Georgia 41, Missouri 20: Beyond The Box Score

Photos via Bill Carter.

As always, a) if you don't understand any of the terms, there's a quick glossary at the bottom, and b) if you don't care to learn what the numbers mean, just skip to the words.

A couple of decimal points and two enormous plays by Jarvis Jones. That's pretty much the difference in the game. Well, that and some terrifying rushing numbers.

Georgia 41, Missouri 20

Georgia Missouri Georgia Missouri
Close % 92.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 45.7% 43.8% Success Rate 38.6% 45.8%
Leverage % 62.9% 73.8% PPP 0.33 0.21
S&P 0.716 0.668
TOTAL
EqPts 23.9 20.2 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 35.8% 35.2% Success Rate 26.9% 14.3%
Close PPP 0.36 0.25 PPP 0.36 0.37
Close S&P 0.719 0.599 S&P 0.633 0.514
RUSHING TURNOVERS
EqPts 8.0 6.3 Number 2 3
Close Success Rate 33.3% 26.7% Turnover Pts 9.8 17.5
Close PPP 0.27 0.13 Turnover Pts Margin +7.7 -7.7
Close S&P 0.607 0.401
Line Yards/carry 2.62 1.09 Q1 S&P 0.283 0.404
Q2 S&P 0.683 0.611
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.989 1.153
EqPts 16.0 13.9 Q4 S&P 0.634 0.413
Close Success Rate 37.8% 41.5%
Close PPP 0.43 0.33 1st Down S&P 0.724 0.712
Close S&P 0.810 0.744 2nd Down S&P 0.578 0.598
SD/PD Sack Rate 0.0% / 13.3% 6.3% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 0.735 0.520
Projected Pt. Margin: Georgia +11.4 | Actual Pt. Margin: Georgia +21

In a nutshell: Mizzou avoided passing downs better than Georgia, and neither team did much of anything on passing downs, but Mizzou's inability to create holes in the run game was costly, and despite Mizzou's two long pass plays, Georgia was slightly more likely to make a big gain overall. On a play for play basis, only about three points separated these two teams, but turnovers, a missed Mizzou field goal and, late in the game, a tilted field made the difference.

I've Already Said A Lot About The Offensive Line Today...

...but honestly, it is difficult to find anything else to talk about right now. Below are Missouri's average Line Yards Per Carry (non-garbage time) for every game since the beginning of the 2010 season.

  • 2010 Miami (Ohio): 5.27
  • 2011 Western Illinois: 4.96
  • 2010 McNeese State: 4.68
  • 2012 SE Louisiana: 4.45
  • 2010 Kansas State: 4.34
  • 2011 North Carolina: 4.33
  • 2011 Iowa State: 3.94
  • 2011 Texas A&M: 3.85
  • 2010 Texas Tech: 3.75
  • 2011 Baylor: 3.71
  • 2011 Oklahoma: 3.67
  • 2011 Oklahoma State: 3.64
  • 2011 Texas Tech: 3.52
  • 2010 Kansas: 3.35
  • 2011 Miami (Ohio): 3.25
  • 2010 Nebraska: 3.13
  • 2011 Arizona State: 2.98
  • 2010 Texas A&M: 2.78
  • 2010 Illinois: 2.73
  • 2010 Iowa: 2.57
  • 2011 Kansas State: 2.50
  • 2010 Oklahoma: 2.40
  • 2010 Colorado: 2.30
  • 2010 Iowa State: 2.25
  • 2011 Texas: 1.97
  • 2010 San Diego State: 1.89
  • 2012 Georgia: 1.09

Mizzou's run-blocking against Georgia was 42 percent worse than the next-worst performance on this list. It was really, really bad. Continued performance at that level would be an outright disaster for this team. However...

...with a similarly makeshift line in Week 1, Mizzou's performance against SE Louisiana was just about as good as the last two years versus FCS opponents. Plus, considering Jarvis Jones really was at the heart of some of Missouri's run troubles, considering he was quite often intentionally unblocked, and considering he doesn't play for any of the other teams Missouri will play (though Alabama has some pretty decent facsimiles), I'm not going to go into full freak-out mode just yet. Average <2.00 against Arizona State, however, and I might.

Mizzou's Front Seven Is Pretty Good

The data above should also put into perspective that Mizzou's front seven did very well to hold Georgia to 2.62 line yards per carry. And the only thing that kept Georgia above a 0.600 Rushing S&P (which isn't very good) was a single, long carry by Todd Gurley. We don't know yet whether Mizzou will be able to handle more wide open attacks like what Arizona State throws at them this coming weekend, but it is built for defending power, and it was very encouraging to see that.

