FanPost

Hidden keys to the game: OSU fumbles

(Editors' Note: bumped from FanPosts)

I want to talk a little bit about turnovers, and how MU can expect to gain an edge in Saturday's matchup.

OSU has turned the ball over 6 times, three fumbles lost, and three ints.  They have been opportunistic on defense, recovering six fumbles, and getting five ints in 197 opponents pass attempts.  This numbers sound good, and on the surface they are.  However when you look a little more closely, you see that OSU has fumbled the ball ten times, which puts it at ranked 84th (out of 120) in the country in fumbles per game.    Now I want to look at this statistic from the baseball perspective, sort of like a BABIP*. 

*For those of you not into the sabermetrics, the BABIP-or batting average on balls in play- holds that a player doesn't have control over whether the ball is an out or a hit once it is hit in play.  In the long run, BABIP for everyone will be ~.300  Often times a player who is on a "hot streak" simply has a very high BABIP during that stretch, which usually can't be sustained.  Eventually the balls will begin to bounce the other way 

The closest thing in football to BABIP is Fumbles Lost %.  In the long run, a team that fumbles the ball will recover it exactly 50% of the time.  This is displayed in the numbers over the past 2 1/2 seasons, where the fumbling team recovered 51%, 49%, and 51% of their fumbles overall (2006, 2007, 2008 respectively).   A team that has a high Fumbles Lost % (MU has lost 100% - 4/4 this year) is having bad luck.   A team that has a low percentage of fumbles lost (OSU 30% [3/10] or OU 0% [0/3] or LSU 14% [1/7]) is just getting lucky.   What a team DOES control is how often it fumbles.   OSU has fumbled the ball a lot, and has fumbled in every game.  Part of this has to do with the fact they hand the ball off so dang much (51 times per game).   But if OSU keeps putting the ball on the ground, they WILL begin to lose them.  

Who to expect to fumble:  Zac Robinson.  He has accounted for six of OSU's ten fumbles, recovering it himself four of those times.  All of his fumbles have happened when he gets hit behind the line of scrimmage while trying to run/escape pressure. Over at Pokes Pride they used a statistic that Robinson has only been sacked twice this year.   That may be true, but Robinson's been stuffed behind the line on rushes NINE times, losing the football on FIVE of those plays.  If Mizzou can get a little pressure up the middle and hit Robinson behind the LOS, this game could be over by halftime.

Hope you all appreciate this analysis!  Thanks for giving me an outlet!

FanPosts may be posted by any RMN member and may not reflect the views of the management staff of Rock M Nation or SB Nation.

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