Mizzou-Texas Tech: Beyond the Box Score PREVIEW

It's easy to get caught up in Texas Tech's gaudy offensive numbers and simply throw your hands up when it comes to analyzing the keys to beating the Fighting Mike Leach's.  Any analysis seems to quickly degrade to "Offense great, defense horrible."  This whole 'Beyond the Box Score' concept does an interesting job of bringing Tech down to earth and judging them with the same tools that judge everybody else.

So let's get started!

(And for an explanation of any specific stat used here, check this out.)

Click 'Full Story' for more.

Success Rate by Quarter

ALL PLAYS

Missouri
Q1: Missouri 51.2%, Opponents 44.2% (+7.0%)
Q2: Missouri 46.5%, Opponents 44.5% (+2.0%)
Q3: Missouri 56.8%, Opponents 47.4% (+9.4%)
Q4: Missouri 50.9%, Opponents 47.6% (+3.3%)
TOTAL: Missouri 51.3%, Opponents 46.1% (+5.2%)

Texas Tech
Q1: Tech 51.7%, Opponents 51.4% (+0.3%)
Q2: Tech 62.9%, Opponents 48.0% (+14.9%)
Q3: Tech 54.7%, Opponents 29.0% (+23.7%)
Q4: Tech 50.4%, Opponents 39.4% (+11.0%)
TOTAL: Tech 55.3%, Opponents 42.2% (+13.1%)

CLOSE GAMES ONLY (i.e. within 16 points or less)

Missouri
Q1: Missouri 51.2%, Opponents 44.2% (+7.0%)
Q2: Missouri 47.8%, Opponents 38.6% (+9.2%)
Q3: Missouri 62.5%, Opponents 46.2% (+16.3%)
Q4: Opponents 41.7%, Missouri 34.0% (-7.7%)
TOTAL: Missouri 49.6%, Opponents 42.2% (+7.4%)

Texas Tech
Q1: Opponents 51.8%, Tech 51.7% (-0.1%)
Q2: Tech 65.9%, Opponents 57.0% (+8.9%)
Q3: Tech 53.5%, Opponents 38.1% (+15.4%)
Q4: Tech 55.4%, Opponents 28.2% (+27.2%)
TOTAL: Tech 57.5%, Opponents 48.1% (+9.4%)

Once again, we can draw from this a general idea of how the game will flow.  Missouri will likely seize the advantage in Q1, with Tech evening things out in Q2.  Q3 is the biggie.  Both the Tigers and Red Raiders tend to do their throat-stomping then, and whoever can make the first move post-halftime could dictate how the rest of the game flows.  I give Mizzou the slight nod here--simply because they performed their Q3 magic in Norman against the toughest team on either schedule so far.  Tech has been very consistent, though.  

Neither team has a huge Q4 sample size, but what sample there is leans toward Tech.

Success Rate by Game Status

This time around, I decided to look at success rates depending on who is in the lead.

Missouri
MU Ahead: Mizzou 51.1%, Opponents 47.5% (+3.6%)
MU Behind: Mizzou 52.7%, Opponents 38.5% (+14.2%)
Tied: Mizzou 50.7%, Opponents 33.3% (+17.4%)

Texas Tech
Tech Ahead: Tech 52.8%, Opponents 39.9% (+13.9%)
Tech Behind: Opponents 63.6%, Tech 62.1% (-1.5%)
Tied: Tech 57.7%, Opponents 42.4% (+15.3%)

Missouri's offense is quite consistent overall, but their defense definitely plays better in higher-pressure situations...probably a good sign.  As for Tech, their offense is always potent, but their defense plays worse in tighter situations...another good sign, especially if Mizzou can jump ahead early.  The Tech D is a slave to momentum--jump on them early and ride the positive mo.

Actually, let's look at one more of these...

Success Rate by Down

As a reminder, for all the 2007 games I've entered at this point, the success rate is about 44% for each down, first through third.

1st Down: Missouri 47.9%, Opponents 40.2% (+7.7%)
2nd Down: Missouri 46.6%, Opponents 42.0% (+4.6%)
3rd Down: Missouri 57.1%, Opponents 45.8% (+5.3%)

1st Down: Tech 59.4%, Opponents 46.2% (+13.2%)
2nd Down: Tech 55.1%, Opponents 50.0% (+5.1%)
3rd Down: Tech 56.1%, Opponents 47.3% (+8.8%)

There's no question that Mizzou likes to live on the edge a little bit.  They're so good at converting on 3rd-and-5 that they attempt it repeatedly.  Meanwhile, 3rd down is their worst down on defense, though they're pretty consistent in that regard.

As for Tech...they're great on offense and slightly below average on defense every down.

