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Interesting Stat Comparison Between the A&M and OU Game OR Why College Football games are often decided by a couple of plays.

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As I was watching the Bedlam game I kept having this funny feeling that I had seen this game before.  Then afterward, when I was combing through the stats the same feeling reappeared. Where was this nagging deja vu feeling coming from? Then it hit me...here are the boxscores for the A&M and the OU game side by side:

A&M OSU   OU OSU
1st Downs 29 21   28 19
3rd down efficiency 11-21 5-13   16-27 5-15
4th down efficiency 4-5 0-1   0-0 0-0
Total Yards 535 351   588 379
Passing 409 284   468 257
Comp-Att 40-62 28-42   37-62 28-43
Yards per pass 6.6 6.8   7.5 6.0
Rushing 126 67   120 122
Rushing Attempts 44 26   45 23
Yards per rush 2.9 2.6   2.7 5.3
Total Plays 106 68   107 66
Penalties 8-65 8-55   4-33 7-47
Turnovers 5 3   3 3
Possession 38:32 21:28   35:24 24:36

It is borderline amazing how similar the stats are. First downs, total plays, pass plays, run plays, passing, rushing and total yardage (and remember that in the A&M game the RBs had over 100 yards rushing but a couple of big sacks and a failed end around brought the rushing total down to 67 yards).  On paper these were basically the same game... and honestly in person the games felt about the same.

Going by the numbers, Oklahoma State was dominated in both of these contests, yet they were both close, and each featured a different outcome... why?  I think we all know the answer to this.  In one game, Jerrod Johnson decided to gift wrap an int for Shaun Lewis in the final minute, while in the OU game the combination of a nice playcall and bad coverage delivered a couple of easy pitch-and-catch TD's for the visitors in the final minutes.

So these two boxscores serve as a bit of a lesson that the stats are often meaningless... but mainly they serve to illicit the reaction of: "Holy hell, I don't know if I have ever seen two games played by the same team in the same season that were this statistically close across the board".