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Mizzou-Oklahoma: Beyond the Box Score PREVIEW

Spurred on by some of the trends I was able to spot last week, I’m back for another stat nerd preview!  Try to contain your excitement.  At some point, I’ll try to put together a ‘glossary’ type of post with all the terms I use in these things, but for now just look back at previous posts if you don’t know some of the terms.  Onward!

Success Rate by Quarter


Q1 – Missouri 54.1%, Opponents 41.4%
Q2 – Opponents 51.5%, Missouri 49.5%
Q3 – Missouri 56.6%, Opponents 47.5%
Q4 – Missouri 50.5%, Opponents 49.0%

Q1 – Oklahoma 54.4%, Opponents 27.7%
Q2 – Oklahoma 58.8%, Opponents 35.5%
Q3 – Oklahoma 45.8%, Opponents 30.3%
Q4 – Oklahoma 45.9%, Opponents 24.2%

ALL PLAYS – CLOSE GAME (i.e. within 16 points or less)

Q1 – Missouri 54.1%, Opponents 41.4%
Q2 – Missouri 51.6%, Opponents 43.3%
Q3 – Missouri 71.1%, Opponents 45.8%
Q4 – Missouri 40.9%, Opponents 37.5%

Q1 – Oklahoma 52.3%, Opponents 28.0%
Q2 – Oklahoma 58.1%, Opponents 44.4%
Q3 – Oklahoma 51.6%, Opponents 35.3%
Q4 – Opponents 36.4%, Oklahoma 22.2%

The first thing I notice here is, Oklahoma plays better when they’re up big.  Nebraska game aside, Mizzou is more-or-less the direct opposite.  The longer this game is close, the better it is for Mizzou.  OU did shake off some of the Colorado cobwebs by responding well to close circumstances last week against Texas—every time Texas landed an uppercut of some sort, OU almost immediately responded—but a) Mizzou’s offense is better than Texas’, and b) I’m not sure Mizzou’s defense is much worse than Texas’ at this point.  I mean...that’s REALLY weird to say, but I’m not sure I can be proven wrong at this point.  I mean, just LOOK at the conference defensive averages—Texas giving up 34.5 PPG, Mizzou 6.0!!  It’s not even close!!

Okay, I was half-kidding there.  Point is, if Mizzou plays up to the level it has so far—especially offensively—OU will have to bring their A-game to win.  They probably will bring their A-game, but it still feels good to say that, doesn't it?

The key for Mizzou seems to be getting rolling early.  OU's best quarter is the first one.  Their defensive gameplans are apparently pretty damn good, as opponents are doing next to nothing against them in the first 15 minutes.  Early success gives OU’s young offensive studs some breathing room.  If Mizzou can move the ball early, the pressure then moves to OU, as Mizzou has been unbelievable in the third quarter, and while neither team has had much of a sample size in regard to close games in the fourth quarter, Mizzou has something of an advantage there too.

Click 'Full Story' for more.

QB Success Rate

As always, this looks at just plays when the game is within 16 points or less.

Chase Daniel – 152-for-282 (53.9%)
Run: 55-107 (51.4%)
Pass (and Sacks): 97-for-175 (55.4%)

Sam Bradford – 88-for-169 (52.1%)
Run: 48-for-98 (49.0%)
Pass (and Sacks): 40-for-71 (56.3%)

Both of these offenses are better at passing than running, but they require some level of rushing success in order to pass effectively.  Missouri’s offense is interesting in that its rushing success can come from the RB (cross your fingers that Temple is ready to go), the QB (Daniel’s rushing was the exclamation point on last week’s ridiculous offensive performance), or the WR (Jeremy Maclin seems to get more and more carries each week...and that stands to go up even more this week if Temple’s not 100%).

Run Success Rate

Earl Goldsmith: 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Jeremy Maclin: 9-for-11 (81.8%)
Derrick Washington: 2-for-3 (66.7%)
Chase Daniel: 16-for-26 (61.5%)
Marcus Woods: 2-for-4 (50.0%)
Martin Rucker: 3-for-7 (42.9%)
Tony Temple: 20-for-50 (40.0%)
Jimmy Jackson: 2-for-6 (33.3%)
TOTAL: 55-for-108 (50.9%)

Joachin Iglesias: 2-for-3 (66.7%)
Sam Bradford: 3-for-5 (60.0%)
Chris Brown: 10-for-18 (55.6%)
Allen Patrick: 20-for-40 (50.0%)
Demarco Murray: 13-for-31 (41.9%)
TOTAL: 48-for-97 (49.5%)

While the direct snap to Rucker isn’t working as well now as it was at the beginning of the season—call me crazy, but it appears to be relatively easy to scope out, no?—I do think those direct snaps are setting up a trick play at some point.  And being that this is basically the biggest game Mizzou’s played in 30 years—the biggest opportunity, anyway—don’t be surprised if Rucker or Maclin or even Temple throw a pass or two in Norman.