Okay, one more.

Success Rate in the Redzone

Since it's pretty clear that both teams will be spending plenty of time here...

All 2007 Results for all teams: 22.0%

Mizzou: 24.6%, Opponents: 19.5% (+5.1%)
Tech: 24.5%, Opponents: 21.3% (+3.2%)

Pretty comparable, though Mizzou has been a smidge better at the "don't break" part of the "bend but don't break" defense.

Okay, moving on to individuals...

QB Success Rate

As always, we're only looking at close situations from here on out...

Missouri
Chase Daniel: 49.9%
-- Run: 45.5%
-- Pass: 52.5%

The run rate took a hit last week a) without Temple and b) against the best run defense on the schedule, but even before OU, Mizzou's pass rate was higher.  When you play Tech, though, you need to keep them off the field as much as humanly possible...and the run is obviously the best way to do that.

Graham Harrell: 57.8%
-- Run: 57.3%
-- Pass: 57.9%

The Leach offense spreads things out so effectively that it gives RB's huge holes through which to run.  Short yardage situations are a different story entirely, but in general the offense clicks along through the air or on the ground.

Run Success Rate

Missouri
Tommy Saunders: 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Jeremy Maclin: 12-for-15 (80.0%)
Chase Daniel: 19-for-34 (55.9%)
Marcus Woods: 2-for-4 (50.0%)
Martin Rucker: 3-for-7 (42.9%)
Tony Temple: 18-for-50 (36.0%)
Earl Goldsmith: 1-for-4 (25.0%)
Jimmy Jackson: 3-for-12 (25.0%)
Derrick Washington: 1-for-5 (20.0%)
Jared Perry: 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 60-for-133 (45.1%)
TOTAL, RBs: 25-for-75 (33.3%)

It definitely appears that handing off to the RB's is more of a "keep the defense honest" move than anything else.

Texas Tech
Ed Britton: 4-for-5 (80.0%)
Shannon Woods: 34-for-53 (64.2%)
Graham Harrell: 6-for-10 (60.0%)
Kobey Lewis: 7-for-19 (36.8%)
Aaron Crawford: 0-for-1 (0.0%)
Eric Morris: 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 51-for-89 (57.3%)
TOTAL, RBs: 41-for-73 (56.2%)

Tech takes the opposite approach--instead of using the run to keep the defense honest against the pass, they use it purely as an element of surprise.  And it works.  Really, really well.

Receiver Success Rate

Missouri
Derrick Washington: 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Chase Coffman: 22-for-25 (88.0%)
Jeremy Maclin: 21-for-24 (87.5%)
Will Franklin: 21-for-25 (84.0%)
Tommy Saunders: 9-for-11 (81.8%)
Martin Rucker: 25-for-32 (78.1%)
Jared Perry: 3-for-4 (75.0%)
Jimmy Jackson: 2-for-3 (66.7%)
Danario Alexander: 8-for-15 (53.3%)
Tony Temple: 2-for-4 (50.0%)
Jason Ray: 1-for-2 (50.0%)
Greg Bracey: 0-for-1 (0.0%)
Earl Goldsmith: 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 115-for-148 (77.7%)
TOTAL, WRs: 63-for-82 (76.8%)
TOTAL, TEs: 47-for-57 (82.5%)
TOTAL, RBs: 5-for-9 (55.6%)

Texas Tech
Grant Walker: 10-for-11 (90.9%)
Michael Crabtree: 55-for-62 (88.7%)
Kobey Lewis: 6-for-7 (85.7%)
Danny Amendola: 40-for-48 (83.3%)
L.A. Reed: 9-for-11 (81.8%)
Ed Britton: 12-for-15 (80.0%)
Eric Morris: 17-for-22 (77.3%)
Shannon Woods: 11-for-22 (50.0%)
Lyle Leong: 1-for-2 (50.0%)
TOTAL: 161-for-200 (80.5%)
TOTAL, WRs: 144-for-171 (84.2%)
TOTAL, TEs: TE's?  What are those?
TOTAL, RBs: 17-for-29 (58.6%)

You look at these numbers, and you start to realize that while Mizzou's offense is spread-out and explosive, it's still infinitely more balanced than Tech's.  These two teams have run roughly the same number of 'close game' plays (Mizzou 281, Tech 289), but Tech's thrown on 69.2% of their plays, while Mizzou has thrown on just 52.7%.  As always, the only way you can hope to defend against the Tech attack is by knocking Harrell off of his rhythm and hoping for the best, I guess.

Line Yards and Sack Rate (Offense)

LINE YARDS

Not that either team relies on the run or anything...

