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Missouri 48, Kentucky 17: Beyond the box score

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The talent downs and quarters made the difference.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here. Or just skip to the words. I won't be offended. (Okay, I'll only be a little offended.)

Missouri 48, Kentucky 17

Missouri Kentucky Missouri Kentucky
Close % 62.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 41.4% 40.5% Success Rate 39.3% 37.5%
Leverage % 57.1% 66.7% PPP 0.55 0.33
S&P 0.944 0.706
EqPts 40.8 33.5 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 40.8% 30.6% Success Rate 42.9% 16.7%
Close PPP 0.62 0.33 PPP 0.71 0.33
Close S&P 1.029 0.638 S&P 1.142 0.501
EqPts 21.6 16.0 Number 2 1
Close Success Rate 36.4% 31.3% Turnover Pts 7.5 4.0
Close PPP 0.55 0.33 Turnover Pts Margin -3.5 +3.5
Close S&P 0.914 0.641
Line Yards/carry 2.69 2.46 Q1 S&P 0.962 0.651
Q2 S&P 1.052 0.309
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.951 1.575
EqPts 19.2 17.5 Q4 S&P 1.675 0.544
Close Success Rate 44.4% 30.0%
Close PPP 0.68 0.34 1st Down S&P 0.954 0.860
Close S&P 1.122 0.635 2nd Down S&P 1.036 0.793
SD/PD Sack Rate 0.0% / 0.0% 18.2% / 22.2% 3rd Down S&P 1.333 0.858
Projected Pt. Margin: Missouri +3.7 | Actual Pt. Margin: Missouri +31

A weird one

There are differences between projected and actual margin sometimes. If a team screws up at the end of a long drive, that can make a difference; but a lot of the disparity comes from special teams. And as we know, special teams skewed dramatically in Missouri's favor on Saturday, even taking into account Andrew Baggett's missed PAT and Marcus Murphy's fumble near midfield. A shanked punt gave Missouri an easy score, and a blocked punt gave Missour an even easier score.

Before you go too far down the "Wow, Missouri was lucky to win this game" road, however, realize this: The EqPts totals are from the full game, and they tell one story; the close-game stats tell a different one entirely. Basically, Mizzou put this game away rather quickly, dominated in S&P when the game was close, then allowed a lot of garbage time yards and points. So UK made up some points at the end, but the game was over pretty quickly. That's why Missouri still moved up in this week's S&P+ rankings.

Still ... you don't usually see the projected margin off by 27 points. That takes some creativity.

Henry, DGB, and the supporting cast

Missouri still went out of its way to distribute the ball on Saturday, with 12 players getting at least two intended touches (carries and targets). Of course, two were infinitely more successful than the others.

Player Rushes Targets/Catches Intended Touches & Yards
Henry Josey (RB) 11 for 113 2-for-2, 22 13 for 135 (10.4)
Russell Hansbrough (RB) 8 for 34
8 for 34 (4.3)
Dorial Green-Beckham (WR)
7-for-7, 100 7 for 100 (14.3)
Bud Sasser (WR)
3-for-5, 43 5 for 43 (8.6)
Marcus Lucas (WR)
3-for-5, 9 5 for 9 (1.8)
L'Damian Washington (WR)
0-for-4, 0 4 for 0 (0.0)
Marcus Murphy (RB) 2 for 31
2 for 31 (15.5)
Maty Mauk (QB) 2 for 24
2 for 24 (12.0)
Darius White (WR)
1-for-2, 13 2 for 13 (6.5)
Morgan Steward (RB) 2 for 12
2 for 12 (6.0)
Greg White (RB) 2 for 9
2 for 9 (4.5)
Levi Copelin (WR)
0-for-2, 0 2 for 0 (0.0)
Jimmie Hunt (WR)
1-for-1, 16 1 for 16
QBs 2 for 24
2 for 24 (12.0)
RBs 25 for 197 2-for-2, 22 27 for 219 (8.1)
15-for-26, 181 26 for 181 (7.0)
LOL NO 0 for 0

