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Mizzou-Illinois: Beyond the Box Score

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Can you feel it?  That's right...BTBS is back in your life...



% Close* = 71.07%
82 Plays 77
34.91 EqPts 34.13
45.1% Success Rate 40.3%
0.43 Points Per Play (PPP) 0.44
0.877 S&P (Success + PPP) 0.846
73 Plays 40
30.55 EqPts 10.55
45.2% Success Rate 32.5%
0.42 PPP 0.26
0.871 S&P 0.589
16.11 EqPts 5.40
47.2% Success Rate 36.7%
0.45 PPP 0.18
0.920 S&P 0.547
18.80 EqPts 28.73
43.5% Success Rate 42.6%
0.41 PPP 0.61
0.843 S&P 1.037
44.4% Success Rate 44.4%
0.48 PPP 0.47
0.926 S&P 0.919
46.4% Success Rate 30.4%
0.32 PPP 0.37
0.783 S&P 0.674
2 Number 2
5.45 Points Lost ** 4.85
7.85 Points Given *** 8.27
13.29 Total T/O Pts 13.12
-0.17 Turnover Pts Margin +0.17

* % close = the % of plays in the game that took place when the score was within two possessions.  It gives you a different way of looking how tight the game really was.  If a team scores two late TDs against scrubs and only loses by 14, the game may look like it was competitive, but "% of plays' will show that it probably wasn't.  On the other hand, if a game is within 3 points with two minutes to go, and the leader scores two late TDs, the score won't indicate how tight the game really was.

** Points Lost = the combined points lost via turnover, as determined by the point value of the team's starting field position.  Example: Sean Weatherspoon's first INT took place with Illinois at Mizzou's 29.  The Mizzou 29 was worth 3.41 EqPts, meaning Illinois "lost" 3.41 points on the play.

*** Points Given = the combined points handed to the other team via turnover, as determined by the point value of the resulting field position.  Example: Back to Weatherspoon's first INT--it resulted in Mizzou starting at their own 26, which is worth 1.27 EqPts.  So Illinois "gave" Mizzou 1.27 points on the play.  And obviously both Pick Sixes were worth 7 "points given".

Analysis after the jump.

Special Teams won the game for Mizzou

So it's pretty clear that the difference here was in special teams.  Jeremy Maclin had the kick return TD and set up Tommy Saunders' 2nd TD with a long punt return, plus Jeff Wolfert banged a long FG.  That alone accounts for the difference on the scoreboard.

That, and...

Mizzou's defense was stellar while the game was close

While the overall EqPts score was almost dead even (34.91 to 34.13 for Mizzou), close game stats told the tale.  Mizzou's S&P was pretty much exactly the same whether the game was close or not (0.877 overall, 0.871 close), but Illinois did almost all of their damage when Mizzou had a lead of 17 or more.  They only managed a 32.5% success rate and 0.589 S&P when the game was actually in the balance, and just like last year, when they game tightened up, the Mizzou defense (especially Sean Weatherspoon and Stryker Sulak) ratcheted up the intensity and quality of play.

So despite the evenness on the EqPts scorecard, Mizzou's close-game play (and the fact that almost 30% of the game was played with Mizzou having a lead of 17 points or more) shows who deserved to win this game.

Projections vs Performance

Mizzou Rushing

Projected: 12.00
Actual: 16.11 (+4.11)

Mizzou Passing

Projected: 18.00
Actual: 18.80 (+0.80)

Illinois Rushing

Projected: 11.00
Actual: 5.40 (-5.60)

Illinois Passing

Projected: 9.00
Actual: 28.73 (+19.73)

Mizzou had one weakness on defense: stopping the long-ball to the right side.  It's a throw Juice Williams makes as good or better than anybody in the country (he just can't throw a slant), and power to UI for finding the hole and exploiting it.

Revisiting the Key Players for Illinois

RB Daniel Dufrene

Daniel Dufrene: 13 carries, 3.15 EqPts, 30.8% success rate, 0.24 PPP, 0.550 S&P.  Granted, he made himself useful with another 1.19 EqPts receiving, but Illinois was completely unable to establish the ground game, so...FAIL.

