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Missouri's tempo was the fastest in the nation in Week 1

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Either that begins to bear fruit, or the Mizzou defense wears down. Or both.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia 26, Missouri 11

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Missouri West Virginia Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 100 85
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 77.8%
Avg Starting FP 29.4 24.8 30.1
Possessions 16 15
Scoring Opportunities*
6 6
Points Per Opportunity 1.67 4.33 4.77
Leverage Rate** 57.1% 73.0% 67.4%
Close S&P*** 0.512 0.593 0.581
* 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)
Success Rate (what's this?) Missouri West Virginia Nat'l Avg
All (close) 27.1% 43.2% 41.4%
Rushing (close) 24.1% 44.2% 41.6%
Passing (close) 29.3% 41.9% 41.1%
Standard Downs 35.0% 50.0% 47.0%
Passing Downs 16.7% 25.0% 29.7%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Missouri West Virginia Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.47 1.23 1.25
Rushing (close) 1.27 1.05 1.06
Passing (close) 1.59 1.51 1.46
Standard Downs 1.22 1.05 1.12
Passing Downs 2.18 2.25 1.69
Line Stats Missouri West Virginia Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.99 3.07 2.76
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 4.5%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 0.0% 8.5%
Turnovers Missouri West Virginia
Turnovers 1 3
Turnover Points (what's this?) 4.5 8.1
Turnover Margin Missouri +2
Exp. TO Margin West Virginia +0.66
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Missouri +2.66
TO Points Margin Missouri +3.7 points
Situational Missouri West Virginia
Q1 S&P 0.432 0.635
Q2 S&P 0.607 0.487
Q3 S&P 0.367 0.664
Q4 S&P 0.571 0.600
1st Down S&P 0.523 0.601
2nd Down S&P 0.523 0.611
3rd Down S&P 0.460 0.646
Projected Scoring Margin: West Virginia by 2.1
Actual Scoring Margin: West Virginia by 15

Missed opportunities

I kind of already stole this post's thunder with something I wrote earlier this week.

Obviously, order of success matters. That West Virginia scored 26 of the first 29 points meant that headline writers had the opportunity to use words like "pummels" in their game summary headlines. But lost in that deficit is this: In terms of scoring opportunities (first downs inside the opponent's 40), WVU created six ... and Mizzou created six. The team that finished drives, won.

  • Q1 Opportunities: WVU 2, MU 0
    Q1 Points: WVU 10, MU 0
  • Q2 Opportunities: MU 3, WVU 1
    Q2 Points: MU 3, WVU 3
  • Q3 Opportunities: WVU 2, MU 0
    Q3 Points: WVU 10, MU 0
  • Q4 Opportunities: MU 3, WVU 1
    Q4 Points: MU 8, WVU 3
  • Total Opportunities: WVU 6, MU 6
    Points Per Opportunity: WVU 4.3, MU 1.8

If each team scored touchdowns on each opportunity, you'd have basically been looking at a game that was 14-0 WVU after one quarter, 21-21 after two, 35-21 WVU after three, and 42-42 after four. But while WVU left 16 points on the board, Mizzou left an incredible 35. Six opportunities produced three field goal attempts (two missed), a fumble, a touchdown, and a turnover on downs.

Mizzou had one of the worst drive-finishing offenses in the country last year, and while we saw plenty of potential overall (to the point where I think we can safely say the Tigers will grade out quite a bit better, top to bottom), they were every bit as awful at finishing drives with the ball in the end zone. If Mizzou wants to bowl, that must change. In fact, it's probably the single most important thing that has to change.

And Barry Odom quite obviously concurs.

"Finishing, that’s the game of football," Missouri sophomore left guard Kevin Pendleton said. "You’ve got to finish, whether it’s the fourth quarter or you get down within 25 yards. That’s the red zone, and some of the most important times of the game."

"It’s too hard to get down there and come away with nothing," MU first-year coach Barry Odom said. "That’s one area we’ll spend a lot of time addressing."

The Mountaineers only outgained the Tigers 494-462, but the scoreboard showed a more lopsided contest.

Now, this game wasn't just about finishing drives. West Virginia's efficiency resulted in the Mountaineers generating more un-aided scoring opportunities, but Mizzou recovered a fumble inside the WVU 10 and recovered an onside kick, allowing the Tigers to finish with the same number of scoring chances ... and 15 fewer points.

Efficiency: problematic

It's really difficult to pull off 100 snaps with a success rate under 30% -- usually, a success rate under 30% means you're punting too quickly to get a lot of snaps in. (Remarkably, Mizzou's success rate was far below the national average in basically every category. Consistency!) But WVU was moving the ball pretty quickly itself, and the onside kick at the end gave Mizzou more chances. Regardless, the tempo was high. Really, really high. "Fastest in the country" high.

Adjusted Tempo* after Week 1
1. Missouri (+29.1 snaps)
2. Texas Tech (+28.8)
3. Texas State (+27.4)
4. Ohio (+24.8)
5. Southern Miss (+24.3)
6. Ohio State (+22.6)
7. Florida State (+22.2)
8. MTSU (+22.2)
9. Colorado (+20.4)
10. UCF (+19.7)

Adjusted tempo uses run-pass rates to determine an expected number of snaps per game, then compares expected snaps to actual.

The tempo means one of two things for this season: Either the offensive identity will begin to bear fruit, or the defense is going to wear out. Or both, I guess. And I guess the third option is "Mizzou won't maintain this tempo."

Actually one more note about tempo: WVU's 85 snaps messed with how we viewed Mizzou's defensive play, too. Our standards are high, but 85 snaps means a lot of opportunities for big plays ... and we tend to remember the big plays over the nothing plays. WVU basically ended up with national-average efficiency and explosiveness. That's not good when your offense is struggling to convert chances into points, but it's also not terrible, especially if it turns out that WVU's offense is pretty good. (We don't know that for sure, obviously, but I was impressed.) I cannot tell you that Missouri's defense will be fine, but I do recommend waiting to see what the coming games tell us.

Targets and catches

  • J'Mon Moore: 23 targets, 8 catches (35%), 104 yards (4.5 per target)
  • Chris Black: 7 targets, 6 catches (86%), 102 yards (14.6 per target)
  • Sean Culkin: 4 targets, 2 catches (50%), 27 yards (6.8 per target)
  • Everybody else: 20 targets, 8 catches (40%), 49 yards (2.5 per target)

Success rate for Black & Culkin: 73%. For everybody else: 24%. Guh.

***

The mission for the EMU game: discover efficiency.