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Mizzou-Nebraska: Beyond the Box Score

In general, what you'll see at Rock M Nation as the week progresses is a general segue from last week (rpt's Good, Bad, and Indifferent, my Beyond the Box Score Review, The Beef's Monday Musings, RMN Roundtable, Big 12 Roundtable) to the upcoming week (Beyond the Box Score Preview, Q&A with opponent, etc.).

Now that we've covered that...let's talk about what happened beyond the box score on Saturday.

Click 'Full Story' for more.

Success Rate by Quarter

I began doing this whole 'BTBS' thing with a few general definitions in mind.  The first is the idea of the 'success rate'.  As defined by Football Outsiders, a successful play is as follows:

  • Getting 40% of required yards on first down (i.e. getting 4 yards or more on 1st-and-10)
  • Getting 70% of required yards on second down (i.e. getting 7 yards or more on 2nd-and-10)
  • Getting 100% of required yards on third or fourth downs.

Going into this Saturday's game, Mizzou's offense had a 50.5% success rate for the season, while allowing a 49.8% success rate (not surprisingly, the numbers were 51.5%-42.1% when the game was close, i.e. within two possessions--16 points or less).  Nebraska's success rate margin was 52.1% for the offense and 42.3% for the defense.

In my preview last week, I mentioned that both teams saw their games unfold in the same way--assert yourself in the 1st quarter, fall back a bit in the 2nd, take over in the 3rd, coast in the 4th.  I figured that whoever was able to assert themselves in the 1st could control the flow of the game.

Q1: Missouri 76.0%, Nebraska 50.0%
Q2: Missouri 40.9%, Nebraska 40.9%
Q3: Missouri 78.9%, Nebraska 26.3%
Q4: Missouri 52.6%, Nebraska 42.9%
TOTAL: Missouri 61.2%, Nebraska 38.8%

So uhh, which team do you figure managed to control the flow of the game?  

Missouri won the third quarter 14-0, but that doesn't tell the whole story.  They completely and totally demoralized the Huskers with two easy scoring drives and a defense that produced a three-and-out to start the half, a Pig Brown INT, and a fourth down stuff that effectively ended the game.  I enjoy the 'success rate' stat because it does give you an even better idea of the gameflow than score alone.

Then again, the yards per play for Q3 were 10.7 vs 3.5.  Guess that tells the story too, huh?

QB Success Rate

For the rest of these stats, I will look specifically at stats for what happened while the game was within 16 points or less.  As I've been saying all year, what you do when you're up or down 27 or something doesn't really matter.  In other games this year, this has helped Mizzou as they've gone on complete cruise control with a big lead...against NU?  Complete domination at all times.

Chase Daniel - 33-for-53 (a season high 62.2%)

Sam Keller - 15-for-37 (40.5%)

Run Success Rate

Chase Daniel - 7-for-8 (87.5%)
Jeremy Maclin - 3-for-3 (100.0%)
Tony Temple - 0-for-3 (0.0%)
Martin Rucker - 0-for-2 (0.0%)
Jimmy Jackson - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Derrick Washington - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
TOTAL - 12-for-18 (66.7%)
TOTAL, RB's - 2-for-5 (40.0%)

Marlon Lucky - 3-for-8 (37.5%)
Terrence Nunn - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Maurice Purify - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Sam Keller - 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL - 5-for-11 (45.5%)

Receiver Success Rate

Martin Rucker - 5-for-5 (100.0%)
Will Franklin - 4-for-4 (100.0%)
Jeremy Maclin - 4-for-4 (100.0%)
Chase Coffman - 3-for-4 (75.0%)
Tommy Saunders - 3-for-3 (100.0%)
Danario Alexander - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Tony Temple - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Jason Ray - 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL - 21-for-23 (91.3%)
TOTAL, WR's - 12-for-13 (92.3%)
TOTAL, TE's - 8-for-9 (88.9%)

Marlon Lucky - 3-for-5 (60.0%)
Sean Hill - 3-for-3 (100.0%)
Nate Swift - 2-for-2 (100.0%)
Maurice Purify - 1-for-2 (50.0%)
Frantz Hardy - 1-for-1 (100.0%)
Cody Glenn - 0-for-1 (0.0%)
TOTAL - 10-for-14 (71.4%)
TOTAL, RBs - 3-for-6 (50.0%)

I felt one of the keys to the game was stopping the RB screen.  Mizzou did a phenomenal job of that.  Aside from the times the screen was too covered to throw, when Keller did get the pass to Lucky/Glenn, only once did something really become of it.  Guess that's Reason #118 why Mizzou dominated.

Line Yards/Sack Rate

Line yards are once again defined by Football Outsiders as follows:

• For a play that resulted in negative yards, the O-line is granted 120% of the effort (i.e. a 3-yard loss would be a 3.6-yard loss for the O-line).
• For a play that resulted in a 0-4 yard gain, the O-line is granted 100%.
• For a play that resulted in a 5-10 yard gain, the O-line is granted 50% of the yards over 4 (i.e. an 8-yard gain would be a 6-yard gain for the O-line).
• For a play that resulted in a 10+ yard gain, the O-line get no extra credit—by that point, the runner is into the secondary, and the line won’t get much chance to block. Therefore (if the math in my head is correct), the most credit an O-line can get is 7.5 yards.

