Countdown to Study Hall: The effect of three-and-outs

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

My first book, Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories, will be released in less than a week!

Yesterday, we took a look at data related to the ability to finish drives. Another part of the same chapter in Study Hall deals with three-and-outs and their impact on both the field position battle and a given game as a whole.

Below is a table from the book. It looks at the records of teams with a certain number of three-and-outs in a given game.

3-and-outs W-L Win% Avg. Margin
0 64-32 66.7% +9.8 points
1 170-100 63.0% +7.8 points
2 204-155 56.8% +3.7 points
3 140-147 48.8% -1.0 points
4-5 119-222 34.9% -7.6 points
6-7 35-67 34.3% -12.2 points
8 or more 0-9 0.0% -22.4 points

(NOTE: This looks specifically at drives that finished in punts within three plays. Turnovers both more catastrophic and not included in this sample.)

So basically, if you can avoid going three-and-out more than twice in a given game, you have a good to very good chance of winning no matter what else happens.

I thought it would be pretty interesting, then, to take a look at the teams most effective at forcing three-and-outs last fall. When you combine this with yesterday's drive-finishing data, you get a pretty clear look at how teams went about accomplishing their season-ending defensive rankings. Some (Rutgers) were good at bailing themselves out and preventing you from scoring. Others (Florida State) were good at choking you out before you could even get started. (And many were good at neither.)

Defense 3-and-out Total Drives 3&O Pct Rk
Florida State 68 186 57.6% 1
Connecticut 58 163 55.2% 2
Michigan State 56 167 50.5% 3
Alabama 54 166 48.2% 4
Wisconsin 59 183 47.6% 5
BYU 52 163 46.8% 6
Utah State 55 175 45.8% 7
Stanford 55 181 43.7% 8
Florida 47 159 42.0% 9
Tulsa 60 206 41.1% 10
Virginia Tech 53 182 41.1% 11
Virginia 46 159 40.7% 12
Fresno State 54 190 39.7% 13
TCU 52 183 39.7% 14
Arizona State 54 191 39.4% 15
Texas A&M 49 175 38.9% 16
South Carolina 46 165 38.7% 17
Buffalo 45 162 38.5% 18
Georgia 51 184 38.3% 19
Nebraska 53 196 37.1% 20
Vanderbilt 45 168 36.6% 21
Penn State 40 151 36.0% 22
Bowling Green 45 171 35.7% 23
San Jose State 46 175 35.7% 24
N.C. State 52 200 35.1% 25
Defense 3-and-out Total Drives 3&O Pct Rk
Missouri 44 170 34.9% 26
Hawaii 42 163 34.7% 27
East Carolina 43 167 34.7% 28
LSU 44 175 33.6% 29
Oklahoma State 45 181 33.1% 30
Illinois 39 157 33.1% 31
UCLA 51 206 32.9% 32
Clemson 44 178 32.8% 33
Northern Illinois 44 178 32.8% 33
Auburn 36 147 32.4% 35
North Texas 37 152 32.2% 36
Michigan 36 148 32.1% 37
Rice 42 173 32.1% 38
Rutgers 41 170 31.8% 39
Washington 40 166 31.7% 40
Ole Miss 42 175 31.6% 41
Indiana 39 163 31.5% 42
South Alabama 43 180 31.4% 43
Oklahoma 41 172 31.3% 44
North Carolina 38 160 31.1% 45
Maryland 38 161 30.9% 46
Ohio State 38 161 30.9% 46
Oregon State 41 174 30.8% 48
Florida Atlantic 35 150 30.4% 49
Arkansas 37 159 30.3% 50
Defense 3-and-out Total Drives 3&O Pct Rk
Tennessee 40 173 30.1% 51
Pittsburgh 34 149 29.6% 52
UAB 37 163 29.4% 53
Western Michigan 36 159 29.3% 54
Ball State 36 160 29.0% 55
Troy 36 161 28.8% 56
Notre Dame 33 149 28.4% 57
Minnesota 35 162 27.6% 58
Iowa State 38 177 27.3% 59
Louisville 32 150 27.1% 60
Florida International 34 160 27.0% 61
Texas Tech 33 156 26.8% 62
Central Florida 36 171 26.7% 63
Iowa 31 148 26.5% 64
Oregon 40 191 26.5% 65
Boise State 32 153 26.4% 66
Georgia Tech 36 174 26.1% 67
SMU 38 184 26.0% 68
Mississippi State 32 156 25.8% 69
Kent State 39 191 25.7% 70
Cincinnati 34 167 25.6% 71
Duke 35 173 25.4% 72
Memphis 29 147 24.6% 73
UL-Monroe 32 165 24.1% 74
Texas 31 160 24.0% 75
Defense 3-and-out Total Drives 3&O Pct Rk
Purdue 34 176 23.9% 76
West Virginia 33 172 23.7% 77
Akron 31 162 23.7% 78
Army 26 136 23.6% 79
USC 33 173 23.6% 80
Temple 27 142 23.5% 81
Western Kentucky 29 153 23.4% 82
Ohio 31 164 23.3% 83
Utah 29 154 23.2% 84
New Mexico State 29 155 23.0% 85
Arizona 34 182 23.0% 86
Northwestern 30 161 22.9% 87
South Florida 27 146 22.7% 88
Air Force 27 148 22.3% 89
Kansas 28 154 22.2% 90
Boston College 28 155 22.0% 91
Arkansas State 28 156 21.9% 92
Kansas State 27 151 21.8% 93
UL-Lafayette 31 174 21.7% 94
California 29 163 21.6% 95
Eastern Michigan 27 152 21.6% 96
Miami (Ohio) 27 153 21.4% 97
Colorado 28 159 21.4% 98
Colorado State 26 148 21.3% 99
Wyoming 25 144 21.0% 100
Defense 3-and-out Total Drives 3&O Pct Rk
UTEP 26 151 20.8% 101
Marshall 27 159 20.5% 102
Baylor 30 177 20.4% 103
Louisiana Tech 29 172 20.3% 104
Houston 30 180 20.0% 105
Toledo 29 177 19.6% 106
Syracuse 26 161 19.3% 107
Middle Tennessee 22 137 19.1% 108
Navy 22 137 19.1% 108
Nevada 25 160 18.5% 110
UNLV 25 161 18.4% 111
Kentucky 22 142 18.3% 112
Wake Forest 25 163 18.1% 113
Tulane 25 166 17.7% 114
Massachusetts 22 156 16.4% 115
San Diego State 22 158 16.2% 116
Southern Miss 21 153 15.9% 117
Texas State 20 146 15.9% 118
UTSA 16 120 15.4% 119
Miami 21 158 15.3% 120
Washington State 21 159 15.2% 121
New Mexico 19 145 15.1% 122
Central Michigan 20 157 14.6% 123
Idaho 19 161 13.4% 124

Note: Because we're specifically looking at drives that ended in punts, the numbers here are a little different than in Brian Fremeau's First Down Rate statistic.

Another note: Fremeau is the drives data master. Follow his work (through the link above) to get all sorts of details similar (and probably superior) to this.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Football Study Hall

You must be a member of Football Study Hall to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Football Study Hall. You should read them.

Join Football Study Hall

You must be a member of Football Study Hall to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Football Study Hall. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker