After looking at the stats, I can decide if I'm more encouraged or more depressed by Saturday's result. Play this game ten times, and Mizzou probably wins 7-8. But KU's risky ball-control gameplan paid off, and kudos to them for that.
|% Close = 100.0%|
|63.2%||Field Position %
|0.40||Points Per Play (PPP)||0.48|
|0.847||S&P (Success + PPP)||0.958|
|CLOSE GAME ONLY|
|10.53||Total T/O Pts||11.39|
|+0.86||Turnover Pts Margin||-0.86|
|0.860||1st Down S&P||1.043|
|0.530||2nd Down S&P||0.641|
|1.078||3rd Down S&P||1.340|
Field Position % might have been the single most important factor in KU's win. The times they did have to punt, they had moved the ball just enough to have a chance at pinning Missouri deep, and they succeeded in doing just that. All four punts that left Alonso Rojas' leg ended up at the Mizzou 21 or worse (including once at the 10 and once at the 2). Not only did they manage to punt away from Jeremy Maclin, but they also got hellacious rolls on rugby kicks. They kept the ball on Missouri's end of the field as much as possible, and it worked out great for them. And beyond that, two huge kickoff returns by Dezmon Briscoe allowed KU to start a couple key drives in or near Missouri field position.
- Leverage % might have been the second most important factor in KU's win. Surprisingly, the game-winning TD pass aside, KU did not see a lot of success on Passing Downs. Problem was, Mizzou couldn't leverage KU into enough passing downs. That, and they found themselves in too many of them.
- If you'd told me KU would be held to under 2.0 line yards per carry, I'd have bet a large sum of money on a Mizzou victory. As poorly as Mizzou's pass rush was, their run stuffing was excellent.
- The per-quarter numbers told me something I already suspected--really, Mizzou didn't lose this game by failing to stop Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier in Q4 (I mean, they did, but you know what I'm saying)--they lost by failing on offense in Q1 and on defense in Q2. If Mizzou had managed to avoid falling behind in the first half, they could have done more with their effective running game and dictated the pace. Instead, Mizzou was playing from behind for all but 12 plays (seven when it was tied at 0-0, five when Mizzou had a 30-26 lead), and it left them with too littlle margin for error.
- What I said last week:
KU's 49.4% success rate running the ball opens up an avenue of ball control success for them. Their big-play potential (i.e. PPP) is pretty crappy, but they can potentially move the chains a bit.Mizzou easily defeated KU in terms of PPP, but KU continuously did juuuuust enough to move the chains in the first half, and again...this and their early lead allowed them to dictate how the game unfolded.
Key Players and other Big 12 summaries after the jump.
Here are the "Key Players" I mentioned in last week's BTBS Preview...
Key Players: Kansas
RB Jake Sharp
Jake Sharp: 20 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD. One carry went for 19 yards, meaning the other 19 went for just 29. What made Mizzou's failures in the secondary that much more frustrating was that KU was rendered entirely ineffective on the ground. FAIL.
WR Kerry Meier
If KU's going to win, chances are it's because Meier had 4-5 third-down catches.
Of Meier's 14 catches, four came on third/fourth down...three of which resulted in a new set of downs or a TD (the fourth was that horrific lob pass by Reesing that Meeir at least prevented from being picked off). Meier was used in two ways: 1) quick sideline passes for a handful of yards, and 2) in desperate moments. If there was miscommunication in the Mizzou secondary, chances are Meier was the cause (especially in the fourth quarter, when he had 7 of his 14 catches). Rptgwb called him the best player on the field, and there's no doubting that he's the primary reason KU won the game. Epic Pass.
LB James Holt
It was Darrell Stuckey (2 INTs, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 pass breakup) who was the clear KU defensive MVP, not Holt. However, the one time Holt made a play, it was at least a relatively big one--he sacked Chase Daniel on 2nd-and-2 from the KU 24 with 0:35 left in the first half. Without the sack, Mizzou may not settle for the FG. Minor Pass.
K Jacob Branstetter
What I said last week:
Even if Branstetter isn't asked to do much, this spot on the Key Players list signifies special teams as a whole--if Marcus Herford can bust a big return, or if Branstetter makes a big kick, or if anything really good happens to KU in the special teams game, the outlook of the game as a whole could change instantly.
Dezmon Briscoe had two kickoff returns of 40+ yards in the second half: one when Mizzou had just had its biggest momentum surge of the game (Baston's INT followed by Saunders' TD), and one when Mizzou had just taken its first lead at 30-26. Timely.
Meanwhile, KU punter Alonso Rojas punted four times on Saturday, pinning Mizzou inside its 21 everytime. One punt, downed at the 2, was turned into a safety two plays later. The other three came at times when the Mizzou offense was gaining momentum and forced them to have to move the ball all the way down the field. Meier and Stuckey were clearly MVPs #1 and #2 for KU, but Rojas was #3. Epic Pass.
Key Players: Mizzou
QB Chase Daniel
Chase was horrible on the first drive of the game. No question about that. But I really have no complaints about his play after that. The second drive stalled when Jeremy Maclin dropped a deep ball. The third drive ended in a 50-yard run and fumble by Daniel, but...did you see the hack Stuckey got on the ball? Just about anybody in the country would have fumbled on that play. In the end, Daniel made about four mistakes all night, which would have been good enough to succeed if Todd Reesing hadn't made only about two mistakes. Minor Pass.
FS William Moore
It's unfair to judge Willy Mo on one play--especially in a game where he had 8.5 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss--but as I said at the time in the live blog (at 1:27), the William Moore of 2007 would not have dropped the INT he baited Todd Reesing into throwing on the first drive of the second half. He would have not only caught it, but possibly taken it all the way for a TD. Five plays after Moore's drop, KU scored to make it 26-10. In a three-point loss, that play obviously could have made the difference in the game, and it shows how high my Willy Mo standards are that I'm giving him an Epic Fail just for that one play.
LB Brock Christopher, DTs Ziggy Hood & Jaron Baston
The KU running game was a non-factor. Brock Christopher got at least 3-4 really good licks on Todd Reesing. Jaron Baston had a game-changing tip-and-interception in the third quarter. Nobody on the defense gets an Epic Pass when you give up 40 points, but I have no complaints about this threesome...other than the fact that Christopher just isn't much of a blitzer whatsoever. Still...Pass.
William Clarke Quantrill
What I said last week:
Mizzou has the better team in this game, and if they come out with Quantrill fire to match KU's Jennison rage, they win this game.
While it took Mizzou 2.5 quarters to generate Quantrill fire, thanks to Darrell Stuckey KU's Jennison rage started with the opening possession of the game. That was, to say the least, a difference-maker. Epic Fail.
If KU is able to work the clock and come up with some third-down stops, then this game can shift into "Rivalry Game--throw out the records/stats" mode, which would be very bad for Mizzou.
Mizzou was 2-for-6 in the first half on third downs. Kansas was 7-for-10. Kansas did just enough on offense, just enough on defense, and just enough on special teams to turn this game into a "Whoever has the ball last , wins" situation.
Other Big 12 Games
|% Close = 97.9%|
|61.8%||Field Position %
|0.51||Points Per Play (PPP)||0.46|
|1.038||S&P (Success + PPP)||0.978|
|CLOSE GAME ONLY|
|0.00||Total T/O Pts||10.28|
|+10.28||Turnover Pts Margin||-10.28|
|0.911||1st Down S&P||0.841|
|0.763||2nd Down S&P||1.047|
|1.169||3rd Down S&P||1.398|
- After Jermaine Gresham's long off-a-deflection TD (his second catch of a deflection of the evening), my best friend from high school (a lifelong OU fan whose brother is currently seeing playing-time at TE behind Gresham) sent me a two-word text message: "Sooner Magic." I almost hammered out an expletive-laden response--something to the effect of "Yeah, you (expletive deleted) get lucky (expletive deleted) bounces all the (expletive deleted) time because you're so (expletive deleted) great. Congratu(expletive deleted)lations." But a) that's a long text message, and b)...well, that's a long text message. So I just forewent a response and plan on cursing him out next time I talk to him on the phone.
- There was no stat discussion in that last bullet. Just wanted to tell the story.
- Anyway...to the stats...this was another game decided as much by field position as anything else. That, and the two turnovers anyway. OSU had a few nice scoring drives, but OU wore them down with more sustained success and 18 more plays.
- If Mizzou has a prayer of beating OU on Saturday, it comes from three things: 1) success on Non-Passing Downs--OU doesn't have the greatest defense in that regard, but if they force you into passing downs, you're screwed; 2) not getting pushed around by their offensive line (easier said than done, but believe it or not the MU front four did alright against them last year), and 3) breaking a long kick return (everybody else does it...why not Jeremy Maclin?).