(If you’re an OU coach reading this, ignore what I just said.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.)  

(No, I don’t actually think an OU coach is reading this.)

(Yes, I just made myself sick to my stomach when I said this was Mizzou’s biggest game in 30 years.)

(And yes, I just vomited all over myself envisioning a Rucker-to-Daniel 4th quarter TD pass.)

Receiver Success Rate

Greg Bracey (WR): 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Jeremy Maclin (WR): 18-for-20 (90.0%)
Tommy Saunders (WR): 9-for-10 (90.0%)
Will Franklin (WR): 16-for-19 (84.2%)
Jared Perry (WR): 3-for-4 (75.0%)
Danario Alexander (WR): 6-for-10 (60.0%)
Jason Ray (WR): 1-for-2 (50.0%)

Chase Coffman (TE): 16-for-18 (88.9%)
Martin Rucker (TE): 22-for-27 (81.5%)

Derrick Washington (RB): 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Tony Temple (RB): 3-for-4 (75.0%)
Jimmy Jackson (RB): 1-for-2 (50.0%)

WR TOTAL: 54-for-66 (81.8%)
TE TOTAL: 38-for-45 (84.4%)
RB TOTAL: 5-for-7 (70.1%)

MIZZOU TOTAL: 97-for-118 (82.2%)

Malcolm Kelly (WR): 8-for-8 (100.0%)
Joachin Iglesias (WR): 14-for-17 (82.4%)
Manuel Johnson (WR): 1-for-2 (50.0%)

Joe Jon Finley (TE): 5-for-5 (100.0%)
Jermaine Gresham (TE): 9-for-10 (90.0%)

Ian Pleasant (RB): 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Allen Patrick (RB): 2-for-3 (66.7%)
Demarco Murray (RB): 0-for-2 (0.0%)

WR TOTAL: 23-for-27 (85.2%)
TE TOTAL: 14-for-15 (93.3%)
RB TOTAL: 3-for-6 (50.0%)

OKLAHOMA TOTAL: 40-for-48 (83.3%)

One thing we’re noticing here is, you know all those old bubble screens and short passes we used to complain about running too much?  They work now!  Who knew??  The talent level of MU’s WR’s/TE’s is to the point where any pass—short or long—has a strong opportunity for success.

As for OU, you can tell that they run a more pro-style offense instead of a spread, as fewer WR’s have seen passes, but those passes tend to go for longer distances.  As Mizzou’s defense doesn’t have strong depth, this is probably a good thing, as it means less nickel and dime coverage.  It does in my head, anyway.  And whereas Mizzou pounds you over the head with its TE’s, OU waits until just the moment you know the ball’s going to Malcolm Kelly, then throws to a wide-open Finley/Gresham.  Outside of Columbia, that’s probably the best TE 1-2 punch in the conference.  And meanwhile, Iglesias has quietly put up some pretty damn impressive numbers this year.

Line Yards & Sack Rate (OFFENSE)


109 rushes, 338 yards (3.10/carry)

98 rushes, 257.8 yards (2.63/carry)


1st-2nd Downs: 133 pass attempts, 1 sack (0.8%)
3rd-4th Downs: 42 pass attempts, 1 sack (2.4%)

1st-2nd Downs: 48 pass attempts, 1 sack (2.1%)
3rd-4th Downs: 23 pass attempts, 1 sack (4.3%)

One thing is clear--neither team has to deal much with pressure on the QB.  Another thing’s clear (to me)--OU’s rushing attack relies on home runs.  They average 200+ yards per game, and Allen Patrick and Demarco Murray both average well over 6 yards a carry...but they only average 2.63 line yards per carry.  How can that be?  Because the O-line only gets credit for a maximum of 7.5 yards per play--the idea is, anything over that is all on the RB.  If an RB has rushes of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 34 yards, that’s a healthy 40 yards on 5 carries (8.0 yards per carry), but only 13.5 line yards (2.7 per carry).  That also means that 4 out of 5 running plays weren’t very successful.

In other words, limit the homeruns, and you severely handicap the OU offense.  Make them drive the length of the field--their running game isn’t amazingly consistent, and they may find it hard to sustain drives.  In my mind, this puts a lot of pressure on William Moore and Pig Brown to make sure that when an RB breaks through the line, he only gets 10 or 12 yards instead of 60.

