. Look at the chart below and see the differences between the Aggies offense in the first half of the season compared to the second half:

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Team Offense
Rushing Passing Total Off.
Date Opponent No Net TD Att Comp Int Yds TD Plays Yds
8/30/2008 Arkansas St.(14-18) 36 133 2 27 19 2 170 0 63 303
9/6/2008 New Mexico(28-22) 39 92 0 24 13 0 144 3 63 236
9/20/2008 Miami (Fla.)(23-41) 35 87 0 32 19 1 275 3 67 362
9/27/2008 Army(21-17) 29 133 0 19 13 1 157 2 48 290
10/4/2008 Oklahoma St.(28-56) 30 184 2 43 24 2 218 2 73 402
10/11/2008 Kansas St.(30-44) 33 125 2 41 29 0 419 2 74 544
10/18/2008 Texas Tech(25-43) 23 20 1 40 27 0 286 1 63 306
10/25/2008 Iowa St.(49-35) 35 128 3 39 31 0 381 4 74 509
Totals 260 902 10 265 175 6 2050 17 525 2952
1st Half of Season   34.8   111.3   0.5   25.5    16.0   1.0   186.5   2.0   60.3   297.8
2nd Half of Season   30.3   114.3   2.0   40.8    27.8   0.5   326.0   2.3   71.0   440.3

A&M has averaged 143 more yards of total in the last four games compared to the first four as shown by the bottom of the table above. Nearly 100% of the improvement is in the passing game. The Buffs currently have the #1 passing defense in the Big 12 and the Aggies have the #26 ranked passing offense so this will be the match-up of the game. Can the Buffs do what they did against Kansas State and Josh Freeman? This game is very similar to the Kansas State match-up. Kansas State and Texas A&M both have pedestrian rushing games and rather mediocre offensive lines. Both have hot-handed quarterbacks who are agile enough to make plays on the move. The Buffs should instill the same game plan against a pass dominated offense in Texas A&M as they did against Kansas State. Stop the run and go after Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson. The problem for the Buffs is RB Mike Goodson should be able to play against CU as he did not play against Iowa State last week. Personally, if the Buffs can stop Josh Freeman, I think they can stop Texas A&M's offense. The X factor is Mike Goodson who is much better than any running back Kansas State has. If Goodson gets going, then Texas A&M's offense becomes much more dangerous compared to the KState's offense.

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Team Defense

Rushing Passing Total Off.
Opponent Sacks No Net TD Att Comp Int Yds TD Plays Yds
Arkansas St.(14-18) 2 45 255 0 28 15 0 160 1 73 415
New Mexico(28-22) 1 38 216 3 38 22 2 154 0 76 370
Miami (Fla.)(23-41) 2 28 159 2 29 20 1 239 2 57 398
Army(21-17) 0 65 280 2 5 1 0 4 0 70 284
Oklahoma St.(28-56) 0 46 215 2 14 10 0 186 3 60 401
Kansas St.(30-44) 2 47 215 5 26 21 0 234 0 73 449
Texas Tech(25-43) 0 23 111 3 56 44 2 450 3 79 561
Iowa St.(49-35) 4 39 173 3 46 28 0 401 1 85 574
Totals
11 331 1624 20 242 161 5 1828 10 573 3452
1st Half of Season      1.3   44.0   227.5   1.8   25.0    14.5   0.8   139.3   0.8   69.0   366.8
2nd Half of Season      1.5   38.8   178.5   3.3   35.5    25.8   0.5   317.8   1.8   74.3   496.3

As for the Texas A&M defense, they are bad and they have been progressively getting worse as the Texas A&M offense has been getting better. A&M is allowing 180 more yards a game threw the air over the last four games compared to the first four, giving up a blistering 500 yards/contest. Young and slow is the way beergut from "I Am the 12th Man" would describe them. This stat from an earlier Buffs Bites should describe the Texas A&M defense in a nut shell:

Odd, but Texas A&M's defense allowing the Cyclones 35 points (and still winning) was a high-water mark: It was the lowest number the Aggies have allowed this season in Big 12 play. They entered the game yielding an average of 47.2 points in three previous conference games.

Texas A&M (3-5, 1-3) and Iowa State (2-6, 0-4) accounted for 1,083 yards in total offense, with the Cyclones out gaining the Aggies 574-509. First-year Aggies coach Mike Sherman called the game "very unique. I've never experienced a game like this in my life."

The Buffs need to get a lead early. Make Texas A&M's offense one dimensional like they forced Kansas State to do. I expect the Buffs idea of "simplifying" to be a heavy dose of QB Tyler Hansen and RB Rodney Stewart against the worst ranked rushing defense in the Big 12 and 103rd in the nation. This sounds like a broken record with all these bad defenses the Buffs have played. Its like the Big 12 is taunting us into thinking this is the week the Buffs' offense breaks out. Well if there was ever a week it would be this Saturday in College Station. Overall, the matchup looks rather even as the betting line predicts but being on the road is not friendly to the Buffs and Dan Hawkins, who has only 2 wins there in his three years as a Buffs coach and none this year. That is probably why the Aggies are favorites.

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