clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Was Wrong with Mizzou’s Running Game? Part 4 - The Offensive Line

Using numbers to attempt to explain what the heck happened to Mizzou’s 2022 rushing offense

Missouri v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

For Part 1 - Nathaniel Peat, click here.

For Part 2 - Cody Schrader, click here.

For Part 3 - Brady Cook, click here.

By now we all know that Eli Drinkwitz loves running the football. Probably too much, but he is what he is.

We also know that a pretty good ground game kept Missouri offenses alive in 2020 and 2021, when injured/limited quarterbacks struggled to move the ball through the air.

And, of course, we know the 2022 Missouri rushing offense was very bad.

When I’ve discussed Missouri’s bad ground game previously, it’s mostly been centered around “yes, both the offensive line and running backs deserve blame” but never really delved any further than that to explain it.

Today, I dive deeper to explain it.

Before we dive into the stats, here’s a refresher on what some of these stats mean:

  • Yards Per Carry (YPC): You should know this one. Take total yards, divide by total carries. Antiquated way of viewing the effectiveness of a rusher but a metric everyone understands.
  • Line Yards Per Carry (LYPC): An attempt to credit the offensive line with some of the rushing yards. If a run is hit in the backfield that’s the line’s fault and it gets weighted at 120%. The first four yards gained are credited 100% to the line. Yards 5-10 on a rush is credited to the line at 50%. And any yard over those first 10 yards gained on the ground is 100% credited to the running back. Take that total yards run, multiply it by the appropriate percentages, and divide by total carries.
  • Success Rate (SR): A common tool used to measure efficiency by determining whether every play of a given game was successful or not. The terms of success in college football: 50% of necessary yardage on first down, 70% on second down, and 100% on third and fourth down. Take the number of runs that were successful and divide it by the total carries. The national median rushing success rate in 2022 was 44.5%.
  • Opportunity Rate (OR): A metric to determine an offensive line’s ability to “do their job”. Take the number of runs that gain at least 4 yards and divide it by total rushes. The national median opportunity rate in 2022 was 48.2%.
  • Highlight Yards Per Opportunity (HYPO): A metric to determine a running back’s effectiveness of creating yardage for himself. Simply put, if an offensive line did its job and got the running back 4 yards, how far did the running back go after that (on average)?

Today, we look at the entire offensive line.

Missouri’s Offensive Line

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Georgia at Missouri
2022 Rushing Stats

Advanced Stat Breakdown

  • Rushing Success Rate: 41.5% (85th in the nation)
  • Offensive Line Penalties Per Game: 4.4 (113th)
  • Pressures Allowed: 1.8% (41st)
  • Blown Run Block %: 1.0% (90th)
  • Total Blown Block %: 1.4% (56th)
  • Opportunity Rate: 48.3% (63rd)
  • Power Success Rate: 59.5% (116th)
  • Stuff Rate: 17.4% (59th)
  • Line Yards Per Carry on Standard Downs: 2.3 (117th)
  • Line Yards Per Carry on Passing Downs: 3.5 (6th)

This piece is about running the ball but I wanted to include some passing stats as well to make a point.

The 2022 offensive line was a good pass-blocking team! They didn’t allow a ton of quarterback pressures and didn’t miss blocks in pass protection. That’s good!

However, Missouri ran it more than they passed it and the 2022 offensive line was a mixed bag when it came to run blocking. They were exactly average in getting running backs 4-yard holes and were ok at not letting the backs get stuffed at or behind the line.


They were one of the most penalized offensive lines in the country (113th), one of the worst at missing run-blocking assignments (90th), could not win in short-yardage situations (116th!), and ranked 117th in line yards gained on standard downs. They would dominate in run blocking in passing downs! Standard downs, though? Nope.

Louisiana Tech v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Best Game - Week 1 vs. Louisiana Tech

  • Defensive SP+ Ranking: 130th
  • Defensive Season Rushing Success Rate: 46.8%
  • Missouri’s Offensive Line: Foster - Delgado - Tollison - Wood - Powell
  • Raw Rushing Stats: 49 rushes, 330 yards, 6.7 ypc, 5 TD
  • Advanced Rushing Stats: 2.9 line yards per carry, 53.1% success rate, 61.2% opportunity rate, 6.3 highlight yards per opportunity

It was either the first game of the year or the Tennessee game for best offensive line performance of the year. I chose the game where the Tigers won (maybe opening the year with the worst defense on the schedule led to some false hopes, huh?).

Auburn’s rush defense was the worst rush defense that Mizzou faced in ‘22 but Louisiana Tech’s wasn’t far behind. And the Tigers took advantage by running it 49 times for one of two instances all year where they went over 200 yards on the ground, finishing with 330 and 5 touchdowns.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Missouri at Kansas State

Worst Game - Week 2 at Kansas State

  • Defensive SP+ Ranking: 24th
  • Defensive Rushing Success Rate: 42.6%
  • Missouri’s Offensive Line: Foster - Delgado - Tollison - Wood - Powell
  • Raw Rushing Stats: 34 rushes, 94 yards, 2.8 ypc, 1 TD
  • Advanced Rushing Stats: 1.5 line yards per carry, 40.0% success rate, 48.6% opportunity rate, 2.1 highlight yards per opportunity

You could really take your pick from a number of clunkers. In the end I chose Kansas State, mostly because K-State’s run defense ended up not being all that great and yet they held Mizzou to under 100 yards, the only team to do so in ‘22 (and, yes, I removed sack yardage and they still didn’t get to 100). The other insult to injury on this game was that most of Mizzou’s running stats were inflated by running on 3rd-and-longs to steal some extra yards before punting. Weak stuff, all around.

Number of Games the Offensive Line’s Rushing Success Rate Exceeded Opponent’s Defensive Rushing Success Rate

Three...Louisiana Tech (53.1%), Tennessee (44.1%), New Mexico State (51.4%)

Number of Games the Offensive Line’s Rushing Success Rate Exceeded National Median Rushing Success Rate of 44.5%

Three...Louisiana Tech (53.1%), South Carolina (52.6%), New Mexico State (51.4%)

Number of Games the Offensive Line’s Opportunity Rate Exceeded National Median Opportunity Rate of 48.2%

Eight...Louisiana Tech (61.2%), Kansas State (48.6%), Auburn (52.9%), Vanderbilt (48.6%), South Carolina (55.3%), Tennessee (58.8%), New Mexico State (48.6%), Arkansas (48.6%)


In 2022, Missouri’s defense was so good they could keep even a competent offense in any game. However, Missouri’s offense was only competent if they could run the ball on opponents. To wit:

  • Missouri’s record when rushing success rate exceeded opponent’s season average: 3-1
  • Missouri’s record when rushing success rate was below opponent’s season average: 2-6

Football is a complicated sport but sometimes the keys to success are surprisingly easy. An Eli Drinkwitz offense runs to win and they had a tough time running against most of their schedule and, subsequently, lost seven games. They could win a few if they were even close but it limited the offense’s capabilities and made games much closer and more difficult. I don’t know if this curse will continue under Kirby Moore’s coordinating tenure but it would seem important that a.) Missouri can field a healthy offensive line and b.) learn how to counter-punch and create an effective passing game.