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Georgia at Missouri preview: Is Nick Chubb breaking big gains? Are Drew Lock's bombs connecting?

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Bulldogs (2-0) vs. Missouri Tigers (1-1)

September 17, 2016 (7:30 PM ET, SECN)
S&P+ Projection: Georgia 33, Missouri 23
S&P+ Win Probability: Georgia 72%

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Statistical profiles index.

Full Football Outsiders F/+ rankings can be found here.

During Missouri's four-plus years in the SEC, Mizzou-Georgia games have remained rather memorable. In 2012, the Tigers came up with some huge plays but got Jarvis Jones'd in their SEC debut. In 2013, they turned the tables, winning in Athens and officially kick-starting what would become a run to the SEC title game.

In 2014, Mizzou got smoked in Columbia; it ended up being a come-to-jesus meeting of sorts, as the Tigers would win their final six games of the year to again finish as SEC East champs. And in 2015, both teams coulda-woulda-shoulda'd their way to a combined 15 points, and Mizzou came up three points short of a second straight win in Athens.

The 2016 game between the two teams could end up memorable simply in what it confirms about both the Tigers and Dawgs. The teams have combined for four games and have basically given four completely different impressions. Georgia did what was necessary to beat a solid North Carolina team on a neutral field, then played just about as poorly as you can possibly play while still winning against Nicholls State.

Missouri, meanwhile, looked inefficient and unorganized while losing to West Virginia, then looked explosive and deadly against EMU. How will UGA rebound? How will Mizzou respond to its first true confidence booster since about November 2014?

S&P+ sees this game pretty simply. Preseason projections still account for about 75 percent of the ratings, and to say the least, Georgia was projected just a little bit higher in the preseason. It projects a 10-point or so UGA win, and honestly, that's what my gut is telling me, too. But if you watched either team play last weekend, you know that Mizzou could muddy the waters awfully quickly.

The Basics

Almost all of the data below (anything without a "+" by it) is unadjusted for opponent. Season averages for both teams are a little bit confusing since both looked so drastically different in their first two games, but honestly, maybe that makes averages the most meaningful possible thing to look at right now.

Category Georgia Missouri
S&P+ (Rk) 17 60
Category Georgia offense Missouri defense Missouri offense Georgia defense
Yards per play (Rk) 5.91 (49) 5.18 (84) 6.17 (37) 4.15 (26)
Yards per game (Rk) 419.5 (65) 477.0 (112) 574.0 (11) 253.0 (21)
Points per possession (Rk) 2.36 (71) 1.52 (49) 2.48 (61) 2.00 (74)
Category Georgia offense Missouri defense Missouri offense Georgia defense
S&P+ (Rk) 36.9 (37) 24.7 (30) 27.8 (70) 21.7 (12)
Five Factors
Category Georgia offense Missouri defense Missouri offense Georgia defense
EXPLOSIVENESS 1.29 (59) 1.21 (64) 1.45 (21) 1.16 (49)
EFFICIENCY 44.0% (59) 39.0% (62) 42.1% (69) 35.8% (46)
FIELD POSITION 30.3 (78) 23.7 (10) 27.0 (108) 31.3 (97)
FINISHING DRIVES 4.5 (80) 4.3 (51) 5.1 (53) 5.3 (100)
TURNOVER MARGIN EXPECTED:
Georgia 0.15 (62)
Missouri 1.84 (24)
ACTUAL
Georgia -1 (78)
Missouri 2 (26)

In terms of efficiency and explosiveness, Georgia's offense and Mizzou's defense are a perfect match. The Tigers have been creating good field position for their offense, but everything else is basically a wash. Both units have underachieved in their own way -- Georgia had one solid game and one awful one, while Mizzou has been okay ... but less than what we expected.