The 20 plays involving Henry Josey and DGB gained 235 yards; the other 38 gained 191. That Mizzou averaged 7.3 yards per play despite getting nine yards in nine passes to Lucas and Washington was pretty damn impressive, but credit Josh Henson and Maty Mauk for taking what Kentucky gave them. While a lot of opponents have always had a safety watching DGB and opening the door for Washington and company, Kentucky chose to single-cover DGB as much as possible and pay due attention to Lucas and Washington. The result was basically the same, though Mizzou's offense did start slow.

(Not a great performance by Mizzou's offensive line, by the way. The run was inefficient, if explosive, and those stretch run plays toward the sidelines did almost nothing. Kentucky's front is quick, and it caused some problems.)

Contain the Kentucky RBs, win

Yes, there were some successful screens (and I'm not sure why they didn't try even more of them). But Kentucky's backs still didn't do much damage.

Player Rushes Targets/Catches Intended Touches & Yards
Raymond Sanders III (RB) 15 for 34 4-for-4, 70 19 for 104 (5.5)
Jalen Whitlow (QB) 17 for 85 1-for-1, 10 18 for 95 (5.3)
Jojo Kemp (RB) 8 for 45 2-for-4, 17 12 for 62 (5.2)
Demarco Robinson (WR)
4-for-6, 24 6 for 24 (4.0)
Javess Blue (WR)
3-for-4, 62 4 for 62 (15.5)
Dyshawn Mobley (RB) 4 for 11
4 for 11 (2.8)
Jeff Aumiller (TE)
1 for 3, 12 3 for 12 (4.0)
Jeff Badet (WR)
2-for-2, 25 2 for 25 (12.5)
Anthony Kendrick (TE)
0-for-2, 0 2 for 0
A.J. Legree (WR)
1-for-1, 15 1 for 15
Joey Herrick (WR)
0-for-1, 0 1 for 0
QBs 17 for 85 1-for-1, 10 18 for 95 (5.3)
RBs 27 for 90 6-for-8, 87 36 for 177 (4.9)
10-for-14, 126 14 for 126 (9.0)
1-for-5, 12 5 for 12 (2.4)

Javess Blue is pretty quick and scary, but Mizzou limited Kentucky's ground game to "Whitlow or nothing," opening the injured quarterback to a ton of hits, and when the Wildcats had to pass, they couldn't. While Mizzou was successful on nearly half of its passing downs, Kentucky was successful on basically one of every six. That's not going to cut it.

The talent quarters

I've long held a (still unproven) theory in regard to per-quarter and per-down splits. It seems to me that standard downs and the first quarter of the half are for gameplans, while passing downs and the second and fourth quarters are for play-makers and talent. Again, it's just something I've caught on through years of observation, and there may not be anything to it. But it would make sense that the game was basically even on standard downs and in the first/third quarters, while Mizzou dominated on passing downs and in the second/fourth, right?

The keys, revisited

In Friday's preview, I listed three keys to the game.

1. Maty Mauk. While honing in quite a bit on Lucas and Washington, Mauk again got off to a bit of a slow start, just like he did against Tennessee. But after starting 2-for-5 (40%), he finished 15-for-23 (65%). Kentucky needed not only incompletions, but also turnovers and sacks. Mauk threw no picks and was sacked zero times.

2. Second-and-long. Mizzou on second-and-7 or more: 14 plays, 81 yards (5.8). Kentucky on second-and-7 or more: 13 plays, 83 yards (6.4). My idea here was that second-and-long was a) a passing down, and b) a prime screen or catch-up-yardage down. Kentucky actually survived pretty well on second-and-long, so this was a wash.

3. The first quarter. Kentucky got a big run, forced a punt, and forced a fumble in the first quarter. The Wildcats still trailed, 7-3, at the end of it. And it got a lot worse after that.