Mizzou: 134 carries, 392 line yards (2.93/carry)
Texas Tech: 91 carries, 276.5 line yards (3.04/carry)

SACK RATE

Probably a much more important measure...

Mizzou
1st-2nd downs: 164 pass attempts, 4 sacks (2.4%)
3rd-4th downs: 55 pass attempts, 1 sack (1.8%)

Texas Tech
1st-2nd downs: 226 pass attempts, 4 sacks (1.8%)
3rd-4th downs: 52 pass attempts, 1 sack (1.9%)

It really is amazing, considering how teams just abandon defending the run and come after Harrell, that the sack rates are this low.  Quick pass, quick pass, quick pass.  Both teams, however, are as good as they come in this category.

Line Yards and Sack Rate (Defense)

LINE YARDS

Mizzou: 115 carries, 352.5 yards (3.07/carry)
Texas Tech: 204 carries, 684.5 yards (3.36/carry)

The thing to notice here is the 204 carries against Tech.  Most teams attempt the same thing--keep the offense off the field by running the ball a lot.  While I'm sure Mizzou will attempt somewhat to establish the run, for the first time all season (aside from maybe OSU, but even they run the ball a lot) Tech will be facing an opponent who takes the attack to them, time of possession be damned.

SACK RATE

Mizzou
1st-2nd downs: 104 pass attempts, 7 sacks (6.7%)
3rd-4th downs: 48 pass attempts, 1 sack (2.1%)

Texas Tech
1st-2nd downs: 97 pass attempts, 1 sack (1.0%)
3rd-4th downs: 40 pass attempts, 3 sacks (7.5%)

Mizzou's D-line has done a decent job of generating pressure without blitzing--the 6.7% rate on 1st-2nd downs is above average--which is good, because their blitzes have been rather ineffective.  Meanwhile, Tech seems to have the opposite problem.  They generate almost no pass rush without blitzing, but even their 3rd-down rate is slightly below average (normally 3rd-4th down rates are between 8-10%).

Defensive Success Rates

Mizzou

Defensive Line
Lorenzo Williams: 20-for-20 (100.0%)
Jaysen Corbett: 2-for-2 (100.0%)
Charles Gaines: 2-for-2 (100.0%)
Tommy Chavis: 11-for-17 (64.7%)
Stryker Sulak: 10-for-17 (58.8%)
Ziggy Hood: 9-for-18 (50.0%)
Tyler Crane: 0-for-3 (0.0%)
Jaron Baston: 0-for-2 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 54-for-81 (66.7%)

Linebackers
Brock Christopher: 38-for-57 (66.7%)
Sean Weatherspoon: 33-for-52 (63.5%)
Van Alexander: 6-for-10 (60.0%)
TOTAL: 77-for-119 (64.7%)

Defensive Backs
Castine Bridges: 9-for-19 (47.4%)
William Moore: 18-for-42 (42.9%)
Pig Brown: 18-for-51 (35.3%)
Hardy Ricks: 5-for-18 (27.8%)
Justin Garrett: 3-for-12 (25.0%)
Carl Gettis: 2-for-22 (9.1%)
Darnell Terrell: 0-for-14 (0.0%)
Del Howard: 0-for-6 (0.0%)
Paul Simpson: 0-for-2 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 55-for-186 (29.6%)

% of plays made by...
Defensive Line: 81 of 386 (21.0%...not enough)
Linebackers: 119 of 386 (30.8%)
Defensive Backs: 186 of 386 (48.2%...too many)

Texas Tech

Defensive Line
Rajon Henley: 12-for-14 (85.7%)
Colby Whitlock: 14-for-20 (70.0%)
Tyrone Sonier: 4-for-6 (66.7%)
Brandon Williams: 14-for-22 (63.6%)
Brian Jones: 2-for-4 (50.0%)
Jake Ratliff: 7-for-15 (46.7%)
Richard Jones: 4-for-14 (28.6%)
Clint Stoffels: 0-for-2 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 57-for-97 (58.8%...eww)

Linebackers
Sandy Riley: 8-for-8 (100.0%)
Paul Williams: 36-for-63 (57.1%)
Brian Duncan: 12-for-24 (50.0%)
Chad Hill: 6-for-12 (50.0%)
Marlon Williams: 24-for-49 (49.0%)
Julius Howard: 3-for-7 (42.9%)
Kellen Tillman: 8-for-31 (25.8%)
Victor Hunter: 1-for-6 (16.7%)
TOTAL: 98-for-200 (49.0%...EWW)