On the other side of the ball, Mizzou has an explosiveness advantage while Georgia's defense has been more efficient. That's probably not a surprise if you think back to Mizzou's two games -- a lot of missed bombs against WVU and a lot of bang-on-awesome bombs against EMU. Mizzou's going to take some shots. We'll see how many the Tigers land.

Offensive Footprint
Category (Rk) Georgia offense Missouri offense
Adj. Pace -4.2 (86) 16.4 (8)
Plays per game 71.0 (76) 93.0 (4)
Possessions per game 12.5 (73) 14.5 (21)
Std. Downs Run Rate 78.3% (8) 51.3% (95)
Pass. Downs Run Rate 33.3% (66) 34.2% (61)
% of solo tackles 64.9% (112) 85.4% (16)

Lots and lots of contrasts here. Mizzou moves quickly, throws a lot, and generates a lot of solo tackles. Georgia, meanwhile, plods along, runs a lot, and forces gang tackling.

Tempo is going to be a defining factor here. Mizzou really, really wants to push it as hard as possible. (Phrasing. Sorry.). But a fast tempo doesn't necessarily work well when you're all-or-nothing on offense. Either the Tigers are going to wear out the Georgia defense or wear out their own. And that's something we will probably be able to write in every single preview this year. (Let's be honest, though: It's nice to have an identity again. That was barely the case in 2014, and it was not even slightly the case in 2015.)

Defensive Footprint
Category (Rk) Georgia defense Missouri defense
Std. Downs Run Rate 55.1% (85) 67.1% (29)
Pass. Downs Run Rate 31.0% (75) 42.4% (24)
Overall Havoc Rate 15.0% (81) 17.0% (55)
Front 7 Havoc Rate 8.3% (80) 7.7% (95)
DB Havoc Rate 6.7% (55) 8.8% (21)
PD to INC 30.8% (64) 55.6% (2)

It's hard to glean too much run defensive run rates this early in the season -- it is very much dependent on who you've played. Regardless, it might say something that opponents have tried to attack Georgia through the air while they've gone after Mizzou on the ground.

When Georgia has the ball…

Standard Downs
Georgia Offense Missouri Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Edge
Standard Downs Success Rate 45.7% 80 44.7 66% Missouri
Standard Downs IsoPPP 1.06 83 0.97 61 Missouri
SD Line Yards per Carry 3.19 52 3.31 107 Georgia big
SD Sack Rate 15% 122 0% 92 Missouri

Watching pieces of the UGA-UNC game, I would never have thought Georgia would have these awful numbers after a game against Nicholls. It really has thrown me off the scent with this game. UGA will hand the ball to Nick Chubb frequently, but it hasn't generated nearly what you would think. And considering this...

...let's just say that says really bad things about Georgia's offensive line. It means he's facing contact very quickly after receiving the ball.

Passing Downs
Georgia Offense Missouri Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Edge
Passing Downs Success Rate 40.5% 24 24.2% 46 Georgia
Passing Downs IsoPPP 1.84 51 1.88 102 Georgia big
PD Line Yards per Carry 3.51 64 1.12 9 Missouri big
PD Sack Rate 7.1% 65 0% 100 Georgia

Here's where the game might be decided. The first test for Mizzou's defense will be proving that it can get more of a push with its defensive line than we've seen so far. The second will be getting Georgia off the field when the Dawgs fall behind schedule. Jacob Eason was 4-for-6 for 89 yards on passing downs against UNC and drew a couple of pass interference penalties with deep balls as well. Like Drew Lock, he's going to take shots downfield if he has the time.

When Missouri has the ball…

Standard Downs
Missouri Offense Georgia Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Edge
Standard Downs Success Rate 51.3% 43 43.6% 56 Missouri
Standard Downs IsoPPP 1.36 22 1.04 41 Missouri
SD Line Yards per Carry 3.20 50 2.76 68 Missouri
SD Sack Rate 0% 1 0% 92 Missouri big

UNC had a 50% success rate against Georgia on standard downs -- Mitch Trubisky was 13-for-23 for 101 yards (just 4.4 yards per pass) in said downs, but the run game worked pretty well. I said before the season that, based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent, it would behoove Mizzou greatly to have a good run game this year. Right now, it seems the passing game might be a step ahead. Regardless, figuring out how to stay ahead of the chains will be huge because Georgia's passing downs advantage is obvious.

