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Notes on Offensive TD's and Big Plays

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  • The average distance of an Auburn touchdown (offense) from 1957-2015 is 17.5 yards. The following data is primarily related to the time period of 1957-2015 unless otherwise noted.

  • The average distance of an Auburn touchdown last season was 13.5 yards, ranking 50th among the last 59 Auburn offenses (1957-2015). Only 17.9 percent of Auburn's TD's came outside the red zone, the 42nd lowest percentage by an Auburn offense from 1970-2015. From 1990-2014, over 1/3 of Auburn's offensive TD's were scored outside the red zone.

  • The 2010 Auburn offense produced 30 touchdowns of 30-yards or more, a school record. The 2013 offense produced 19, second most in school history. The 2014 Auburn offense had 13 and the 2015 offense compiled only 7. Auburn's lack of "big play" ability took Auburn's offensive identity away. Auburn popped a 30-yard or more play every 24.9 snaps during 2014, dropping to 1 every 40.5 snaps in 2015. Malazhn's Wing-T variation was designed to generate explosive plays. Through 135 collegiate games, his offense has produced 375 plays of 30-yards or more. These big plays have come every 25.4 snaps and equate to 12.7 points per play.

  • Among Auburn wide receivers that scored at least 10 touchdowns during their career (1957-2015), Terrell Zachery holds the current record by averaging 55.1 yards per touchdown. Sammie Coates is No. 2 at 48.9 yards per score and Ricardo Louis is No. 4 with an average distance of 40.7 yards per score. Though necessary, losing Duke Williams in 2015 was a huge blow to the WR corps. Ricardo Louis was more of a speed guy and was forced into becoming more of the "go-to-guy" role. Auburn returns only six scholarship WR's in 2016, making the 2016 recruits a priority. Marcus Davis and Tony Stevens are the two most experienced WR's but Davis has been utilized as a perimeter player. Of his 66 career receptions only 2 have been for more than 25-yards. Tony Stevens and Darius Slayton will be two primary players to watch for to stretch the field in 2016 along with a Jason Smith, who is still adapting to the WR position, but has shown flashes of being a "big play" contributor.

  • Among running backs and quarterbacks, Mario Fannin maintains the highest average distance per score of 26.5 yards. Onterio McCalebb is No. 9 with an average distance of 20.8 yards, right behind Bo Jackson's 21.1 average. On an interesting note, Reggie Ware scored 23 touchdowns during the Pat Dye era by an average distance of 1.6 yards per score. (Talk about a short-yardage specialist) Players like Onterio McCalebb, Mario Fannin, Corey Grant, Roc Thomas and Kerryon Johnson have been effectively utilized as "role players" within Gus Malzahn's offense. The five players thus far have accounted for 4965-yards on 676 snaps and 42 touchdowns. This is an average of 7.34 yards per play.

  • Among Auburn quarterbacks that threw for at least 10 touchdown passes during their career, Randy Campbell holds the highest average of 33.2 yards per TD pass. Wishbone QB's tend to have a higher average because the deep balls are normally unexpected. Reggie Slack is close behind with a 33.1 yard average, followed by Nick Marshall (32.1) and Cam Newton (31.4). Brandon Cox has the lowest average of 15.2 yards. Though Cox threw 41 TD passes during his career, he only had one TD pass of 40-yards or more, which came against Kentucky in 2005.

  • The 2015 Auburn offense ranked No. 83 in touchdown ratio (1 every 22.9 plays), a major drop from their No. 29 ranking during 2014.

National Rankings (Gus Malzahn offense) in TD ratio:

2006 Arkansas ................. 16th

2007 Tulsa ....................... 7th

2008 Tulsa ....................... 3rd

2009 Auburn .................... 23rd

2010 Auburn .................... 2nd

2011 Auburn .................... 66th

2012 Arkansas State ......... 26th

2013 Auburn ..................... 9th

2014 Auburn ..................... 29th

2015 Auburn ..................... 83rd

  • The 2010 Auburn offense scored a touchdown every 13.2 plays, seventh best among all SEC offenses from 1960-2015.

Best TD Ratio by Position (at least 10 career TD's):

  • Nick Marshall leads all Auburn QB's with 23 career rushing TD's but Pat Sullivan had the best ratio, scoring a rushing TD every 8.8 attempts. Cam Newton was No. 2 with a ratio of 1 every 12.7 touches.

  • Reggie Ware led all Auburn running backs with a TD every 10.5 touches, which includes receptions. Among players with at least 300 career rushes, Bo Jackson was No. 1 with 1 every 15 plays.

  • Alexander Wright led all wide receivers with a TD every 4.5 plays, which includes rush attempts. Ben Obomanu was No.1 among receivers with at least 100 career offensive plays with 1 every 5.2 plays. Terry Beasley was close behind with a TD every 5.4 plays.

  • There were only two tight ends with at least 10 career TD's from 1957-2015. Philip Lutzenkirchen was No. 1 with a TD every 4.2 receptions. Robert Johnson was No. 2 with 1 every 5.9 receptions.

  • From 1957-2015, there have been 282 offensive TD's of 40-yards or more. Bo Jackson had the most with 12. James Brooks and Alexander Wright were tied for No. 9 with nine each. There is nothing like speed and Auburn needs more of it on the offensive side of the football in 2016. Auburn was No. 2 nationally during 2010 in producing 30-yard+ plays, No. 2 during 2013 and No. 18 during 2014. Malzahn's 2012 Arkansas State offense was No. 18. His two offenses at Tulsa were also top-5 nationally.

  • In 135 collegiate games, Gus Malzahn's offense averages a TD every 16.3 plays. The national average during this time period (2006-2015) is 1 every 21.1plays. Only 13 percent of the offenses at the FBS level from 2006-2015 reached the ratio of 1 every 16.3 plays.

  • Auburn was No. 93 nationally in producing plays of 30-yards or more this past season after finishing at No. 18 in 2014 and No. 2 during 2013. Despite having to play four different quarterbacks during 2015, Baylor was still No. 1 in the country in producing plays of 30-yards or more. Ole Miss was No. 1 in the SEC followed by UAT.

  • With a running quarterback in place, Malzahn's run-offense was No. 3 nationally in producing run-plays of 30-yards or more. The 2013 Auburn run-offense was No. 1 and No. 23 during 2014.

War Eagle!

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I'll tell you this -- I fully expected Bo Jackson to break a long one and take it to the house every time he touched the ball!

I'm actually a little surprised it was one every 15 plays; but maybe the 12 TDs over 40 yards helps account for my subjective impression.

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