Line Yards & Sack Rate (DEFENSE)


83 rushes, 260.2 yards (3.15/carry)

72 rushes, 148.9 yards (2.07/carry)


1st-2nd Downs: 78 pass attempts, 6 sacks (7.7%)
3rd-4th Downs: 40 pass attempts, 1 sack (2.5%)

1st-2nd Downs: 39 pass attempts, 4 sacks (10.3%)
3rd-4th Downs: 30 pass attempts, 2 sacks (6.7%)

Strangely, neither defense is very successful in getting pressure on the QB on third downs, but they’re well above average on first and second.  You can try and figure out what that means—I have no idea.  These numbers do somewhat back up what is becoming one of the ‘conventional wisdom’ lines of the week--that the OU linebackers (Ryan Reynolds and Curtis Lofton in particular) are phenomenal against the run and suspect against the pass.

Defensive Success Rate - MISSOURI

Defensive Line
Lorenzo Williams – 9.0 tackles, 9.0 successful (100.0%)
Jaron Baston – 1.0 tackles, 1.0 successful (100.0%)
Jaysen Corbett – 1.0 tackles, 1.0 successful (100.0%)
Charles Gaines – 1.0 tackles, 1.0 successful (100.0%)
Tommy Chavis – 5.0 tackles, 3.5 successful (70.0%)
Stryker Sulak – 6.0 tackles, 3.0 successful (50.0%)
Ziggy Hood – 7.0 tackles, 2.5 successful (35.7%)
Tyler Crane – 1.5 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
TOTAL: 31.5 tackles, 21.0 successful (66.7%)

Brock Christopher – 20.0 tackles, 13.0 successful (65.0%)
Sean Weatherspoon – 19.0 tackles, 11.5 successful (60.5%)
Van Alexander – 5.0 tackles, 1.5 successful (30.0%)
TOTAL: 44.0 tackles, 26.0 successful (59.1%)

Defensive Backs
Castine Bridges – 5.0 tackles, 2.5 successful (50.0%)
William Moore – 17.0 tackles, 7.5 successful (44.1%)
Pig Brown – 18.5 tackles, 6.5 successful (35.1%)
Hardy Ricks – 9.0 tackles, 2.0 successful (22.2%)
Justin Garrett – 3.0 tackles, 0.5 successful (16.7%)
Carl Gettis – 8.0 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
Darnell Terrell – 5.0 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
Del Howard – 3.0 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
TOTAL: 68.5 tackles, 19.0 successful (27.7%)

% of plays made by...
Defensive Line: 31.5 of 144.0 (21.9%)
Linebackers: 44.0 of 144.0 (30.6%)
Defensive Backs: 68.5 of 144.0 (47.6%)

Defensive Success Rate - OKLAHOMA

Defensive Line
Austin English – 4.0 tackles, 4.0 successful (100.0%)
Cory Bennett – 2.0 tackles, 2.0 successful (100.0%)
Steven Coleman – 0.5 tackles, 0.5 successful (100.0%)
Demarcus Granger – 6.5 tackles, 6.0 successful (92.3%)
Alonzo Dotson – 5.5 tackles, 5.0 successful (90.9%)
Alan Davis – 1.5 tackles, 1.0 successful (66.7%)
Gerald McCoy – 2.5 tackles, 1.5 successful (60.0%)
John Williams – 2.5 tackles, 1.0 successful (40.0%)
TOTAL: 25.0 tackles, 21 successful (84.0%)

Lewis Baker – 4.0 tackles, 3.0 successful (75.0%)
Curtis Lofton – 26.5 tackles, 17.5 successful (66.0%)
Ryan Reynolds – 14.5 tackles, 11.5 successful (79.3%)
TOTAL: 45.0 tackles, 32 successful (71.1%)

Defensive Backs
Lendy Holmes – 3.5 tackles, 1.5 successful (42.9%)
Reggie Smith – 8.0 tackles, 4.5 successful (56.3%)
Marcus Walker – 7.0 tackles, 2.0 successful (28.5%)
D.J. Wolfe – 7.0 tackles, 1.5 successful (21.4%)
Nic Harris – 11.5 tackles, 4.5 successful (39.1%)
TOTAL: 37.0 tackles, 14.0 successful (37.8%)

% of plays made by...
Defensive Line: 25 of 107 (23.4%)
Linebackers: 45 of 107 (42.1%)
Defensive Backs: 37 of 107 (34.6%)

When I began running correlations between defensive success rates and wins, the one thing that stuck out is, you need a pretty healthy D-line success rate to win games.  Well...Mizzou then proceeded to shoot that idea in the face, Cheney-style, when their D-line had a very poor 56% success rate against Nebraska, yet the defense produced its best effort in years.  You can’t ignore, however, just how much better OU’s numbers look than MU’s.  I realize it’s not exactly earth-shattering to suggest that OU’s defense is better than Mizzou’s, but...well, it obviously is.  And though there are plenty of scenarios where Mizzou makes this a tight game or even wins, the defensive advantage is the thing that makes OU a 10-point favorite.

