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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 12:38 AM

The Green Bay Packers and Oklahoma State Cowboys both covered as home favorites in the Thursday Night TV games. Green Bay almost blew the cover in the final moments…with New Orleans driving down to the goal line before failing to hit paydirt on the final play of the game. Oklahoma State had to sweat the cover for awhile in the second half, but pulled away to a comfortable victory. Let’s run the numbers...


  • Total Yardage: New Orleans 477, Green Bay 399
  • Rushing Yardage: New Orleans 81, Green Bay 103
  • Passing Stats: New Orleans 32-49-0-396, Green Bay 27-35-0-296
  • Third Downs: New Orleans 64%, Green Bay 67%
  • Turnovers: New Orleans 1, Green Bay 0
  • Yards-Per-Play: New Orleans 6.5, Green Bay 6.2
  • Las Vegas Line: Green Bay by 4.5, total of 48

Green Bay jumped ahead 21-7 after one quarter…and the game kind of swung on that axis the rest of the night. If New Orleans scored…Green Bay would score right back! The Packers had a chance to ice the game near the two-minute warning, but failed to convert a third down try. Drew Brees got his Saints to the doorstep…but couldn’t kick the door in.

New Orleans got the better of the raw stats because they were playing from behind all night. The stats that best reflect Green Bay’s edges would be incomplete passes and turnovers. You see the Saints are in good shape in a lot of the volume numbers. But…

  • Incomplete Passes: New Orleans 17, Green Bay 8
  • Turnovers: New Orleans 1, Green Bay 0

The Packers were a little sharper, and that meant they made the most of their 6.2 ypp and 399 total yards. The New Orleans turnover set up a relatively cheap Green Bay touchdown. New Orleans had to settle for a field goal on one drive when Green Bay did nothing but score TD’s. A couple of plays here or there, and the other team covers…and maybe even wins outright.

Great kickoff to the 2011 NFL season…especially if you had the Over! That was Nick Bogdanovich’s top football release Thursday…Over 48 in a game that was already at 45 by halftime.


  • Total Yardage: Arizona 439, Oklahoma State 594
  • Rushing Yardage: Arizona 51, Oklahoma State 197
  • Passing Stats: Arizona 36-50-0-388, Oklahoma State 42-53-1-397
  • Third Downs: Arizona 53%, Oklahoma State 53%
  • Turnovers: Arizona 1, Oklahoma State 1
  • Yards-Per-Play: Arizona 6.2, Oklahoma State 7.1
  • Las Vegas Line: Oklahoma State by 14, total of 65

The game was more one-sided than some of those stats make it seem. Arizona generally moved the ball in the middle of the field before bogging down when it was time to score. Oklahoma State was able to finish off drives. You see the passing lines, and it looks like the quarterbacks were about even. Look at rushing yardage. Oklahoma State could power into the end zone when they got close (and, they got close a lot). Arizona averaged just 2.4 yards-per-carry on the night, compared to a whopping 6.4 ypc for Okie State.

Great night for Brandon Weeden of the Cowboys. Only 11 passes didn’t connect out of 53 attempts! Yes, a lot were of the short variety. He was short and accurate, and continued to show leadership on the field. Foles made some big plays…but there were times when his teammates were angry that picking the wrong receivers in traffic.  Arizona needs to learn some composure in big games.

Or, they need to stop playing teams from the Big 12! Look at what’s happened to Arizona in their last three games against Big 12 powers:

  • Nebraska 33, Arizona 0 in the 2009 HolidayBowl
  • Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10 in last year’s Alamo Bowl
  • Oklahoma State 37, Arizona 14 Thursday Night

That’s a combined loss of 106-24! In games that were supposed to be competitive!

Funny to see a game with 103 passing attempts stay UNDER the Vegas total by double digits. You statheads need to be aware that many current passing teams aren’t as explosive on the scoreboard as their numbers would suggest. Moving in the middle of the field pads your stats, but doesn’t get enough on the board vs. quality opposition.

Thursday in baseball’s pennant races…

*Both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox lost again in the AL East. So, New York maintains its 2.5 game lead as they fly to Anaheim for a weekend series against the LA Angels. Boston starts a series Friday Night in Tampa Bay.

*Arizona beat San Diego to extend its lead in the NL West to 7.5 games over San Francisco with only 18 to play.

*Philadelphia and Milwaukee started a series that probably won’t end up impacting the pennant races…but it might be a playoff preview. The Phils won in Milwaukee 7-2 with Cole Hamels outpitching Chris Narveson. To be fair, if these teams meet in the playoffs, Narveson may not be throwing many pitches! We expect this to be an entertaining series this weekend.

Note that the Phillies were a winner for Kelso Sturgeon. He also won Thursday with the Chicago White Sox over Cleveland in a baseball blowout. A third release was a late finisher. Jim Hurley swept the board in baseball with the White Sox and Toronto.

Back with you Friday in the VSM blog to talk about Missouri-Arizona State in college football and more from the rest of the first FULL weekend of football action in the 2011 season. Thanks for being a VSM Blog reader!

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