OSU Run-Pass Breakdowns and Success Rates from the First Half of 2017

J.T. Barrett Ohio State Football Buckeyes

[Long-time posted NEWBrutus posted a great breakdown of the Buckeyes’ run/pass numbers through the first half of the season, so we wanted to make sure it was seen by more eyeballs.]

Here is the Run/Pass Mix through the first half of the regular season. Please note: SACKS are included in the passing totals, as they are passing plays that went awry. Unfortunately there is no easy way to push quarterback scrambles for positive yards to the passing total without hand charting each play. This is all taken from the box scores and play-by-play data.

Plays Pct Yards YPP Succ Rate.
1st Down
RUN 115 51.11% 828 7.20 57.4%
PASS 110 48.89% 872 7.93 56.4%
Total 225 1700 7.56 56.9%
2nd Down
RUN 88 57.89% 542 6.16 63.6%
PASS 64 42.11% 586 9.16 50.0%
Total 152 1128 7.42 57.9%
3rd Down
RUN 27 35.06% 165 6.11 55.6%
PASS 50 64.94% 401 8.02 40.0%
Total 77 566 7.35 45.5%
4th Down
RUN 6 54.55% 15 2.50 83.3%
PASS 5 45.45% 15 3.00 40.0%
Total 11 30 2.73 63.6%
RUN 236 50.75% 1550 6.57 60.6%
PASS 229 49.25% 1874 8.18 50.7%


Balanced Attack
The first thing which stands out to me is how balanced we are in terms of runs vs. pass plays (again sack adjusted). We are pretty much 50/50. More interesting, we are very close to that 50/50 mix on first down.

For comparison’s sake, through six games last year, we were 66.67% run/33.33% pass on First down. Second down we were 60.5% run vs. 39.5% Pass. On third down, we were 56.32% pass vs. 43.68% run. On fourth down we were 91.67% run and 8.33% pass.

This year we have been much more balanced in our play calling. Perhaps it is due to an increased level of confidence in our passing game.

Our success rate on first down is better than it was a year ago — 56.9% vs. 54.8% in 2016. We have had 225 first down plays vs. 210 a year ago (through six games).

We see something similar on second down. Our success rate on second down this season is 57.9%. This is better than the 52.9% success rate on second down last year. Our offense has run 152 second down plays in 2017 vs. 157 over the first six games of 2016.

Not as successful
Third and fourth down are a different story.

Through six games last year, we converted 49.4% of our third-down plays. This year it is 45.5%. Last year we had 87 third down plays vs. 77 this season. what is more intriguing about this stat though is this.

Success on 3rd down running plays 2016: 64.58%
Success on 3rd down running plays 2017: 55.6%

Success on 3rd down passing plays 2016: 30.77%, 39 plays total.
Success on 3rd down passing plays 2017: 40.00%, 50 plays total.

On fourth down, we ran the ball in 2016, converted 9 of 11 rushing plays, 81.81%.

This year, we are throwing it more frequently, and our success rate has gone down to 63.6%.

Passing improvements

Through six games last year and 172 total pass plays, our overall success rate was 46.5%. This year we have thrown the ball more often (56 more attempts), and have had more success 50.4% success rate.

Here are J.T. Barrett’s numbers through the first six games of 2016 and 2017.

Year Comp Att Yds TD INT YPA Comp% Pass Eff Pass Eff * Success Rate
2016 96 152 1207 16 4 7.94 63.16% 159.3 76.52
2017 111 174 1513 16 1 8.40 63.8% 166.0 85.88

How “significant” the improvement has been is somewhat subjective, but he has had more attempts, a better yard/attempt, completion percentage, pass efficiency rating, and as also had more successful plays.

I suppose one could make an argument that the first half of 2016’s schedule was more difficult, as we faced Wisconsin in game six. However, the quality of the schedule otherwise could be looked at as being somewhat similar.

Like most everyone else, I am waiting for a stronger offensive performance against the likes of Penn State and Iowa before I get too excited. However, the progressive improvements from game to game are hard to ignore. This gives plenty of reason for optimism as we face progressively tougher challenges.

2 Responses

  1. It’s interesting that everyone is waiting for “how we do against Penn State” etc. I’m of the opinion there’s a good reason Penn State is ranked number 3 in the nation. It’s because they are a good football team and OSU likely won’t put up those numbers. In 2014-15 “we” put up those numbers against a really good Alabama and Oregon team – but the talent level I would argue was so much better than the current level – Zeke was a beast (no disrespect to the current backs) and NO ONE could cover Devin Smith on the deep ball. Michael Thomas, et al made for a great football team. I think “we” will beat Penn State but to expect those numbers is asking a bit much. And if they do put up those numbers then pencil this team into the Championship game – hopefully against Clemson.

  2. Excellent analysis, and the comparatives are interesting. Like you, let’s not get too excited until we see this kind of success against Iowa, PSU, etc. However, things are trending nicely in the right direction, and the confidence is building each week. A nice road win at Nebraska will be a good confidence booster.

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