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Missouri 34, SEMO 3: The pass defense almost literally couldn't have been better

The pass defense lives up to its billing ... and the run offense does not.

Derrick Forsythe / Rock M Nation

I'm always running late after the first week, but ... better late than never, right?

Missouri 34, SEMO 3

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics SEMO Missouri Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 64 65
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 76.0%
Avg Starting FP 27.1 24.7 29.6
Possessions 15 13
Scoring Opportunities*
1 7
Points Per Opportunity 3.00 3.86 4.96
Leverage Rate** 51.0% 72.3% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.410 0.603 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?) SEMO Missouri
Total 14.7 38.1
Rushing 10.3 9.0
Passing 4.4 29.1
Success Rate (what's this?) SEMO Missouri Nat'l Avg
All (close) 21.6% 31.9% 41.3%
Rushing (close) 30.0% 26.1% 42.9%
Passing (close) 9.5% 37.5% 39.6%
Standard Downs 26.9% 32.4% 46.8%
Passing Downs 16.0% 30.8% 29.5%
IsoPPP (what's this?) SEMO Missouri Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.19 1.74 1.28
Rushing (close) 0.94 1.28 1.06
Passing (close) 2.30 2.05 1.53
Standard Downs 0.75 1.61 1.11
Passing Downs 1.96 2.09 1.84
Line Stats SEMO Missouri Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.83 2.68 2.82
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 12.5% 6.7% 5.8%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 7.7% 11.1% 6.5%
Turnovers SEMO Missouri
Turnovers 1 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 4.0 2.4
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin SEMO +0.15
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Missouri +0.15
TO Points Margin Missouri +1.6 points
Situational SEMO Missouri
Q1 S&P 0.291 0.727
Q2 S&P 0.511 0.623
Q3 S&P 0.451 0.631
Q4 S&P 0.165 0.656
1st Down S&P 0.372 0.651
2nd Down S&P 0.378 0.545
3rd Down S&P 0.277 0.747
Projected Scoring Margin: Missouri by 25.0
Actual Scoring Margin: Missouri by 31

Some reactions:

Total pass annihilation

I don't want to pretend that SEMO's passing game is amazing, but it's not awful, and Mizzou made it awful. The Redhawks attempted nine passes on first down and went 2-for-8 for six yards and a sack. Wow.

The only reason Tay Bender's completion rate (54.5%) went over 50% was because of a conservative passing downs approach -- on second- or third-and-long, Bender went 9-for-13 but completed just two passes for more than six yards, short of the chains. Pretty impressive ... and it was more impressive when you realize that one of Mizzou's sacks came from a cornerback (Kenya Dennis). Well done.

Bad line stats (but we knew that)

We've already talked quite a bit about the poor performance of Mizzou's offensive line, and these stats certainly don't give us any sort of "It wasn't as bad as you thought!" impression. Mizzou averaged only 2.68 line yards per carry, which was below the national average of 2.82 ... against SEMO. And the sack rates were below average, too.

The saving grace is that this is one game, and it was impacted by early injuries to Russell Hansbrough and Evan Boehm. In theory, they will both be playing again this week ... and even if they aren't, Mizzou will have gotten a week of practice with the new lineup. The only thing worse than losing your two best offensive players is losing them when you have no time to prepare without them.

Always be closing (drives)

Even with the run issues, Mizzou created seven scoring opportunities, which should have produced in the neighborhood of 34-35 points. Mizzou scored only 27 -- three touchdowns, two field goals, an interception, and a turnover on downs. Or, to put that another way, three touchdowns and four non-touchdowns.

That's not Stanford-level awful or anything, but it represents missed opportunities. Granted, Mizzou had to settle for the second field goal because of an unfortunate ineligible receiver penalty (the play where Culkin was pushed out of bounds and came back in to catch a touchdown pass), and Mizzou's average gets over the 4.0/trip mark, at least.

Who are the go-tos on passing downs?

I've been most curious about the go-tos of the new Mizzou offense. To the extent that standard downs are about what (game plans) and passing downs are about who (play-makers) ... well, who are the whos?

Granted, Hansbrough's absence threw a kink into that, but we still got some answers about the passing game.

  • Nate Brown: 4 targets: 2 catches for 48 yards, 1 defensive pass interference. Including the DPI, four passes to Brown gained 63 yards. That is tremendous.
  • Sean Culkin: 2 targets, 1 drop, 1 TD-but-no-TD. Culkin caught three of three passes for 29 yards on standard downs, and that was good to see. But his passing downs opportunities left something to be desired.
  • Thomas Richard: 2 targets, 0 catches, 1 interception
  • Emanuel Hall: 2 targets, 0 catches, 1 defensive pass interference.
  • J'Mon Moore: 1 target, 1 catch, 27 yards, TD
  • Keyon Dilosa: 1 target, 1 catch, 13 yards
  • Jason Reese: 1 target, 1 catch, 5 yards
  • Running Backs: 2 targets, 1 catch (Ish Witter for 5 yards), 1 drop (Morgan Steward)

It was certainly encouraging that the three starters (Brown, Moore, Dilosa) combined to catch four of five passes for 88 yards, plus a DPI. If only one piece of the receiving corps can succeed, having it be your starting wideouts is kind of the best-case scenario.

The rest was less impressive: three passes to tight ends gained five yards, two passes to running backs gained five yards, and three passes to Richard/Hall resulted in a pick and two INCs.

A good start is encouraging

Missouri ranked 79th in Q1 S&P+ last year and 28th in Q4. The Tigers' defense was able to keep them in games until the offense eventually began to produce. With a new cast of characters, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to right the early-game ship.

Mizzou definitely started pretty well. It could have been better, mind you -- Mauk's interception came in the second series, and there were quite a few second-and-long situations. But the Tigers spread the ball around, got one good run out of Russell Hansbrough, and scored twice.

And then in the final three quarters, the offense scored 13 points, 10 with Drew Lock at the helm. Less encouraging. The offense was never bad, but the lack of a push in the run game certainly created some issues.

Tomorrow, I'll take a look at Arkansas State's loss to USC in this format to see what we can learn about the Red Wolves.