These Stunning Stats Show How Dominant OSU’s Defense Is This Season

Jim Knowles is coordinating the best defense in program history and one of the best units in the country. Let me repeat: Jim Knowles is coordinating the best defense in program history and one of the best units in the country.

Despite losing star Trace Ford prior to the season, despite losing Rodarius Williams to the NFL and despite losing star safety Tre Sterling to injury early on, there is only one word that adequately describes OSU’s defense: Elite.

The numbers don’t lie. So here are a few that might knock you back in your seat for some perspective on just how good Knowles’ unit has been this season. (With a hat tip to the OSU athletics department.)

Value Big 12 Rank FBS rank
3rd down conv. % defense 25.60% 1 2
Punt return defense 0.64 1 2
Total defense 277 1 3
10+ yard plays allowed 79 1 3
Rushing defense 86.2 1 4
Team TFLs 7.3 1 5
First down defense 135 1 5
Yards per play allowed 4.41 1 6
Scoring defense 16.3 1 9
Team sacks 3.33 1 11
Team passing efficiency def. 114.56 1 14
Defensive TDs 2 1 15
Blocked kicks 2 3 20
Passing yards allowed 190.8 2 22
4th down conv. % defense 38.90% 1 25

Elite, right? *puts on Billy Mays voice impersonation* BUT WAIT, THERE IS MORE!

  • OSU’s defense has allowed fewer than 100 yards of offense in a half in seven of its past eight games.
  • OSU has held 18 of its past 20 Big 12 opponents under their season scoring average.
  • OSU has held its opponent to less than a 50% third down conversion rate in 20 straight games.
  • OSU has held its opponent to fewer than 20 first downs in eight straight games.
  • OSU has forced 23 turnovers in its past 13 games.

What’s that E word, again? Oh yeah, elite. Nine games into the season, there’s no jinxing it. Jim Knowles’ system is taking over the Big 12. OSU is winning with defense for the first time in years and not despite its defense. At OSU, that in itself should be Broyles Award-worthy. That he has the numbers to back him up might make him one of the real contenders to win it.

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