The Scary Sack Stats (AKA - 'Oh Good Lord!')

EDIT NUSS: This is good stuff. Promoted for all to see!

Sometimes I'm just a glutton for punishment.

For any Coug fan, the struggles of the offensive line this season are plain to see. Regardless of scheme, formation, or play calls, the guys up front aren't getting the job done on any kind of consistent basis. This isn't a new phenomenon as both lines have struggled mightily over the course of the past five years, or as we might also call it: "The Abyss Known As Cougar Football Circa 2008 to Present".

Sitting through another season of WSU offensive line futility inspired(?) me to pull the total sacks for and sacks allowed by the Cougs over the last 10+ years in order to see just how bad things really are in comparison to the better times of the past.. The table below summarizes total sacks by years, along with the per game numbers and overall NCAA rank from I couldn't find national ranking prior to 2005 but, well, I think we get the picture. The pre-2005 numbers are via

Any and all errors are a result of poor typing and/or a brutal hangover. (Updated with post-Apple Cup stats.)

Year Games Sacks Against Per Game Rank Sacks For Per Game Rank
2012 12 57 4.75 120 of 120 35 2.92 11 of 120
2011 12 40 3.33 116 of 120 17 1.42 94 of 120
2010 12 51 4.25 119 of 120 23 1.92 67 of 120
2009 12 53 4.42 119 of 120 13 1.08 115 of 120
2008 13 43 3.31 116 of 119 18 1.38 96 of 119
2007 12 22 1.83 46 of 119 27 2.25 45 of 119
2006 12 29 2.42 86 of 119 36 3.00 10 of 119
2005 11 18 1.64 30 of 116 34 3.09 12 of 116
2004 11 32 2.91 n/a 32 2.91 n/a
2003 13 28 2.15 n/a 50 3.85 n/a
2002 13 30 2.31 n/a 55 4.23 n/a
2001 12 27 2.25 n/a 40 3.33 n/a
2000 11 28 2.55 n/a 23 2.09 n/a
1999 12 37 3.08 n/a 18 1.50 n/a
1998 11 25 2.27 n/a 22 2.00 n/a

The left side of the above table, the "Sacks Against" numbers, couldn't be any uglier. After a period of almost ten years of competent, if not high-quality pass protection, the Cougs now sport one of the worst five year runs that you'll find anywhere in Division I college football. A minimum of 40 sacks allowed in each of the last five years, with over 50 sacks allowed three times, including the "Uber-sackfest" known as the 2012 football season. If UW can sack WSU QBs three times next Friday, the Cougs will hit the 60 mark for the season. Not good.

On the defensive side of the ledger we're presented with some really good news. If this season you've said to yourself, "you know, this defense really isn't that bad and seems to be an improvement", you'd be right, at least with respect to sacking the opposing team's QB.

I did a double take when pulling up this year's sack data as I didn't realize the Cougs currently rank 11th in total sacks and sacks per game in 2012. In fact, if the D can come up with a few sacks against UW on Friday afternoon, this could be the best Cougar defensive in terms of sacking the QB since the 2005 team. Sure, we're not close to the Holiday Bowl or Rose Bowl defenses of ten years ago, but it's certainly a strong move in the right direction. Especially when you toss in the fact that last year's D could manage only about a sack and a half a game.

A hearty "Job well done" to the defensive coaching staff this season.

Bringing things back to the ugly side of the numbers, the path on the offensive side of the ball seems pretty clear: the Cougs need to, at a minimum, cut the sacks allowed by half. How quickly that process can occur is a pure guess, but I think we'd all agree there's just no path to offensive success when the line can't protect the QB, regardless of which QB is offered up for sacrifice.

Okay, one final chart. As I was digging through the numbers I thought, "perhaps the increase in sacks this year is simply due to throwing the ball more as compared to prior years." Specifically, my first thought when viewing the above data was "how can any line be worse than the 2008/2009 versions?" Turns out, this year's line is actually better than the 2008, 2009 and 2010 lines in terms of sacks per pass attempt which is just... scary. Or maybe a ray of hope.

Below are the sack totals summarized as Pass Attempts per Sack. (Updated with post-Apple Cup stats and clarified labels for Att/Sacks.)

Year WSU Pass Att Sacks Against Att/Sacks Opp Pass Att Sacks For Att/Sacks
2012 624 57 10.95 409 35 11.69
2011 492 40 12.30 358 17 21.06
2010 384 51 7.53 359 23 15.61
2009 372 53 7.02 388 13 29.85
2008 361 43 8.40 328 18 18.22
2007 524 22 23.82 427 27 15.81
2006 430 29 14.83 383 36 10.64
2005 381 18 21.17 413 34 12.15
2004 389 32 12.16 385 32 12.03
2003 478 28 17.07 547 50 10.94
2002 458 30 15.27 535 55 9.73
2001 393 27 14.56 388 40 9.70
2000 341 28 12.18 386 23 16.78
1999 434 37 11.73 379 18 21.06
1998 392 25 15.68 339 22 15.41

This FanPost does not necessarily reflect the views of the site's writers or editors, who may not have verified its accuracy. It does, however, reflect the views of this particular fan, which is just as important as the views of our writers or editors.

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