Isn’t it odd that, even in a totally dominant victory, this team is super boring to watch? Whether that’s be talent or design the offense is just a series mundane plays (outside of Luther Burden touches) and, on defense, if the havoc isn’t hitting then it’s just sound, competent defense and tackling.
Now, there are certainly worse options out there (like last year’s defense) so you won’t find me complaining too much. But while the ‘07 and ‘08 teams were high-flying offenses and the ‘13 and ‘14 teams were elite defenses with explosive-reliant offenses, this team is usually exciting defense coupled with a bland (and mostly bad) offense. Even when putting up 45 points there were only a handful of plays that were exciting or fun.
Anyway, here’s the advanced box score:
You don’t need numbers to tell you that Missouri dominated every aspect of that game but...well, that’s what the numbers say. I know there are some who will claim that these games are the worst because the only notable things that could happen are bad. I say...30+ point wins are good and my favorite team should play in games like that more often.
When Missouri Has the Ball
Missouri had a season-high level of dudes getting involved on offense, including at quarterback, skill position, and offensive line spots. I certainly don’t want to be the impetus for pushing anyone out, but if your favorite offensive player didn’t see the field in this game or against Abilene Christian, there’s a good chance they’ll be looking to transfer once the portal opens up on December 5th.
Ground and Pound
My goal was for Missouri to take advantage of a weak defensive front and achieve a 45% success rate on the ground. Mizzou finished with a 51.4% rushing success rate, third-best of the year behind the 53.1% against Louisiana Tech and 52.6% against South Carolina.
Keep Up With the Chains
Missouri has struggled in 3rd-down scenarios so I hoped to see an at least a 41% overall success rate. True to form the Tigers finished the day with a cumulative 54.4% success rate.
Finish your dang drives
It only took playing New Mexico State for Missouri to finally finish with both 1.) more than 5 scoring opportunities, and 2.) more than 4.5 points per scoring opportunity. Saturday’s efforts netted 7 scoring opportunities generated with a whopping 6.4 points per opportunity. Whew, is it hot in here? Is it me? I’m sweating.
When New Mexico State Has the Ball
Outside of a handful of plays the defense was sound but unspectacular. The two picks by Carnell and Williams were fun but, for the most part, it was just competent defense against a clearly overmatched offense. To repeat what was stated above: if your favorite defender was unable to see the field in this game or against Abilene Christian, in my book, they’re an obvious transfer candidate.
Limit the Explosive Plays
All year NMSU had been overly reliant on explosive plays to move the ball so the goal was to have less than 5 explosive plays allowed on the day. The Tiger defense ended up allowing seven explosive plays - three through the air, four on the ground - for a combined 113 yards, or 44% of their total yards on the day.
Winner: New Mexico State
Missouri needs them to win and New Mexico State was terrible at allowing them so the goal was to finish at least +2 in turnover margin. Mizzou was on track to do so until a late Tavorous Jones fumble so, while +1 didn’t hit the mark, it was certainly enough for this game.
Winner: New Mexico State
The Little Things
Again, every standard stat, advanced metric, and “hidden yardage” indicator were squarely in the Mizzou camp and it wasn’t even close.
Six penalties for 40 yards isn’t great but certainly not as bad as it has been. And kudos to the starting offensive line which hasn’t been called for a penalty of any sort for two straight weeks. I’m sure that streak will come crashing down now that I’ve said it out loud, but it’s worth commending a group that had a bunch of issues at the beginning of the year.
- With Mizzou’s full complement of starting defenders in the game, NMSU didn’t have much of a chance at moving the ball. The Aggies saw some success as the game went on and Mizzou starters began getting injured and backups started rotating in which...is fine, certainly not a huge cause of concern. But this is another one of Mizzou’s best offensive games, following a solid (but fruitless) effort against Tennessee last week. I think we should all prepare ourselves for an announcement of Bush Hamdan as permanent play-caller/offensive coordinator in the near future as this was the second consecutive game that our esteemed quarterbacks coach has had primary say in play calling responsibilities.
- Missouri averaged 49 yards per drive. Yes: the Tiger offense average half of a football field of distance per drive, and their average starting field position was their own 32-yard line. You don’t need to tilt the field that hard when you’re moving 50 yards every time you have the ball. They should just do that every game, IMO.
- Missouri faced 14 3rd-down situations. They called a pass play on ten of those 3rd-downs (one which turned into a 19-yard scramble), converting seven and accumulating 94 yards; conversely, they called a run play on four of those 3rd-downs, converting two and accumulating 8 yards.
- Finally, Mizzou faced 22 passing down scenarios. They called 13 passes and 9 runs on those 22 plays and gained 189 total yards for those plays. Those 22 plays wound up with 14 successful plays: 11 through the air, 3 on the ground. I still stand by the concept that the best way to protect your quarterback is to throw on standard downs and run on passing downs but this staff insists on being obvious in their call tendencies, going to the ground on 1st- and 2nd-down and throwing it on 3rd-down. But, hey, I’m not a football coach.
The starters got a chance to feel good and the backups saw some time. Let’s hope all the injury exits were due to an overly-abundant use of caution and that everyone is ready to take on OUR MOST HATED RIVAL and get to legitimate bow eligibility on Friday.