The Ultimate Site for College Football Stats Junkies

Split Statistics

All stat categories broken down by game location, game result, playing surface, opponent, and month. Split statistics are provided by team and player.

Situational Statistics

Rushing, passing, and receiving broken down by half, quarter, down and distance, field position, and score. Situational statistics are provided by team and player.

Leader Boards

Sortable national and conference leaders for teams and players, for all games and by split statistics.

Offensive Three-And-Out Drives

October 20th, 2008

Early in the broadcast of the Missouri – Texas game on Saturday night, ABC displayed the statistic that Missouri had only had two three-and-out drives this season with Chase Daniel at quarterback. Not long after they showed that statistic, Missouri and Daniel went three-and-out on three of their first four drives against Texas. Missouri rallied though, and did not have a three-and-out drive over their last seven drives of the game.

Such a low number of three-and-out drives is impressive, but I wondered how that compares to other teams in the FBS (Division I-A). Since I track every play and drive of every game involving an FBS team, I can answer the question. The caveat is that I don’t have a way to assign a drive to a particular quarterback since the play-by-play does not list the quarterback for every play. So I can only answer the question by looking at team totals rather than individual quarterbacks.

The following table shows the top-ten teams with the lowest percentage of three-and-out drives through week 8.

Team 3-And-Outs Drives 3-And-Out % Total Off. Rank
Tulsa 5 89 5.6% 1
Texas Tech 6 85 7.1% 2
Missouri 7 84 8.3% 5
South Carolina 8 91 8.8% 81
Florida State 8 78 10.3% 30
Houston 10 94 10.6% 3
Illinois 10 94 10.6% 9
Colorado State 9 80 11.3% 73
Ball State 9 78 11.5% 15
Ohio 10 86 11.6% 61

Tulsa – check, Texas Tech – check, Missouri – check, South Carolina – ch…oh, wait. South Carolina? Yeah, that one threw me when I saw it, so much so that I went back and manually checked every South Carolina drive. Sure enough, South Carolina, which is 81st in the FBS in Total Offense through week 8, has had only eight three-and-out drives this season. But South Carolina is not the only team in the top ten that seems out of place, Colorado State and Ohio rank 73rd and 61st respectively in the FBS in total offense.

On the flip side, here are the top-ten teams with the highest percentage of three-and-out drives through week 8.

Team 3-And-Outs Drives 3-And-Out % Total Off. Rank
Louisiana-Monroe 31 90 34.4% 77
Tennessee 28 83 33.7% 106
Florida International 31 93 33.3% 116
San Diego State 32 97 33.0% 114
Utah State 30 91 33.0% 101
Wyoming 30 93 32.3% 117
Vanderbilt 28 88 31.8% 119
Duke 24 76 31.6% 87
Temple 29 93 31.2% 115
Michigan 31 100 31.0% 108

No real surprises here, most of these teams are near the bottom in total offense. However, the team that has the highest percentage of three-and-out drives this season among 120 FBS teams, Louisiana-Monroe, ranks higher in total offense (77th) than the South Carolina, the team with the 4th lowest percentage!