Five telling advanced stats from OSU’s loss to ISU

Five telling advanced stats from OSU’s loss to ISU

The thousands of stats Pro-Football Focus provides aren’t more important than the two numbers on the scoreboard. But PFF’s stats can tell us a little about why the scoreboard looked that way.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Sep 25, 2023, 3:13pm CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Sep 25, 2023, 3:13pm CDT

The thousands of stats Pro-Football Focus provides aren’t more important than the two numbers on the scoreboard. And last Saturday, the scoreboard read Iowa State 34, Oklahoma State 27.

But PFF’s stats can tell us a little about why the scoreboard looked that way. Here are five advanced stats from Saturday that stand out: 

The Cowboys generated 17 quarterback pressures but were held without a sack. 

It was the most quarterback pressures OSU has created this season without a sack. Junior Collin Oliver led with four, while freshman DeSean Brown and senior Nathan Latu generated three. 

“They got after (ISU quarterback Rocco Becht), they did a good job,” Nardo said Saturday. “We didn’t finish on some sacks, I thought there were one or two where we were there, just got to finish. But, they didn’t let him sit back there. I feel like they were disruptive, made him step up, made him throw the ball before he wanted to on some of our third downs.”

 After 10 sacks in the first two games, OSU has just one in the past two games. 

OSU missed just four tackles against the Cyclones

OSU has given up more than 30 points in back-to-back games. There is a lot for Nardo to work on over the bye week. 

But at least the Cowboys are tackling better. 

Week one against Central Arkansas, OSU missed 16 tackles. Against Arizona State the following week, the Cowboys missed a season-high 22. Things improved week three against South Alabama with 14 missed tackles, but the OSU defense took its biggest step forward in tackling against Iowa State.

It appears Iowa State went after safety Cameron Epps

Epps, a freshman safety from St. Louis, got thrust into a large role Saturday and was targeted nine times — the most of any Cowboy. After averaging about 10 snaps in the first three games, Epps played 66 against ISU.

He filled in for sophomore safety Lyrik Rawls, who didn’t make the trip to Ames. Nardo said Rawls “wasn’t ready to go this week” and that not having him hurt the defense. Epps allowed six catches and 113 yards but graded out middle of the pack in terms of pass defense.

Bowman’s average depth of target rises to 11.8 yards

Senior quarterback Alan Bowman has pushed the ball deeper down the field in each game. Bowman’s average depth of target started at 6.1 yards in OSU’s opener against Central Arkansas and has slowly increased.

He finished 23-of-48 for 279 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Saturday’s 11.8 average depth of target was the deepest of any OSU quarterback this season.

Presley remains quiet, grades out worst Cowboy receiver at 48.7

Senior receiver Brennan Presley caught two passes for nine yards against Iowa State. That’s his lowest number of yards since November 2021 against Texas Tech.

We previously identified Presley versus Cyclone corner Jeremiah Cooper as a matchup to watch, and it appears Cooper won the battle. 

Presley’s production has decreased in every game this season. Presley’s catches and yards have fallen since his six-catch, 54-yard game in week one. His 48.7 PFF receiving grade Saturday is his lowest of the season.


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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. It is in Oklahoma where he turned an obsession with sports into a career. He collected bylines on all 16 Oklahoma State varsity sports during his time as a student writing for The O’Colly. He interned at the Stillwater News Press and covered high school football for the Tulsa World. Ben has won some storytelling awards but doesn’t remember them nearly as well as the people who have been impacted by his stories. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben Hutchens_ on social media.
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