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Beyond the Box Score: Taking care of business

...and working in the 2s (and 3s!)

This will be quick because, frankly, there’s really not much to learn from games like this. The first-teamers put away SEMO within about three minutes of actual game time and the backups gave up some scores late. Yawn. Count the W, move on.

But I did want to revisit the checklist I put together for this game to see how they ended up doing. I’ll also share a few interesting nuggets because, yes, I was able to find some points of interest in this one-sided fist fight.

First up, the advanced box score:

Advanced Box Score

Look at Missouri’s yards per play and points per scoring opportunity; that’s how you tell someone you played an FCS team without actually saying you played an FCS team.

Also, SEMO’s rushing numbers - of course! - look super troubling but we’ll get into why that’s not a big deal later on. Hint: look at the success rates per quarter. That tells a lot.

So, here was Missouri’s offensive checklist. Bolded items were completed, italicized items were not.

  • Connor Bazelak connects on 3 passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air
  • Tyler Badie has 1 touchdown on the ground and through the air
  • Elijah Young breaks off a run of 25+ yards
  • Keke Chism and Tauskie Dove combine for 100 receiving yards and at least 1 touchdown
  • Dominic Lovett catches a pass thrown more than 20 yards in the air
  • Mookie Cooper takes a screen pass for 20+ yards
  • Daniel Parker, Jr. and Niko Hea combine for 50 receiving yards and at least 1 touchdown
  • Starting offensive line averages at least 3.0 line yards per carry, 45% success rate, 50% opportunity rate
  • Brady Cook, Tyler Macon, B.J. Harris, J.J. Hester, Messiah Swinson, and Ryan Hoerstkamp all see the field and contribute to the stat sheet
  • At least 14 points in the 1st quarter
  • No starters in the 2nd half

7 out of 12 ain’t bad. especially considering I was putting a lot of items on that wish list. In the end, we already knew what Chism, Dove, DPJ, and Hea could do so the fact they didn’t hit their goals isn’t super concerning for me. Cooper didn’t show his wheels on a screen pass but, a.) he is clearly not 100%, and b.) he burned some dudes anyway so I’m satisfied with what I saw.

Now, here’s the checklist for Missouri’s defense:

  • Trajan Jeffcoat logs 2 sacks
  • Kobie Whiteside and Akial Byers combine for at least 3 tackles for loss and 4 run stuffs
  • Blaze Alldredge and Devin Nicholson finish with at least 8 tackles and 4 Havoc plays each
  • A cornerback gets at least 1 interception
  • SEMO’s rushing success rate is under 40%
  • SEMO’s passing success rate is under 35%
  • Johnny Walker, Jr., Arden Walker, Travion Ford, Jamie Pettway, Dameon Wilson, Allie Green IV, Davion Sistrunk, Daylan Carnell, and the Tyler safeties (Jones and Hibbler) all see the field and contribute on the stat sheet
  • Shutout in the 1st half
  • No starters in the 2nd half

Not as many goals achieved here but I didn’t anticipate most of the defensive starters logging fewer than 30 snaps apiece. Given Drinkwitz’s comments during the week I would have figure the starters would have stayed out a little longer just to get some good plays under their belt. Instead, most of them played a few series and then hung out for the rest of the day. To be clear, I’m fine with that decision - we need every defender at 100% for this week - but it also meant that they starters didn’t get much of a chance to do anything of note.

I loved seeing the Walker defensive ends (Johnny and Arden) log a lot of snaps, as well as Chad Bailey and Jamie Pettway getting extended action. We also saw both 4-star freshman defenders, - Daylan Carnell and Travion Ford - in their first (and probably last) extended playing time, which was cool.

Extra Points

I talked about SEMO’s success rates earlier and why you should worry about them. Again, here’s the quarterly success rates for each team:

Success Rates by Quarter

Notice the definition of garbage time up there: most of this game was played in garbage time so a good chunk of what happened during this game won’t negatively affect Mizzou from an advanced statistical perspective.

Also, when Mizzou had their starting defense in the game, SEMO’s success rate was 25%. So, yes, the full game numbers are bad but when the actual good guys were on the field SEMO couldn’t do anything. As it should be.

I’ve mentioned before that the offensive line is wide and not deep: lots of guys to choose from but none that really distinguish themselves as super awesome. We might be able to say that about the receiving corps as well:

Receiving Numbers

Yes, this is against SEMO so there were some backups involved. But, still, this is about the most egalitarian passing attack you could scheme up. And other than Hester, Swinson, and Wilson, all of the guys on this list have been targeted in the two games before SEMO. So, while the passing attack might not have a go-to receiver, it certainly has plenty of options to fill in if someone is having an off day.

Conclusion

Other than Darius Robinson’s exit with an ankle injury, this game went almost exactly as you’d want it to go. The starters beat that ass, injuries were avoided, and while you’d like to not have given up four touchdowns in the second half, the backups and younger guys got some experience as well. As far as the starters were concerned, it was a 20-minute scrimmage in preparation for the trip to Boston College this week. We’ll see if any young guns made a big enough impression to earn playing time (since, at this point, I’m convinced the depth chart released to the media is a sham built on lies) next Saturday or if the starters are entrenched and the guys who are in for “ride-or-die” scenarios are already established. The best thing about playing an FCS foe, though, is that it still counts as a win. Four more to bowl eligibility!