Study Hall: Kansas State 28, Miami 24

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes falls short of the goal line during a fourth quarter drive against the Kansas State University Wildcats September 24, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. KSU won 28 - 24. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I officially have no idea what to think about either one of these teams.

Kansas State 28, Miami 24

KSU Miami KSU Miami
Close % 100.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 41.9% 41.4% Success Rate 51.2% 48.8%
Leverage % 66.1% 70.7% PPP 0.45 0.44
S&P 0.966 0.927
TOTAL
EqPts 26.3 24.3 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 45.2% 44.8% Success Rate 33.3% 35.3%
Close PPP 0.42 0.42 PPP 0.37 0.37
Close S&P 0.876 0.866 S&P 0.701 0.722
RUSHING TURNOVERS
EqPts 17.6 8.6 Number 0 1
Close Success Rate 47.5% 37.0% Turnover Pts 0.0 4.3
Close PPP 0.44 0.32 Turnover Pts Margin +4.3 -4.3
Close S&P 0.915 0.691
Line Yards/carry 3.46 2.76 Q1 S&P 1.126 0.815
Q2 S&P 0.692 0.468
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.881 2.021
EqPts 8.7 15.6 Q4 S&P 0.864 0.692
Close Success Rate 40.9% 51.6%
Close PPP 0.40 0.50 1st Down S&P 0.819 0.812
Close S&P 0.806 1.020 2nd Down S&P 0.581 1.041
SD/PD Sack Rate 15.4%/22.2% 0.0% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 1.374 0.729
Projected Pt. Margin: Kansas State +6.4 | Actual Pt. Margin: Kansas State +4

Five Thoughts

  1. This game was incredibly even. The teams produced nearly identical S&P ratings in the Total, Standard Downs and Passing Downs categories. It fits, then, that the game was decided by basically a yard in KSU's game-winning goalline stand. Looking at recent results -- Kansas State nearly lost to Eastern Kentucky, Miami whipped Ohio State -- you wouldn't have expected that ... but you'd have been wrong.

  2. The most encouraging aspect of this game for Kansas State: the run blocking. KSU has struggled to create the same sort of big, strong, exhausting running game in Bill Snyder's second tenure in Manhattan, but if their line can consistently generate that sort of push, they'll get somewhere. They had Daniel Thomas last year, but he was basically a one-man show. You want the five men up front to help out a little more than KSU's line has recently. (Of course, you also need the line to occasionally protect the quarterback, so ... KSU went 1-for-2 in that regard.)

  3. Good blocking and good running led to an old-school KSU stat line: the quarterback (Collin Klein) rushed for 120 yards (pre-sacks) and the tailback (John Hubert) rushed for 166. KSU's passing game certainly wasn't terrible, but I don't like that the Wildcats have nothing even slightly resembling a go-to receiver. I guess it's Chris Harper, but...

  4. Jacory Harris did a nice job of avoiding killer mistakes in this one -- he was 21-for-31 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and just one pick. Miami's passing game was quite effective overall, but they needed the run game to generate one more yard.

  5. I cannot decide if KSU is for real or not, but I won't have to wait long for my answer: Robert Griffin III and Baylor come to town in four days. Can't wait for that one.

Quick glossary after the jump.

A Quick Glossary

F/+ Rankings: The official rankings for the college portion of Football Outsiders. They combine my own S&P+ rankings (based on play-by-play data) with Brian Fremeau's drives-based FEI rankings.

Passing Downs: Second-and-7 or more, third-and-5 or more.

PPP: An explosiveness measure derived from determining the point value of every yard line (based on the expected number of points an offense could expect to score from that yard line) and, therefore, every play of a given game.

S&P+: Think of this as an OPS (the "On-Base Plus Slugging" baseball measure) for football. The 'S' stands for success rates, a common Football Outsiders efficiency measure that basically serves as on-base percentage. The 'P' stands for PPP+, an explosiveness measure that stands for EqPts Per Play. The "+" means it has been adjusted for the level of opponent, obviously a key to any good measure in college football. S&P+ is measured for all non-garbage time plays in a given college football game. Plays are counted within the following criteria: when the score is within 28 points in the first quarter, within 24 points in the second quarter, within 21 points in the third quarter, and within 16 points (i.e. two possession) in the fourth quarter. For more about this measure, visit the main S&P+ page at Football Outsiders.

Standard Downs: First downs, second-and-6 or less, third-and-4 or less.

Success Rate: A common Football Outsiders 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 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.

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