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Study Hall: Tennessee 45, Cincinnati 23

The team I had to talk myself out of in the preseason has looked pretty good so far...

Tennessee 45, Cincinnati 23

Cincy Tennessee Cincy Tennessee
Close % 76.5% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 33.3% 57.9% Success Rate 40.5% 60.7%
Leverage % 70.0% 73.7% PPP 0.38 0.46
S&P 0.785 1.067
EqPts 23.6 35.7 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 40.5% 66.1% Success Rate 38.9% 55.0%
Close PPP 0.46 0.56 PPP 0.42 0.50
Close S&P 0.861 1.217 S&P 0.812 1.047
EqPts 10.1 8.1 Number 0 2
Close Success Rate 35.3% 60.0% Turnover Pts 0.0 9.7
Close PPP 0.55 0.34 Turnover Pts Margin +9.7 -9.7
Close S&P 0.898 0.938
Line Yards/carry 3.22 2.55 Q1 S&P 1.354 1.250
Q2 S&P 0.541 1.112
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.921 1.289
EqPts 13.4 27.6 Q4 S&P 0.512 0.378
Close Success Rate 44.0% 70.3%
Close PPP 0.40 0.70 1st Down S&P 0.836 0.984
Close S&P 0.835 1.405 2nd Down S&P 0.791 0.984
SD/PD Sack Rate 4.8% / 6.7% 0.0% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 0.841 1.440
Projected Pt. Margin: Tennessee +2.4 | Actual Pt. Margin: Tennessee +22

Five Thoughts

  1. Thanks to turnovers, this could have been a much different game. The Vols lost fumbles at the Cincy 28 and their own 22, but UT made the most of their other chances and seized control of the game in the second quarter regardless. (The projected margin was also closer than expected because the Vols completely took their collective foot off the gas in the fourth quarter.)

  2. Tennessee' pass attack was just clinical. Over two-thirds of their pass attempts were 'successful,' and they averaged over two-thirds of a point per pass. As I mentioned in today's The Numerical, Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter combined to catch 20 of the 24 passes thrown their way, gaining 256 yards in the process. If Florida's offense is at all shaky next week in Gainesville, the Vols might sprint right past them. Passing downs were no hindrance either -- the Vols posted almost exactly the same S&P on passing downs as on standard downs.

  3. One worry for the trip to Gainesville: the UT defensive line is shaky. They put together a decent pass rush, but the line allowed 3.22 Line Yards per carry, and Charlie Weis and his deep backfield might be able to do some damage.

  4. Cincinnati still has a nice, balanced offensive attack with quarterback Zach Collaros, 19th-year running back Isaiah Pead and receiver D.J. Woods, but a) the depth of options after wood is a bit weak and b) none of those three guys play defense. Depth potentially hurt the Bearcats on Saturday, as the offense faded as each half progressed.

  5. It's hard to win on the road when you're getting dominated in the field position battle, eh, Cincy?

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.