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Mizzou 45, Indiana 28: Beyond the box score

The eyeballs say Mizzou performed very well against Indiana on Saturday. The stats suggest the performance was even better than we thought.

Mike DiNovo-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.)

My gut was wrong: Mizzou's offensive line actually did a pretty fantastic job in run-blocking on Saturday, it appears.

Missouri 45, Indiana 28

Missouri Indiana Missouri Indiana
Close % 75.6% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 45.4% 16.5% Success Rate 58.5% 36.1%
Leverage % 70.7% 62.1% PPP 0.51 0.41
S&P 1.091 0.768
EqPts 57.4 41.9 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 57.3% 37.9% Success Rate 54.6% 40.9%
Close PPP 0.58 0.42 PPP 0.76 0.45
Close S&P 1.155 0.803 S&P 1.310 0.860
EqPts 27.1 7.0 Number 3 3
Close Success Rate 58.1% 52.9% Turnover Pts 10.9 15.6
Close PPP 0.51 0.22 Turnover Pts Margin +4.7 -4.7
Close S&P 1.092 0.745
Line Yards/carry 4.27 2.22 Q1 S&P 1.162 0.565
Q2 S&P 1.472 1.243
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.905 0.445
EqPts 30.3 34.8 Q4 S&P 1.034 1.394
Close Success Rate 56.8% 31.7%
Close PPP 0.63 0.51 1st Down S&P 0.867 1.154
Close S&P 1.199 0.827 2nd Down S&P 1.422 0.974
SD/PD Sack Rate 0.0% / 0.0% 0.0% / 20.0% 3rd Down S&P 1.203 0.599
Projected Pt. Margin: Missouri +20.3 | Actual Pt. Margin: Missouri +17

Five Thoughts

  1. This was an absolute master class in the art of leverage. Mizzou tilted the field in its favor all game, stayed mercilessly efficient on standard downs, and basically made the Hoosiers run uphill all game. The Hoosiers were able to rally in the second quarter for two drives, but they completely gave out late in the first half, and a somewhat panicked quarterback change, from Nate Sudfeld to Tre Roberson, couldn't turn the tide.

  2. This was also the Missouri offensive line's best performance since the 2011 Independence Bowl. The 20 percent sack rate on passing downs is high, but we know from having watched the game that the three sacks in those instances were all coverage sacks in which James Franklin had plenty of time to make his reads but took a little too much time to try to escape the pocket.

    I felt in watching the game that Mizzou was settling for 2-yard gains a little too often, but the stats disagree. A 58 percent success rate on the ground is ridiculously good, and 4.27 line yards per carry is almost what Mizzou has averaged against FCS teams the last two seasons. Indiana's defensive line is sketchy, obviously, but Mizzou's line didn't just slightly win the battle -- it owned the battle and did so without Max Copeland for the most part.

  3. Intended Touches (Targets + Carries)
    Russell Hansbrough: 14 for 104, 1 TD (13 carries, 1 target)
    Marcus Lucas: 13 for 101 (13 targets)
    Henry Josey: 13 for 59 (12 carries, 1 target)
    Dorial Green-Beckham: 11 for 105, 1 TD (11 targets)
    L'Damian Washington: 11 for 77, 1 TD (11 targets)
    James Franklin: 10 for 78, 1 TD (10 carries, not inc. sacks)
    Marcus Murphy: 10 for 67 (10 carries)
    Jimmie Hunt: 7 for 44 (7 targets)
    Jaleel Clark: 2 for 8 (2 targets)
    Sean Culkin: 1 for 0 (1 target)

    You want ball distribution? That's ball distribution.

  4. This was also a master class in how to dominate on the defensive line without sacks. Granted, I'm sure everyone involved would have preferred some sacks, but this was just fine.

    Shane Ray: 4.0 tackles, 1 TFL
    Michael Sam: 2.0 tackles (solo)
    Harold Brantley: 2.0 tackles (solo), 2 TFL
    Markus Golden: 1.5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble
    Matt Hoch: 1.5 tackles
    Kony Ealy: 1.0 tackle (solo), 1 INT for TD, 2 PBU
    Brayden Burnett: 1.0 tackle (solo)
    Lucas Vincent: 1.0 tackle (solo)

    That's 27 percent of your tackles coming from the line, with four tackles for loss, three passes defensed (one pick), and a forced fumble. And a formation change at halftime.

  5. The best part: I actually don't think Indiana's defense played too poorly. The Hoosiers made six plays behind the line of scrimmage, forced a fumble, defensed six passes, and indeed logged three coverage sacks. This isn't a great defense by any stretch of the imagination, but it makes plays, and it made some plays on Saturday. And Mizzou still gained 623 yards.

One game shouldn't alter one's expectations dramatically, one way or another. I maintain that the Tigers were at least a little bit lucky in beating Toledo as comfortably as they did, and that was just one game ago, so I'm not going to suddenly proclaim that Missouri is a top-15 team. (The numbers are trying hard to disagree with that at the moment.) But they absolutely played like a top-15 team on Saturday. Indiana isn't a great team, but the Hoosiers are still at least mediocre, and a lot of good teams don't beat mediocre teams on the road by an unlucky (IU recovered all three fumbles in the game) 17 points. I thought this was a very good performance before I saw the stats, and now I think it was an excellent one. Bottle that performance up, dish it out nine more times (if only it were that easy), and Mizzou's going to win quite a few more games in 2013. Now it's up to the Tigers to maintain that level.