NEW YORK —
Eighteen of 124 FBS teams averaged at least 80 plays per game in 2012. Marshall led with 92.8. Texas A&M ranked eighth with 83.5.
Alabama, which uses a more traditional pro-style offense and only picks up the pace when it has to at the end of a game or half, ranked 114th at 66.3 plays per game. Bielema’s Wisconsin team averaged 68.2 plays per game (99th in the nation) in 2012.
Kingsbury said the style of play, especially in the Big 12, where half the teams averaged at least 76 plays per game, has changed what it means to play good defense.
“There are some really good players in the Big 12 on defenses, but yards per game is through the roof. That’s just the nature of the game,” he said. “If Alabama or LSU or those guys faced these offenses all the time, each and every week, it would be different. That’s just a fact.
“We’re big on being great in the red zone, holding people to field goals and creating turnovers. I think the yards are going to be up there. It’s just the way the game is set up these days.”