Sure, there are good reasons to be skeptical of Ole Miss’ new offensive coordinator, Phil Longo. His video game offenses have all been played on FCS mode and even then they’ve frozen against better defenses in the playoffs.
Still, the numbers put up by his balanced version of the Air Raid offense are staggering regardless of the competition. Like, averaged-547-yards-and-49.5-points-per-game-in-2016 staggering. Here are some more eye-popping stats from his last three seasons as offensive coordinator of Sam Houston State.
- Sam Houston State put up 22,243 yards—or more than 12.5 miles—of total offense over the past three seasons. The 7,975 yards the Bearkats put up in 2015 is the third highest total in FCS history.
- Those gaudy yardage totals aren’t just the result of running a lot of plays, either—Sam Houston State’s 7.17 yards per play led the FCS in 2016 and is higher than all but six FBS offenses, none of which play in the SEC.
- Only five percent of the Bearkats’ offensive plays resulted in a tackle for loss, the fifth lowest rate in FCS.
- 34 percent of their plays resulted in a first down, good for fourth in FCS. They’ve finished within the top 14 of third down conversion percentage in each of the last two seasons.
- Sam Houston State QB Jeremiah Briscoe threw 57 touchdowns this season, more than the total touchdowns scored by 105 FBS teams (including the Rebels, who found the end zone 47 times).
- The Bearkats’ passing attack was both productive and efficient in 2016, finishing second in the FCS in both total passing yards and passing efficiency.
- Longo doesn’t just pass the ball, though: his 2015 unit ranked top 10 in rushing yards per game, yards per carry and rushing touchdowns. Ole Miss finished no better than 84th nationally in any of those categories this season.
- Sam Houston State scored touchdowns on seven percent of their rushing attempts, second highest in FCS.
- Longo’s offense scored touchdowns on 80 percent of their red zone trips in 2016, the best rate in the FCS. By comparison, 2016 Ole Miss’ red zone touchdown rate was just 54 percent.
- The Bearkats turned the ball over just once every 62 plays in 2016.