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Mizzou Beats Kansas: Beyond The Box Score

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Photos via Bill Carter.
Photos via Bill Carter.

And we finally catch up to what I've normally finished by Tuesday...

Missouri 24, Kansas 10

Kansas Missouri Kansas Missouri
Close % 100.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 37.3% 33.3% Success Rate 39.5% 50.0%
Leverage % 72.9% 66.7% PPP 0.11 0.37
S&P 0.509 0.874
EqPts 3.2 18.4 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 35.6% 40.6% Success Rate 25.0% 21.7%
Close PPP 0.05 0.27 PPP -0.10 0.05
Close S&P 0.411 0.673 S&P 0.147 0.270
EqPts 3.8 10.1 Number 3 3
Close Success Rate 37.1% 41.3% Turnover Pts 13.4 19.6
Close PPP 0.11 0.22 Turnover Pts Margin +6.2 -6.2
Close S&P 0.481 0.633
Line Yards/carry 1.81 2.68 Q1 S&P 0.319 0.321
Q2 S&P 0.237 0.390
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.399 1.414
EqPts -0.6 8.3 Q4 S&P 0.586 0.749
Close Success Rate 33.3% 39.1%
Close PPP -0.02 0.36 1st Down S&P 0.652 0.731
Close S&P 0.309 0.752 2nd Down S&P 0.477 0.832
SD/PD Sack Rate 0.0% / 30.0% 9.1% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 0.065 0.264
Projected Pt. Margin: Missouri +9.0 | Actual Pt. Margin: Missouri +14

Field Position: A Boring And Effective Way To Stay In A Game

Average Starting Field Position (First Half): Kansas 48.4, Missouri 31.6.

(This counts the pick six as a starting field position of 100. Without this one, KU's average is 41.0.)

When your offense isn't producing, you can still win games with defense and special teams; that's what Kansas attempted to do in the first half. They took a seven-point lead into halftime despite the fact that they had gained just 60 yards in the first half, and it was due mostly to the effect three interceptions had on field position. For every possession in the first half, Mizzou had to gain 17 yards just to match Kansas. Eventually, they were able to turn the tables, but with the field position game, it sometimes takes a while.

Eyeballs And Stats Agree

Mizzou made the plays to win, and they looked infinitely better in the second half, but make no mistake: that was the worst offensive performance of the season. James Franklin was adrift for a couple of quarters, and the offensive line allowed a poor Kansas line far too much push and penetration. Luckily, a) things indeed got better in the second half, and b) the numbers suggest this was also the third-best defensive performance of the season. They took a mediocre offense and made them look awful.

Don't Blame The Receivers

Poor Michael Egnew couldn't catch a break. The most poorly-thrown of James Franklin's three picks was directed at him, and two other passes targeting him were just too far off target. He almost made a tremendous catch of an endzone jump ball in the fourth quarter as well, but couldn't maintain possession amid four Kansas defenders. Take Egnew's stats out of the equation, however, and James Franklin was 12-for-17 (71%) for 163 yards (a robust 9.6 per pass).

Player Targets Catches Catch% Target% Rec. Yds. Yds. Per
Michael Egnew (TE) 5 1 20.0% 23.8% 17 3.4
Jerrell Jackson (WR) 4 3 75.0% 19.0% 46 11.5
T.J. Moe (WR) 4 3 75.0% 19.0% 20 5.0
Wes Kemp (WR) 2 2 100.0% 9.5% 29 14.5
Kendial Lawrence (RB) 2 2 100.0% 9.5% 12 6.0
Marcus Lucas (WR) 1 1 100.0% 4.8% 53 53.0
Gahn McGaffie (WR) 1 1 100.0% 4.8% 3 3.0
L'Damian Washington (WR)
1 0 0.0% 4.8% 0 0.0
De'Vion Moore (RB) 1 0 0.0% 4.8% 0 0.0
TOTAL 21 13 61.9% 100.0% 180 8.6
TOTAL (WR) 13 10 76.9% 61.9% 151 11.6
TOTAL (RB) 3 2 66.7% 14.3% 12 4.0
TOTAL (TE) 5 1 20.0% 23.8% 17 3.4

The receivers really did all they could to help Franklin out amid the wind. Moe and Lawrence both made nice catches of off-target bubble screens, and Jerrell Jackson had perhaps his best game of the season, even if he was only targeted four times. L'Damian Washington wasn't targeted with a catchable pass (he was the intended recipient of Franklin's first pick, which was knocked down by the wind and came up about 20 yards short of Washington) but laid a killer block on a Kendial Lawrence run. Everybody contributed, and Mizzou eventually overcame the fact that they were struggling between the tackles.

Domination And Demoralization

You can beat the Missouri secondary, but you need quite a bit of speed to do so. They are too physical to give up much to bigger, slower, more physical receivers. Kansas just had no chance.

Player Targets Catches Catch% Target% Rec. Yds. Yds. Per
Kale Pick (WR) 6 2 33.3% 28.6% 20 3.3
Tony Pierson (RB) 4 2 50.0% 19.0% 31 7.8
Rell Lewis (RB) 4 2 50.0% 19.0% 0 0.0
D.J. Beshears (WR) 2 2 100.0% 9.5% 12 6.0
James Sims (RB) 2 2 100.0% 9.5% 9 4.5
Christian Matthews (WR) 1 0 0.0% 4.8% 0 0.0
N/A 2 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
TOTAL 21 10 47.6% 100.0% 72 3.4
TOTAL (WR) 9 4 44.4% 42.9% 32 3.6
TOTAL (RB) 10 6 60.0% 47.6% 40 4.0
TOTAL (TE) 0 0 N/A 0.0% 0 N/A

Dumping off to running backs is supposed to be a bail-out, make-a-little-something-out-of-nothing option. For Kansas, it was actually a better option than attempting to throw to wide receivers.


There are two ways to look at the last couple of weeks: 1) Mizzou finished the season with two relatively lackluster performances. 2) Mizzou took care of business and won two games without their best player (Henry Josey). You probably know which approach I will take. The last two weeks hurt Mizzou's statistical ratings, but they set Mizzou up to potentially finish the season with an 8-5 record a four-game winning streak.

That, and ... of course ... scoreboard. Whether Mizzou won 14 or 140, they get to claim the series lead, and they get to keep the drum for a good, long time. Style points are awesome, but so is that.


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%.