Combined with sack rate (sacks/(sacks + pass attempts) give you the best idea possible of an O-line's or a D-line's effectiveness.



As a reference point, Mizzou has been averaging 3.09 line yards/carry for the season, while the Nebraska defense was giving up 2.60 line yards/carry.

Rushing: 18 carries, 56.4 yards (3.1/carry)


Coming into the game, Nebraska was averaging 2.6 line yards/carry, while Mizzou was allowing 3.1.

Rushing: 11 carries, 36.8 yards (3.3/carry)



The single biggest statistical sticking point coming into the game was the fact that Mizzou had the nation's best 3rd down efficiency, while NU had a horrid 3rd down sack rate.  That turned out to be quite telling, as NU didn't record a single sack all game long.  As far as the offense goes, you don't get better than 0%.


In general, you look at 1st-2nd down sack rate and 3rd-4th down rates separately, as they really do measure two different things.  As a whole, the 1st/2nd rate is around 5%, while 3rd/4th is about 8%.

While the game was within 16 points, the Tigers sacked Sam Keller twice in 18 attempts on 1st/2nd down (11.1%), while on 3rd/4th down, they got 0 sacks in 8 attempts.

Defensive Success Rate

I attempted something a little different here...I gave half-credit to tackles made when the game margin was beyond 16 points.  So when you see somebody with 0.25 tackles, that's because they made an assisted tackle when the margin was high.  And a 'successful tackle' is defined as preventing the offense from making a 'successful' play.

Defensive Line
Tommy Chavis - 2.75 tackles, 1.25 successful (45.5%)
Ziggy Hood - 2.5 tackles, 0.5 successful (20.0%)
Stryker Sulak - 2.0 tackles, 1.5 successful (75.0%)
Jaron Baston - 1.0 tackles, 1.0 successful (100.0%)
Charles Gaines - 0.5 tackles, 0.5 successful (100.0%)
Lorenzo Williams - 0.25 tackles, 0.25 successful (100.0%)
TOTAL - 9.0 tackles, 5.0 successful (55.6%)

Lorenzo Williams was the biggest playmaker on the D-line coming into the game, and he apparently made a lot more noise during a pregame team meeting than he did during the game...but that seemed to do the trick.  Tommy Chavis and Stryker Sulak were all over the field, as were Charles Gaines and Ziggy Hood.  Play with this passion all year, guys, and you'll go 6-2 at worst.

Van Alexander - 2.5 tackles, 2.5 successful (100.0%)
Sean Weatherspoon - 4.25 tackles, 3.0 successful (70.6%)
Brock Christopher - 4.0 tackles, 2.5 successful (62.5%)
TOTAL - 10.75 tackles, 8.0 successful (74.4%)

This does show somewhat the limitations of stats.  If Van Alexander was chewing gum during the game, Sam Keller knows what flavor it was.  He pressured and chased Keller all night, and while he was third on the team in successful plays (behind Weatherspoon and William Moore), that just doesn't tell the whole story.  Meanwhile, the DL was all over the field, but the LBs' 74% success rate was probably the #1 reason why the NU offense struggled.

Defensive Backs
William Moore - 5.0 tackles, 2.75 successful (55.0%)
Castine Bridges - 4.75 tackles, 1.25 successful (26.3%)
Darnell Terrell - 2.0 tackles, 0.5 successful (25.0%)
Pig Brown - 3.5 tackles, 0.5 successful (14.3%)
Hardy Ricks - 1.0 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
Justin Garrett - 0.5 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
Carl Gettis - 0.5 tackles, 0.0 successful (0.0%)
TOTAL - 17.25 tackles, 5.0 successful (29.0%)

Van Alexander deservedly got a lot of credit for his play after the game, but William Moore was the unsung hero.  2.75 successful tackles from the safety position is quite impressive.

Turnover Costliness

Probably the most impressive aspect of MU's defensive performance was that they kept NU out of the endzone despite only forcing one turnover, and that turnover was of minimal importance, coming mid-third with Mizzou up 27-6.  It registered just a 2 of 5 on my 'costliness' scale.  Meanwhile, the NU defense was hapless, forcing 0 turnovers and really only coming close once, when Zack Bowman (I believe) narrowly missed a diving INT.

Statistical MVPs

Offense.  Gotta go with Mr. 21st Birthday.  It's almost too easy to give it to Chase Daniel, but...when your success rate is >60%, your field general was phenomenal.

Defense.  While Sean Weatherspoon and Willy Mo led the team in successful plays, it was Van Alexander's job to get in Sam Keller's face and make him gun-shy.  His 2.5 successful tackles were great, and he was probably the single biggest reason why Keller's downfield passes were all quite inaccurate.