Texas A&M (9)
|% Close = 48.1%|
|37.9%||Field Position %
|0.23||Points Per Play (PPP)||0.55|
|0.519||S&P (Success + PPP)||1.073|
|CLOSE GAME ONLY|
|4.98||Total T/O Pts||0.00|
|-4.98||Turnover Pts Margin||+4.98|
|0.297||1st Down S&P||0.678|
|0.684||2nd Down S&P||1.113|
|0.472||3rd Down S&P||1.711|
- ATM's defense actually did a pretty good job of muddying this game up (Texas had a low leverage %, meaning their offense faced a high proportion of passing downs) and giving their offense some leeway. Unfortunately, aside from one long screen to Mike Goodson, the ATM offense was nonexistent, as exemplified by the fact that their S&P was doubled up by Texas'.
- I mean good god...look at ATM's rushing numbers! That's awful...even against UT's great front four...
- After 30 minutes of trying to stay in the game and realizing that the offense just wasn't going to get it done, the ATM defense fell apart in Q3.
- Stephen McGee clearly used his Texas magic up the last three years...he had nothing left in the tank. Then again, little of the incompetence seemed like his fault--nobody else was giving him anything to work with.
- Fun weirdness: both teams were better on Passing Downs than Non-Passing Downs. In ATM's case, it was simply because they were so horrific on NPD's. In UT's case...well, they've done that all year (aside from their fateful trip to Lubbock). If there's a case to be made for Colt McCoy For Heisman, it's that--in 11 of 12 games, he was flawless on the big downs.
Texas Tech (35)
|% Close = 100.0%|
|40.7%||Field Position %
|0.40||Points Per Play (PPP)||0.39|
|0.941||S&P (Success + PPP)||0.916|
|CLOSE GAME ONLY|
|4.27||Total T/O Pts||9.86|
|+5.59||Turnover Pts Margin||-5.59|
|0.906||1st Down S&P||0.596|
|0.787||2nd Down S&P||1.029|
|1.311||3rd Down S&P||1.369|
- Outstanding rushing numbers from Baylor. Tech's front seven is actually pretty solid, and Baylor ripped off 19 EqPts and 3.38 line yards per carry against them.
- The problem: Texas Tech is still one of the best in the conference at defense on Passing Downs, and...Baylor's not one of the best offenses. This isn't the first time this season that Passing Downs killed Baylor, but...yeah, an 8.3% success rate on those downs obviously isn't going to get the job done. They did a pretty good job of staying out of Passing Downs, but when they ended up in those situations, the drive stalled rather quickly. Baylor is a go-to receiver away from being rather scary, but those don't grow on trees--no telling how long it will take Art Briles to unearth one of them.
- The tale of the game: Baylor's S&P went down each quarter, while Tech's S&P went up each quarter.
- Good season for Baylor--needless to say, they were as competitive this year as they ever were under Guy Morriss. Plus, for the first time since, uhh, no idea when, they have a quarterback around whom they can build.
- Good season for Tech--this was, like the Nebraska game and possibly the Nevada game, a game they might have lost in previous seasons, but they found a way to pull it out despite the hangover of the OU loss and the Crabtree injury.
|% Close = 100.0%|
|16.9%||Field Position %
|0.42||Points Per Play (PPP)||0.36|
|0.786||S&P (Success + PPP)||0.903|
|CLOSE GAME ONLY|
|25.78||Total T/O Pts||16.20|
|-9.58||Turnover Pts Margin||+9.58|
|0.874||1st Down S&P||1.011|
|0.549||2nd Down S&P||0.915|
|0.697||3rd Down S&P||0.689|
- Colorado rode a series of Q1 big plays and an INT for TD off of a fake field goal (plus some timely third down stops) as far as they could go...but eventually the fact that they were just whomped in the field position, leverage, and turnover battles caught up with them.
- Seriously, looking at these stats, it's amazing that CU was up 1 with two minutes left.
- And seriously...I understand wanting to try the "holder tosses over his shoulder to the kicker" fake field goal, Bo, I do. But...you can only try it once. You can't try it again a couple weeks later and expect it to work again.
- In the end, this was a super fun rivalry game. Nebraska deserved to win, but with some crazy mistakes, Nebraska almost deserved to lose as well.