Mizzou Targets And Catches

Player Targets Catches Catch% Target% Rec. Yds.
Yds. Per
Target
Marcus Lucas (WR) 11 6 54.5% 26.8% 88 8.0
Gahn McGaffie (WR) 10 5 50.0% 24.4% 34 3.4
T.J. Moe (WR) 8 6 75.0% 19.5% 45 5.6
L'Damian Washington (WR) 4 2 50.0% 9.8% 81 20.3
Bud Sasser (WR) 2 2 100.0% 4.9% 17 8.5
Kendial Lawrence (RB) 2 2 100.0% 4.9% 1 0.5
Dorial Green-Beckham (WR) 2 1 50.0% 4.9% 5 2.5
Marcus Murphy (RB) 1 1 100.0% 2.4% -2 -2.0
N/A 1 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
TOTAL 41 25 61.0% 100.0% 269 6.6
TOTAL (WR) 37 22 59.5% 90.2% 270 7.3
TOTAL (RB) 3 3 100.0% 7.3% -1 -0.3
TOTAL (TE) 0 0 N/A 0.0% 0 N/A

As I said earlier in the week, it was clearly part of Missouri's gameplan to go to Gahn McGaffie early and often. He had a great offseason, so this makes sense to a degree. And who knows, perhaps Mizzou's willingness to go underneath the coverage to McGaffie is what helped open up the long passes to Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington. But while the passes may have had an indirectly positive effect ... the direct effect was pretty negative. Mizzou couldn't run the ball effectively, and the "long handoff" passes were inefficient as well. The "inside receivers" -- McGaffie, T.J. Moe, and in this game, DGB -- combined to catch 12 of 21 passes for just 84 yards, fewer than four yards per target. Georgia tackled beautifully, and with their speed, they were in position to make a tackle very quickly.

So that left Mizzou hoping for a big play. And while this game would have been completely redefined if Marcus Lucas had been able to haul in the bomb on the final play of the first half ... let's just say that saying "If only we had reeled in that Hail Mary" is probably a sign that your team didn't deserve to win.

Georgia Targets And Catches

Player Targets Catches Catch% Target% Rec. Yds.
Yds. Per
Target
Michael Bennett (WR) 13 8 61.5% 37.1% 79 6.1
Marlon Brown (WR) 9 8 88.9% 25.7% 106 11.8
Tavarres King (WR) 4 2 50.0% 11.4% 41 10.3
Keith Marshall (RB) 2 1 50.0% 5.7% 3 1.5
Rantavious Wooten (WR) 2 0 0.0% 5.7% 0 0.0%
Jay Rome (TE) 1 1 100.0% 2.9% 15 15.0
Todd Gurley (RB) 1 1 100.0% 2.9% -5 -5.0
Merritt Hall (FB) 1 0 0.0% 2.9% 0 0.0
N/A 2 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
TOTAL 35 22 62.9% 100.0% 242 6.9
TOTAL (WR) 28 19 67.9% 80.0% 229 8.2
TOTAL (RB) 4 2 50.0% 11.4% -2 -0.5
TOTAL (TE) 1 1 100.0% 2.9% 15 15.0

Georgia's No. 1 receiver, Tavarres King, had a 34-yard catch-and-run when Georgia executed a perfect screen facing an all-out blitz from Missouri. Otherwise, he was targeted just three times and caught one ball for seven yards. E.J. Gaines is really, really good. Really good.

Unfortunately, Georgia's receiving corps has better depth than Missouri's secondary, even with Malcolm Mitchell playing defensive back. With King blanketed and Michael Bennett fighting Kip Edwards and company to a draw, quarterback Aaron Murray simply checked down to his big No. 3 man, Marlon Brown, a former all-world recruit from Memphis. Brown was typically either covered by a linebacker or Randy Ponder, and he is better at being a receiver than any of those guys were at covering passes. Mizzou shut down the running game for the most part and almost completely locked down Georgia's No. 1 option, but Murray and Georgia's coaches are really smart, and they found somebody to move the ball for them, even if it took a while.

Summary

It's noon on Wednesday. I guess that means it's time to move on to the Arizona State game. If the offensive line opens holes against Arizona State like it did last year, Mizzou will probably win. But if it doesn't?

-----

A Quick Glossary

F/+ Rankings: The official rankings for the college portion of Football Outsiders. They combine my own S&P+ rankings (based on play-by-play data) with Brian Fremeau's drives-based FEI rankings.

Field Position %: The percentage of a team's plays run in their opponent's field position. National average: 43%.

Leverage Rate: A team's ratio of standard downs to passing downs. National average: 68%. Anything over 68% means a team did a good job of avoiding being leveraged into passing downs.

Passing Downs: Second-and-7 or more, third-and-5 or more.

PPP: An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game. National average: 0.32.

S&P: Think of this as an OPS (the "On-Base Plus Slugging" baseball measure) for football. The 'S' stands for success rate. The 'P' stands for PPP, an explosiveness measure that stands for EqPts Per Play. S&P is measured for all non-garbage time plays in a given college football game. Plays are counted within the following criteria: when the score is within 28 points in the first quarter, within 24 points in the second quarter, within 21 points in the third quarter, and within 16 points (i.e. two possession) in the fourth quarter. For more about this measure, visit the main S&P+ page at Football Outsiders. National average: 0.747. Standard downs S&P average: 0.787. Passing downs S&P average: 0.636.

Standard Downs: First downs, second-and-6 or less, third-and-4 or less.

Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down. National Average: 42%.

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