Defensive Backs
Lance Fuller: 2-for-2 (100.0%)
Anthony Hines: 6-for-14 (42.9%)
Joe Garcia: 19-for-51 (37.3%)
Chris Parker: 7-for-21 (33.3%)
Daniel Charbonnet: 1-for-3 (33.3%)
Darcel McBath: 12-for-42 (28.6%)
Blake Collier: 1-for-4 (25.0%)
Jamar Wall: 7-for-35 (20.0%)
Marcus Bunton: 0-for-21 (0.0%)
TOTAL: 55-for-212 (25.9%)

% of plays made by...
Defensive Line: 97 of 509 (19.1%)
Linebackers: 200 of 509 (39.3%)
Defensive Backs: 212 of 509 (41.7%)

Tech's D-line makes far too few plays (especially considering how much opponents run against them) and of the plays they make, far too few of them are successes.  Tech is allowing a 'close game' success rate of over 48% overall, which is the worst I've seen since I've been doing these previews.  None of this is a surprise--and it should be noted that the defense has certainly taken a step up since the defensive coordinator shuffle after the OSU game--but needless to say I'm confident that Mizzou can move the ball at will no matter what Tech throws at us.  If they blitz, we'll move the ball at will.  If they rush 3, we'll move the ball at will.

Turnover Costliness

Until Saturday, Mizzou was forcing more turnovers and making their own turnovers less costly.  Then they racked up a series of 5-point turnovers on Saturday.  That evened things out a bit.

Mizzou Offense: 11 turnovers, 41 'costliness' points (avg: 3.7 points)
Mizzou Defense: 14 takeaways, 48 'costliness' points (avg: 3.4 points)

Mizzou is +3 on turnovers and +7 on costliness.  The margin has closed, but they're still on the plus-side.

Tech Offense: 11 turnovers, 29 points (avg: 2.6 points)
Tech Defense: 11 turnovers, 27 points (avg: 2.5 points)

Tech is basically even here.  They neither force nor commit costly turnovers.

Statistical MIPs

Mizzou Offense: It gets old saying this, but Chase Daniel.  He'll have an infinite number of weapons at his disposal, especially with Tony Temple coming back from injury.  All he has to do is find them.  He had, by Chase's standards, a subpar game against OU turnover-wise, but he still completed damn near 80% of his passes and racked up all sorts of yards against the best defense he'll see this year.  Avoid mistakes, and the sky's the limit on Saturday.

Mizzou Defense: Hmm...I'm going to say Lorenzo Williams.  Williams--along with Brian Smith and Xzavie Jackson--was simply huge last year against Tech, and he'll need to be again.  He's the biggest big-play threat on the D-line, and if the line can generate pressure without blitzing and Mizzou can drop extra guys into coverage, they can force turnovers.

Tech Offense: With every passing week, more and more eyes get fixed on Michael Crabtree.  He is the first truly high-profile WR to come to Tech, and as many others have pointed out, he's putting up video game numbers at the moment.  A defense can have some amount of success against Tech if they keep the play in front of them and make tackles.  However, Crabtree is the first truly incendiary threat for Mike Leach...you can throw a screen to him and watch him dance around or plow through tacklers for an 80-yard gain.  You can throw the deep ball to him.  You can do absolutely anything, and he will make you look good.  He's lit up everybody on the schedule so far, and while there's no reason to think he won't do it to Mizzou, there's growing pressure on him to not have an off-game.  Graham Harrell doesn't throw the ball to too many weapons, and if Crabtree is ever off his game, the Tech attack might (at least temporarily) grind to a halt.

Tech Defense: Honestly, somebody on the defense needs to step up and make plays.  Any plays of any kind.  Chase Daniel will pick them apart unless somebody steps up, and the most likely guy to do that is the guy who's been their best defender this year: LB Paul Williams.  His numbers are quite similar to Brock Christopher, and he's been by far their biggest playmaker this season.

Summary

It's funny--when I think back on Pinkel's 6.5 years here, I always think of two Tech games--2003 in Columbia and 2006 in Lubbock--as two of his and Matt Eberflus' best gameplans, and their defenses' best execution.  And Tech scored 31 and 24 respectively in those two games.  Analyze the numbers all you want, and factor in the fact that Graham Harrell is probably Mike Leach's best QB yet and Michael Crabtree is by far Leach's best WR, and you end up with the same gameplan.  Harass and confuse the QB, and you probably win the game.  Can this DL get pressure on Harrell like last year's did?  If not, will it matter since Mizzou's offense is much more well-oiled than last year's?

While I hate thinking about playing Texas Tech, I remain confident that Mizzou can win a shootout.  They're more likely to start fast (Tech doesn't usually get rolling until the 2nd quarter), and the huge expected walk-up crowd could give Mizzou momentum.  But I'll make my official prediction tomorrow.

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