Passing Downs
Missouri Offense Georgia Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Edge
Passing Downs Success Rate 23.7% 110 21.4% 32 Georgia big
Passing Downs IsoPPP 1.87 46 2.04 89 Missouri
PD Line Yards per Carry 3.12 83 3.74 94 Missouri
PD Sack Rate 0% 1 10.3% 41 Missouri

Yeah, a pretty big advantage there.

Here's something interesting, though: Trubisky was 11-for-17 for 55 yards on passing downs. I don't remember his six incompletions right offhand, but ESPN's Matt Stinchcomb said something interesting to Dave Matter earlier this week.

I’m not sure that Georgia had things wide open in that game. I feel relatively confident there will be a more expansive playbook available offensively. But there were some issues that carried over (from the first game). The secondary allowed receivers get behind them. That was something North Carolina did repeatedly without being able to capitalize. Nicholls the same way. That’s a concern. The defense played otherwise relatively well in both weeks.

Mizzou's going to take some shots deep, one way or the other. If guys get open deep, this game gets very, very interesting.

Individual Passing Stats
Team Player Ht, Wt Year Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Georgia Jacob Eason 6'5, 235 FR 19 32 335 2 1 59.4% 2 5.9% 9.6
Georgia Greyson Lambert 6'5, 234 SR 7 11 56 0 0 63.6% 3 21.4% 3.2
Missouri Drew Lock 6'4, 220 SO 47 88 730 6 0 53.4% 1 1.1% 8.1
Missouri Marvin Zanders 6'1, 200 SO 4 5 29 0 0 80.0% 0 0.0% 5.8

It really is probably time for Kirby Smart and Jim Chaney to just hand the reins to Eason. I understand the desire to ease him into high-pressure situations, but Lambert's best strength so far has been "handing to Chubb without fumbling." He hasn't thrown picks in two years, but Eason's only thrown one so far. I'm pretty sure his potential upside is worth the downside. Lambert offers very little.

Individual Rushing Stats
Team Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Opp.
Opp.
Rate
Georgia Nick Chubb TB 5'10, 228 JR 52 302 3 5.8 6.2 40.4%
Georgia Brian Herrien RB 6'0, 210 FR 15 106 1 7.1 5.2 53.3%
Georgia Isaiah McKenzie WR 5'8, 175 JR 4 37 0 9.3 7.5 50.0%
Georgia Brendan Douglas TB 5'11, 213 SR 4 28 0 7.0 2.5 75.0%
Missouri Ish Witter RB 5'10, 200 JR 23 93 1 4.0 2.7 30.4%
Missouri Alex Ross RB 6'1, 220 SR 20 72 0 3.6 1.6 25.0%
Missouri Damarea Crockett RB 5'11, 220 FR 14 72 1 5.1 4.0 42.9%
Missouri Drew Lock QB 6'4, 220 SO 10 39 0 3.9 2.6 40.0%
NOTE: Quarterback run totals above do not include sacks (which are counted toward pass averages below) or kneeldowns.

Opportunity Rate will be a stat to watch. If Mizzou's backs approach 40% while Georgia's are hovering around the same, the advantage might shift to the Tigers. But that's a lot to ask.

