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Missouri 24, Ole Miss 10: Beyond the box score

There was nothing easy about Missouri's 24-10 win over Ole Miss, but the Tigers made the plays that defined the game and scored a huge road victory because of it.

Stacy Revere

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 24, Ole Miss 10

Missouri Ole Miss Missouri Ole Miss
Close % 100.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 46.8% 37.5% Success Rate 46.0% 34.8%
Leverage % 64.9% 63.9% PPP 0.43 0.21
S&P 0.888 0.554
EqPts 43.5 34.1 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 49.4% 40.3% Success Rate 55.6% 50.0%
Close PPP 0.56 0.47 PPP 0.82 0.95
Close S&P 1.058 0.876 S&P 1.373 1.446
EqPts 22.8 11.2 Number 1 1
Close Success Rate 53.1% 28.6% Turnover Pts 2.6 4.3
Close PPP 0.47 0.40 Turnover Pts Margin +1.7 -1.7
Close S&P 0.997 0.687
Line Yards/carry 3.69 1.99 Q1 S&P 1.094 0.794
Q2 S&P 1.254 0.845
PASSING Q3 S&P 1.080 1.129
EqPts 20.6 22.8 Q4 S&P 0.865 0.778
Close Success Rate 42.9% 47.7%
Close PPP 0.74 0.52 1st Down S&P 0.778 0.401
Close S&P 1.165 0.996 2nd Down S&P 1.253 1.292
SD/PD Sack Rate 5.9% / 9.1% 4.2% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 1.338 1.162
Projected Pt. Margin: Missouri +11.1 | Actual Pt. Margin: Missouri +14

Let's start by revisiting what I felt were the keys to the game last week.

The passing downs pass

If Bo Wallace has enough time to work through his reads before Mizzou's pass rush closes in on him, or if the swing pass to Jeff Scott or Jaylen Walton results in lots of running room (yes, this is a concern), Ole MIss will, to put it mildly, score a lot of points. Meanwhile, if James Franklin's reads are well-covered enough that coverage sacks come into the equation, Mizzou could be down 14 points pretty quickly. As many do, this game could hinge on which team is more capable of making up ground after falling behind schedule. That is at least the case unless one team (more likely Ole Miss) is falling behind schedule at a much steeper rate.

Passing Downs Passing Success Rate: Mizzou 55.6% (15-for-27), Ole Miss 50.0% (13-for-26).
Passing Downs Passing S&P: Ole Miss 1.446, Mizzou 1.373

Bo Wallace was 15-for-19 for 183 yards on second- or third-and-long. That's really good. But what helped Missouri a lot, really, is that 96 of those yards came on three passes. Ole Miss showed a little bit of bail-yourself-out explosiveness, but 16 of these 19 pass attempts gained just 87 yards (4.6 per pass).

Meanwhile, Mizzou was able to more or less match the second- and third-and-long proficiency -- 6-for-11 for 132 yards -- while also playing more efficient ball on standard downs. Add that up, and you've got Mizzou scoring on its scoring opportunities while Ole Miss needed a few more plays and eventually got tripped up.

The trenches

Ole Miss is solid in the trenches, but not necessarily spectacular. The Rebels are great in run defense, shaky in pass rush, and typically good enough on the offensive side of the ball. If Mizzou's ends are wreaking havoc and Mizzou's running backs aren't having to make moves three yards in the backfield, one has to like Missouri's chances.

Line Yards per carry: Mizzou 3.69, Ole Miss 1.99
Sack Rate: Ole Miss offense 2.3%, Mizzou offense 7.1%

Ole Miss got to James Franklin twice (both early), and Mizzou only brought Bo Wallace down once, but as the game was defined, the running game made the difference. And Mizzou's big uglies dominated on both sides of the ball. Not only did the offensive line pave the way for Missouri to milk the last eight minutes off of the clock with nothing but runs, but the Mizzou defensive tackles were, to me, the difference makers in the game. There was almost never any running room in the middle of the field for Ole Miss backs, and it made the difference in the game. Because of I'Tavius Mathers' 45-yard touchdown run, Ole Miss' three-headed running backs actually averaged more per carry (5.4) than Missouri's (5.0). But Mizzou's extreme advantage in success rate was evident.

The little stuff

This game is nearly a projected tossup. As such, it will be decided as much by turnovers, special teams, and field position as anything else. If you get a chance at a field goal (gulp), make it. If you have to punt, flip the damn field. If there's a big return, you better be the one making it. Look at turnovers, field goals, and starting field position, and you'll probably figure out who won this game pretty quickly.

Turnover Points: Mizzou +1.7
Field Goals: Mizzou 1-for-1, Ole Miss 1-for-2 with a block
Starting Field Position: Mizzou 24, Ole Miss 24

That's two slight wins and a draw. And a 14-point Missouri win.