RG Jon Asamoah

Ziggy Hood: 2.0 successful tackles (1.0 TFL), 50.0% success rate.

Ziggy was in the backfield quite a bit, but Juice was able to avoid him.  His stats weren't great, but Mizzou's DTs were able to blow up the middle of line repeatedly, especially on runs.  So I'm going to say slight fail for Asamoah.

DE's Will Davis, Doug Pilcher, Derek Walker and Jerry Brown

Will Davis: 3.5 successful tackles (0.5 TFL), 58.3% success rate
Doug Pilcher: 3.0 successful tackles (1.0 TFL), 75.0% success rate
Derek Walker: 1.5 successful tackles, 100.0% success rate (1 INT FOR TD)
Jerry Brown: 1.5 successful tackles (0.5 TFL), 100.0% success rate

COMBINED: 9.5 successful tackles (2.0 TFL), 73.1% success rate (1 INT FOR TD)

The Pick Six from Walker was nice, obviously--he read the play perfectly and got to the endzone untouched.  But the 2.0 TFL and 0.0 sacks were far less than what was expected from this unit.  The only sack all night was a coverage sack, and really they didn't even hurry Chase Daniel all that much.  If not for Walker's TD, this would have clearly been the biggest FAIL of the night.  Big, big ups to the Mizzou O-line, particularly tackles Elvis Fisher and Colin Brown, for their bigtime play.

WR Arrelious Benn

Benn: 7 catches, 4.34 EqPts, 71.4% success rate, 0.62 PPP, 1.334 S&P.  Decent, but rather unimpressive considering he had only a 0.960 S&P while the game was close.  His end-of-game totals ended up solid, but he was anything but a game-changer, and he did nothing in the return game as well.  Fail.

Revisiting the Key Players for Mizzou

RB Derrick Washington

Washington: 19 carries, 11.26 EqPts, 47.4% success rate, 0.59 PPP,1.067 S&P. He more than doubled Illinois' EqPts output by himself.  SUCCESS.

WRs Jared Perry, Tommy Saunders, Jerrell Jackson, Wes Kemp

Jared Perry: 5 catches, 3.83 EqPts
Tommy Saunders: 6 catches, 6.50 EqPts (and a fumble)

The freshmen did nothing (though Andrew Jones did have a catch), and Maclin (4 catches, 1.25 EqPts) was blanketed all night, but the two unheralded veterans came through.  Granted, Saunders' fumble cost Mizzou a few points, but he balanced those out with the Q3 TDs.  Success.

OLs Elvis Fisher, Ryan Madison, Tim Barnes, Kurtis Gregory, Colin Brown

They gave up 1 sack, and Derrick Washington dominated.  Success.

S Justin Garrett

Justin Garrett: 2.5 successful tackles, 45.5% success rate.  Solid for a safety.  But he also had at least one horrific bite on a pump fake.  And Juice Williams nearly doubled his career best for passing yards in a game.  Nobody gets a Success for that.  Fail.

Bottom Line

Bottom line: BTBS projected a 10-point win, and we won by 10.  So there should be little to complain about.  But here's the thing: if you'd told me that a) Mizzou's O-line would dominate Illinois' D-line, b) Mizzou's D-line would dominate Illinois' O-line, c) Sean Weatherspoon would have 2 INTs, d) Stryker Sulak would have 3 sacks, e) Illinois' rushing offense would post a putrid S&P, f) Mizzou would dominate in special teams (and Jake Harry wouldn't suck), and g) Derrick Washington would go off, I'd have thought we'd have won by 30. 

Again, Mizzou showed only one weakness*: the secondary opposite Carl Gettis.  And I think the personnel is in place (and so is the schedule) to fix that weakness.

If you wanted to add a second weakness to the list, I guess the blitzes really were pretty ineffective (though that's counteracted by the two starting DEs putting up 4 sacks on their own).

So in all, this is still a pretty satisfying win.  Mizzou dominated the last three quarters when the game was actually within reach for both teams.  And man oh man did the offense look good, especially in Q2 and Q3.  Illinois is the 2nd- or 3rd-most athletic/talented team on the schedule, and the Close-Game S&P margin was 0.871 to 0.589 for Mizzou.  That's a really, really good sign for the rest of the year.