Individual Receiving Stats
Team Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/
Catch
Yds/
Target
Catch Rate
Georgia Isaiah McKenzie WR 5'8, 175 JR 8 8 183 2 22.9 22.9 100.0%
Georgia Michael Chigbu WR 6'2, 213 SO 8 5 47 0 9.4 5.9 62.5%
Georgia Terry Godwin WR 5'11, 185 SO 5 4 70 0 17.5 14.0 80.0%
Georgia Charlie Woerner TE 6'5, 251 FR 5 2 30 0 15.0 6.0 40.0%
Georgia Reggie Davis FL 6'0, 170 SR 4 2 20 0 10.0 5.0 50.0%
Georgia Isaac Nauta TE 6'4, 246 FR 3 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0%
Georgia Brendan Douglas TB 5'11, 213 SR 2 2 24 0 12.0 12.0 100.0%
Missouri J'Mon Moore WR 6'3, 205 JR 28 10 124 0 12.4 4.4 35.7%
Missouri Dimetrios Mason WR 6'0, 185 FR 11 6 58 0 9.7 5.3 54.5%
Missouri Johnathon Johnson WR 5'10, 185 FR 10 6 121 1 20.2 12.1 60.0%
Missouri Chris Black WR 6'0, 190 SR 7 6 102 1 17.0 14.6 85.7%
Missouri Emanuel Hall WR 6'3, 205 SO 7 5 98 1 19.6 14.0 71.4%
Missouri Kendall Blanton TE 6'6, 260 SO 6 4 31 1 7.8 5.2 66.7%
Missouri Ray Wingo WR 5'11, 185 SO 5 4 126 1 31.5 25.2 80.0%

Mizzou's got six guys targeted at least six times; Georgia has two. That says a lot about identity.

Individual Defensive Stats
Team Name Pos Ht, Wt Year Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Georgia Trenton Thompson DT 6'4, 309 SO 8.5 9.3% 3.5 1.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Roquan Smith LB 6'1, 225 SO 8.0 8.8% 2.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Natrez Patrick ILB 6'3, 238 SO 8.0 8.8% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Maurice Smith DB 6'0, 195 SR 7.5 8.2% 0.0 0.0 0 2 0 0
Georgia Aaron Davis CB 6'1, 189 JR 6.0 6.6% 1.0 1.0 0 0 1 0
Georgia Malkom Parrish CB 5'10, 185 JR 6.0 6.6% 0.0 0.0 0 2 0 0
Georgia Reggie Carter ILB 6'1, 230 JR 5.5 6.0% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Davin Bellamy OLB 6'5, 240 JR 4.5 4.9% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Lorenzo Carter OLB 6'6, 242 JR 4.5 4.9% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1
Georgia David Marshall OLB 6'3, 273 FR 4.0 4.4% 1.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Georgia D'Andre Walker LB 6'3, 223 SO 4.0 4.4% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle DT 6'4, 320 SO 4.0 4.4% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Georgia Dominick Sanders SS 6'0, 193 JR 3.5 3.8% 0.0 0.0 1 0 0 0
Missouri Michael Scherer LB 6'3, 235 SR 14.5 11.2% 1.5 0.0 0 2 0 0
Missouri Anthony Sherrils DB 6'0, 205 JR 13.0 10.0% 1.0 0.0 1 0 0 0
Missouri Thomas Wilson S 5'10, 195 JR 13.0 10.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Donavin Newsom LB 6'2, 240 SR 12.5 9.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Joey Burkett LB 6'2, 225 JR 8.5 6.5% 1.0 0.0 1 0 0 0
Missouri Aarion Penton DB 5'10, 195 SR 7.5 5.8% 0.0 0.0 2 3 0 0
Missouri Josh Augusta DL 6'4, 355 SR 7.0 5.4% 3.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Terez Hall LB 6'2, 225 SO 7.0 5.4% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Spencer Williams DL 6'3, 250 SO 7.0 5.4% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri John Gibson DB 6'0, 195 SR 6.5 5.0% 0.0 0.0 0 2 0 0
Missouri Terry Beckner, Jr. DL 6'4, 290 SO 4.5 3.5% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Charles Harris DE 6'3, 260 JR 4.0 3.1% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Missouri Rickey Hatley DL 6'4, 320 SR 4.0 3.1% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Note: It appears "Fumble Returns" are getting pulled instead of "Fumble Recoveries." My apologies. Will try to get that corrected.