Intended touches

Player Rushes Targets/Catches Intended Touches & Yards
Henry Josey (RB) 15 for 95 1-for-2, 3 yards 17 for 98 yards (5.8)
Marcus Murphy (RB) 16 for 67
16 for 67 yards (4.2)
Russell Hansbrough (RB) 8 for 32
8 for 32 yards (4.0)
James Franklin (QB) 6 for 50
6 for 50 yards (8.3)
L'Damian Washington (WR)
2-for-6, 47 yards 6 for 47 yards (7.8)
Dorial Green-Beckham (WR)
2-for-4, 14 yards 4 for 14 yards (3.5)
Bud Sasser (WR)
2-for-3, 72 yards 3 for 72 yards (24.0)
Marcus Lucas (WR)
3-for-3, 59 yards 3 for 59 yards (19.7)
Jaleel Clark (WR)
1-for-2, 13 yards 2 for 13 yards (6.5)
Harold Brantley (DT) 1 for 26
1 for 26 yards (26.0)
Maty Mauk (QB) 1 for 2
1 for 2 yards (2.0)
Eric Waters (TE)
3-for-3, 6 yards 3 for 6 yards (2.0)
Jimmie Hunt (WR)
1-for-1, 11 yards 1 for 11 yards (11.0)
QBs 7 for 52
7 for 52 yards (7.4)
RBs 39 for 194 1-for-2, 3 yards 41 for 197 yards (4.8)
11-for-19, 216 yards 19 for 216 yards (11.4)
3-for-3, 6 yards 3 for 6 yards (2.0)

Variety is the spice of life. Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy never had too much room to run, and passes to Washington and DGB combined to go just 4-for-10 for 61 yards; Washington had three drops that I counted, as well. Not good. But Henry Josey did some damage, and Bud Sasser and Marcus Lucas came up huge. When you've got a ton of options, you can afford for a few of them to have off nights.

Washington's struggles are becoming a bit of a theme. Since his 96-yard touchdown against South Carolina, he's caught just five of 18 passes for 92 yards.

(This clearly proves, by the way, that Harold Brantley should be Mizzou's featured back. It's just plain math.)

Player Rushes Targets/Catches Intended Touches & Yards
Jaylen Walton (RB) 11 for 42 5-for-5, 42 yards 16 for 84 yards (5.3)
Donte Moncrief (WR)
6-for-14, 115 yards 14 for 115 yards (8.2)
I'Tavius Mathers (RB) 7 for 66 2-for-2, 14 yards 9 for 80 yards (8.9)
Laquon Treadwell (WR)
5-for-8, 23 yards 8 for 23 yards (2.9)
Vince Sanders (WR)
4-for-5, 17 yards 5 for 17 yards (3.4)
Ja-Mes Logan (WR)
4-for-4, 35 yards 4 for 35 yards (8.8)
Jeff Scott (RB) 3 for 6 1-for-1, 6 yards 4 for 12 yards (3.0)
Barry Brunetti (QB) 4 for 9
4 for 9 yards (2.3)
Bo Wallace (QB) 2 for 9
2 for 9 yards (4.5)
Jordan Holder (WR)
0-for-1 1 for 0 yards (0.0)
Mark Dodson (RB) 1 for -2
1 for -2 yards (-2.0)
QBs 6 for 18
6 for 18 yards (3.0)
RBs 22 for 112 8-for-8, 62 yards 30 for 174 yards (5.8)
19-for-32, 230 yards 32 for 230 yards (7.2)

Ole Miss' top three most frequently used weapons outshined Missouri's. Walton, Moncrief, and Mathers gained 279 yards at 7.2 yards per intended touch (targets + carries); meanwhile, Josey, Murphy, and Hansbrough went for 197 yards at 4.8 yards per intended touch. The problems for Ole Miss were a) 117 of the Rebels' trio's yards came on three plays, leaving 4.5 yards per touch for the rest, and b) Mizzou's supporting cast was infinitely more successful (30 touches for 300 yards to Ole Miss' 29 for 103), even with Washington and DGB struggling.


There was nothing easy about this game. Even with decent line yardage, Mizzou's running game had to grind out yards instead of breaking off big plays -- grinding out yards is both good and not as good as big plays. Plus, DGB didn't do much, L'Damian Washington suffered some drops, and Ole Miss created just enough scoring opportunities (four) to potentially threaten Mizzou if the Rebels could close drives. Still, Missouri made sure they couldn't close drives, posted a dramatic win in the special teams department (more of that, please), and basically made every game-defining play. That's how you beat good teams on the road; it's not going to be easy, but you have to figure out how to do it anyway.

10-1, baby.