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Mizzou averaged 1.2 yards per play against Georgia ... and almost won anyway.

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Wow.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia 9, Missouri 6

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Georgia Missouri Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 77 48
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 36.7 28.8 29.6
Possessions 13 11
Scoring Opportunities*
6 3
Points Per Opportunity 1.50 2.00 4.77
Leverage Rate** 66.2% 56.3% 68.1%
Close S&P*** 0.497 0.460 0.586
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) Georgia Missouri
Total 27.0 13.9
Rushing 12.5 2.8
Passing 14.6 11.2
Success Rate (what's this?) Georgia Missouri Nat'l Avg
All (close) 40.3% 18.8% 41.6%
Rushing (close) 37.2% 5.6% 42.4%
Passing (close) 44.1% 26.7% 40.7%
Standard Downs 45.1% 25.9% 47.1%
Passing Downs 30.8% 9.5% 29.9%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Georgia Missouri Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.87 1.55 1.27
Rushing (close) 0.78 2.75 1.08
Passing (close) 0.97 1.40 1.47
Standard Downs 0.79 0.97 1.11
Passing Downs 1.10 3.56 1.79
Line Stats Georgia Missouri Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.49 1.78 2.85
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 6.7% 5.0%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 13.3% 20.0% 7.3%
Turnovers Georgia Missouri
Turnovers 1 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 7.5 4.0
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin Missouri +0.08
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Georgia +0.08
TO Points Margin Missouri +3.5 points
Situational Georgia Missouri
Q1 S&P 0.526 0.537
Q2 S&P 0.565 0.587
Q3 S&P 0.463 0.299
Q4 S&P 0.473 0.338
1st Down S&P 0.510 0.426
2nd Down S&P 0.494 0.243
3rd Down S&P 0.486 0.786
Projected Scoring Margin: Georgia by 9.6
Actual Scoring Margin: Georgia by 3

This has not been Rock M's most impressive week of content. The quality has been fine, I guess, but watching reruns each Saturday seems to have coaxed out all the creativity. It's apparently pretty difficult to figure out too many ways of saying the same thing.

Even while leaning on stats here, I'm probably going to end up repeating myself a bit more. But here goes nothing. Here are some interesting tidbits from the chart above:

  • Wow, Missouri's big-play prevention is just off the charts at this point. Kentucky briefly found success in this regard, but the Tigers are No. 1 in the country in defensive IsoPPP, which measures the magnitude of the big plays you allow. Mizzou isn't giving up many successful plays, and the ones the Tigers do allow are smaller than everybody else's. Georgia had the one 35-yard pass to Terry Godwin (who's going to be awfully good in the coming years); the next-biggest play: a 16-yard pass. Only three other UGA plays gained even 12 yards. That's remarkable.
  • Missouri had a 5.6 percent rushing success rate. FIVE POINT SIX PERCENT. Give Georgia credit here -- the Dawgs are good against the run and had the task of becoming the first team all year to deal with an actually healthy Russell Hansbrough. But ... 5.6 percent! One successful carry (the five-yard option carry by Hansbrough on the third play of the third quarter)! That's it. That's an absolute embarrassment for this offensive line. This is almost good news because Missouri nearly won a game in which its run blocking almost literally couldn't have been worse. If the run is simply bad in future games, the Tigers might be in good shape.
  • First down yards per play: Georgia 4.7 (29 for 135), Missuori 1.2 (17 for 20). 1.2 YARDS PER PLAY ON FIRST DOWN. IF YOU SPIKED THE BALL ON EVERY FIRST DOWN, YOU WOULD ONLY BE 1.2 YARDS WORSE OFF. AND MISSOURI ALMOST WON.
  • The good news: Missouri had almost no successful passing downs plays, but the ones they had were huge! (I'm trying here.)

Win Probability

Matt Mills comes up with win probability charts at Football Study Hall each week. Here it is for this game.

ugamizzwp

Top 5 Plays

Play Number

Offense

Down

Distance

Spot

Quarter

Play Description

Home Team Predicted WP

Home Team Win Probability Added

1

109

Georgia

4

23

83

3

PUNT, fumbled by Cam Hilton

0.293

0.239

2

2

Georgia

1

10

72

1

Greyson Lambert Pass INTERCEPTED by Ian Simon

0.569

-0.225

3

140

Georgia

4

3

8

4

FIELD_GOAL

0.684

-0.174

4

162

Georgia

2

11

11

4

Kneeldown

0.861

0.139

5

65

Missouri

3

10

90

2

Drew Lock Pass to Russell Hansbrough for 24, FIRST DOWN

0.635

-0.121

These were certainly five defining plays. Georgia's win probability jumped by 24 percent when Hilton "muffed the punt" (on an uncalled kick catch interference), Missouri's went up by 23 percent on Ian Simon's interception (and it would have gone up more if he'd gained another half-yard), Georgia's probability went down 17 percent when Marshall Morgan missed the 26-yarder with 6 minutes left, and Missouri's chances went up 12 percent when Russell Hansbrough kickstarted Mizzou's late-Q2 field goal drive with a nice gain on third down.

Targets & Catches

Cover your eyes.