Not a lot of havoc plays either way.

Individual Special Teams Stats
Team Punter Ht, Wt Year Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Georgia Marshall Long 6'2, 217 FR 7 42.4 0 2 2 57.1%
Missouri Corey Fatony 5'11, 205 SO 12 40.8 0 1 3 33.3%
Team Kicker Ht, Wt Year Kickoffs Avg TB TB% OOB Fair
Catches
Onside
Att
Onside
Success
Georgia Rodrigo Blankenship 6'1, 191 FR 9 63.7 4 44.4% 0 0 0 0
Georgia William Ham 6'3, 180 SO 3 60.3 0 0.0% 0 0 0 0
Missouri Tucker McCann 6'0, 195 FR 12 64.3 10 83.3% 0 0 0 0
Missouri Turner Adams 6'0, 205 JR 0 0.0 0 0.0% 0 0 1 1
Team Place-Kicker Ht, Wt Year PAT FG Pct
Georgia William Ham 6'3, 180 SO 6-6 3-5 60.0%
Missouri Tucker McCann 6'0, 195 FR 5-6 1-3 33.3%
Missouri Turner Adams 6'0, 205 JR 2-3 0-0 N/A
Team Kick Returner Ht, Wt Year Returns Avg. TD Fair Catch Fumbles (Lost)
Georgia Reggie Davis 6'0, 170 SR 3 19.3 0 0 0 (0)
Georgia Isaiah McKenzie 5'8, 175 JR 2 12.0 0 0 0 (0)
Missouri Damarea Crockett 5'11, 220 FR 4 19.8 0 0 0 (0)
Missouri Alex Ross 6'1, 220 SR 1 23.0 0 0 0 (0)
Team Punt Returner Ht, Wt Year Returns Avg. TD Fair Catch Fumbles (Lost)
Georgia Isaiah McKenzie 5'8, 175 JR 5 9.2 0 4 1 (1)
Missouri Johnathon Johnson 5'10, 185 FR 3 25.3 1 1 1 (1)
Missouri Chris Black 6'0, 190 SR 1 -1.0 0 0 0 (0)

Special teams is mostly a wash, though Georgia's probably got the advantage due to place-kicking (Georgia hasn't missed a PAT yet, among other things) and its punting being a little bit better. Mizzou's been better in returns so far, but Isaiah McKenzie's got a reputation -- just because he hasn't exploded yet doesn't mean an explosion isn't coming.

Summary

So what are the most important things to watch after this giant data dump?

1. Georgia's standard downs success rate (and/or Nick Chubb's opportunity rate). Chubb will probably break a big play or two, but how consistently is Mizzou able to leverage Georgia behind schedule? If the Dawgs are facing constant second-and-3s and second-and-4s, Mizzou is probably toast.

2. Mizzou's sack rate. It's time for #DLineZou to deliver some pressure. Jacob Eason hasn't mastered the art of the checkdown just yet, and he'll be looking to make some big plays on passing downs. It's up to Mizzou to make sure he doesn't have time to throw those passes, either through sacks or simply pressure.

3. Drew Lock going deep. Mizzou wants to stretch you from side to side and puncture you deep down the sideline. The Tigers completed two passes of 25-plus yards against WVU and five against EMU. It, uh, made a difference. How many does Drew Lock manage against the Dawgs?

4. Special teams. If you think back to a missed field goal and a fumbled punt, you could say that special teams made the difference in last year's slog in Athens. And it has shifted Mizzou's first two games in one direction or the other. Is it a wash on Saturday night? Do the special teams gods smile on one team or the other?

5. Havoc. Neither defense has been particularly disruptive so far. Are we still saying that on Sunday?


Stats via SportSource Analytics