Turnover Costliness

Offense: 7 turnovers (1.4 per game), 23 costliness points (3.29 average)
Defense: 12 takeaways (2.4 per game), 41 costliness points (3.42 average)
Margin: +5 turnovers (+1.0 per game), +18 points (+3.6 per game)

Offense: 8 turnovers (1.3 per game), 28 costliness points (3.50 average)
Defense: 14 takeaways (2.3 per game), 46 costliness points (3.29 average)
Margin: +6 turnovers (+1.0 per game), +18 points (+3.0 per game)

The slightest of edges goes to Mizzou in the turnover game, but these numbers do not give any hints to who’s more likely to produce a key turnover/takeaway.  One of the most impressive aspects of last week’s Mizzou defensive effort was how they limited NU to only two scoring opportunities despite forcing only one turnover.  Needless to say, they’ll need to produce more than one this week if they want to end up on top.  

My buddy Jeff says that, since Mizzou had two INT’s for TD on the road against a South opponent in the sixth game of the season last year, they’re destined to have two more this year on the road against a South opponent in the sixth game of the season this year.  I’d point out the infinite number of flaws in that argument (we lost on the road via horrible call to a North team whose coach was about to be fired in Game #11...does that mean we have no chance against KSU?  Does that mean Ron Prince is going to get fired???), but...hey, I’ll take two Pick Sixes!

Statistical MIPs

Mizzou Offense: Chase Daniel.  I thought about saying Tony Temple here, but as I’ll explain below, Mizzou can move the ball without a running game if Chase is in rhythm.  It’s an epic understatement to say that, even if Mizzou is running the ball effectively, OU will get much more pressure on Chase than NU did a week ago.  Chase has what are likely five future NFL WR’s/TE’s* at his disposal, and while the OU pass defense is still pretty solid, there will probably be a playmaker (or two) open when OU blitzes.  It’s up to Chase to find them.

  • - Seriously, five.  Rucker, Coffman, Franklin, Maclin, Alexander.  When did you ever think Mizzou would have five pro prospects catching passes at the same time?

Mizzou Defense: William Moore.  There are two things Mizzou’s defense can do to give the team a chance to win: take the ball away, and take the homerun away.  I’m by no means trying to take away the amount of threat that Malcolm Kelly and Joachin Iglesias represent, but I’m more worried about Mizzou stopping the run than stopping the pass.  If you can make Sam Bradford throw instead of having to overcompensate for the run, then turnovers are possible.  But to make Bradford throw, you have to take away the big runs, and while the LB’s will have to make plenty of plays themselves, the safeties are the last line of defense, and they will be tested.  Plus, the safeties are the best takeaway guys on the defense, so my eyes will be on them.

Oklahoma Offense: Demarco Murray.  I almost said Sam Bradford here--he played wonderfully in his first OU-Texas game, and now he’s back at Owen Field, where he and the entire OU offense have been almost flawless this season.  If Bradford can avoid the INT’s (and the entire offense can avoid the fumbles), then you have to figure OU can produce enough scoring opportunities to outscore Mizzou.  

However, I say more pressure rides on Murray here.  Allen Patrick’s been OU’s most consistent rusher this season, but Murray’s the homerun hitter.  OU relies on big runs to both eat up yards and take pressure off of Sam Bradford in the passing game, and if Mizzou can keep Murray in front of them, they really could limit OU’s offense considerably.

Oklahoma Defense: Curtis Lofton and Ryan Reynolds.  Chances are, Missouri’s going to have to get pretty creative—mixing in plenty of Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin to go with the RB’s—to have success running the ball.  OU’s front seven is fantastic in defending the run.  However, taking away the run and making Mizzou one-dimensional will only work if the LB’s can cover the TE’s.  Granted, Mizzou’s offense is at its most effective when the run is working, but if Chase Daniel’s in rhythm, the running game isn’t a necessity.  Cover the TE’s even reasonably effectively, and you might be able to take Chase out of rhythm.

So what have we learned here?  That there are three things that Mizzou has to do to win the game: 1) Move the ball early, 2) Win the turnover battle, 3) Avoid giving up the homerun.  Pull off all three, and I say they win the game.  If they pull off two of the three, they could win if they do the other two well enough.  And one of three just ain't gonna get the job done.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's less nerd-oriented preview and prediction!