Name Targets Catches Yards Notes
Nate Brown (WR) 7 2 51 1-for-2 for 33, then 1-for-5 for 18
Sean Culkin (TE) 4 2 16 Better than TEs' 2.4 per target vs. UF
Cam Hilton (WR) 3 2 35 Both catches on Q2 FG drive
Wes Leftwich (WR) 3 1 8
J'Mon Moore (WR) 3 0 0 0-for-6 since Q1 catch against UF
Russell Hansbrough (RB) 2 2 23
Ish Witter (RB) 2 1 14
Emanuel Hall (WR) 1 0 0
Keyon Dilosa (WR) 1 1 -4 Lucky to still have kneecaps
WRs 18 6 90 5.0 yards per target
TEs 4 2 16 4.0 yards per target
RBs 4 3 37 9.3 yards per target

For the second straight week, a large portion of Missouri's passing yards came on basically 2-3 completions. Drew Lock's three key passes -- the 33-yarder to Brown and the two big ones on the Q2 field goal drive (24 to Hansbrough, 29 to Hilton) were all awesome. Beyond those three passes, Missouri was 8-for-23 for 57 yards. And four sacks.

Georgia's No. 1 receiver, Malcolm Mitchell, by the way? 11 targets, 7 catches, 49 yards, 4.5 yards per target. So the Tigers had that going for them...

5 keys revisited

1. The trenches ... always the trenches

Spoiler alert: This is probably going to be the No. 1 key all season. Missouri's offensive line was between bad and terrible for most of four games, and Mizzou had one of the least efficient offenses in the country. ... This key is for both sides of the ball, of course. If Mizzou's defensive line wins its battle, and the Missouri offensive line can either fight to a draw or only occasionally lose, the Tigers might be able to position themselves to win. But this has to be a net win for Mizzou, and preferably a large one.

Line Yards per carry: UGA 2.49, MU 1.78
Standard Downs sack rate allowed: UGA 0.0%, MU 6.7%
Passing Downs sack rate allowed: UGA 13.3%, MU 20.0%

Both defensive lines won, but Georgia's won by more. And that's a remarkable thing to say considering how good Missouri's D-line looked.

2. Field position

Field position is a combination of basically four interrelated factors: efficiency, random big plays (which don't lead to points but flip the field), special teams, and turnovers. Punting, defensive efficiency, and good big-play prevention have been in Missouri's favor this year ... and offensive efficiency, a lack of big offensive plays, and a lack of returns have hurt. And since neither Missouri nor its opponents have been turning the ball over just at ton, that has resulted in basically both teams in a Missouri game starting with pretty bad field position.

A push is fine. But if either Georgia or Missouri is able to create some turnovers, big returns, random big plays, etc., this could turn into a pretty significant advantage. Georgia is more likely to do so, but if the Michel is fumbling or Lambert is making poor decisions on passing downs, then Mizzou will have an opportunity to do some flipping of its own.

Average starting field position (first 4 possessions each): MU 53.5, UGA 23.8. Score: 3-3
Average starting field position (rest of game): UGA 42.4, MU 18.3. Score: 6-3 UGA

Missouri completely blew the chances of the first 25 minutes, and Georgia almost equally blew the chances of the next 35. Almost.

This was a unique football game.

3. Finishing

In three SEC games for Missouri, the team that has averaged more points per scoring opportunity is 3-0 ... despite the fact that, in two of three games, the winning team actually created fewer opportunities than the losing team. (Mizzou did so against Kentucky, South Carolina did so against Mizzou.) When you get a chance, finish it in the end zone. EASY, RIGHT?

Points per scoring opportunity: MU 2.0, UGA 1.5

For the first time in SEC play, the team that won this battle lost the game. Though at 2 points per opp ... I can't really say Mizzou "won" it ... just lost it less.

4. Downfield passing

Georgia's offense is aggressive and woefully inefficient on passing downs, and there's a distinct possibility that the Dawgs come out firing a bit more than usual from the start. Meanwhile, the Dawgs are allowing opponents to reel in passes at an alarming rate (for UGA fans): Alabama and Tennessee combined to not only complete 62 percent of their passes, but at a clip of 14 yards per completion. Big plays aren't really something that exist in Missouri games, but Georgia's strengths AND weaknesses could change that. Who's generating more big chunks of yardage? (Again, the answer is probably Georgia, but it's not guaranteed.)

15-yard rushes: MU 0, UGA 0
20-yard passes: MU 3, UGA 1

This could have been a big difference in the game, only the two drives that encompassed Missouri's three big pass plays resulted in three points each. One touchdown was all it was going to take.

5. The first quarter

Mizzou won it against South Carolina and lost it against Florida. An early deficit could spell doom, but an early lead could result in a pretty fragile Georgia team cracking a bit.

Missouri got a turnover on the first play of the game and crushed UGA in the field position battle early on. And the Tigers led just 3-0 after Q1. That was a win, but it wasn't enough of one. Situations didn't translate to points, and that killed them, especially when Georgia actually got things going later on.

***

So we learned that a team can have an almost zero success rate running the ball and average almost zero yards on first down and still almost beat a not-awful team on the road. That's something, right?

Let's just move on. Vandy's next.