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Study Hall: New Mexico State 28, Minnesota 21

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This was perhaps my biggest "How the hell did this happen?" result of Week Two. I know Jerry Kill has a lot of work to do in the Twin Cities, but I never once thought they might lose this game. They did.

New Mexico State 28, Minnesota 21

Minnesota NMSU Minnesota NMSU
Close % 100.0% STANDARD DOWNS
Field Position % 50.0% 35.3% Success Rate 47.4% 42.9%
Leverage % 77.0% 72.1% PPP 0.36 0.42
S&P 0.836 0.847
EqPts 23.6 23.7 PASSING DOWNS
Close Success Rate 41.9% 42.7% Success Rate 23.5% 42.1%
Close PPP 0.32 0.35 PPP 0.17 0.17
Close S&P 0.738 0.775 S&P 0.410 0.590
EqPts 10.2 6.5 Number 2 2
Close Success Rate 44.1% 32.4% Turnover Pts 9.4 8.0
Close PPP 0.30 0.18 Turnover Pts Margin -1.4 +1.4
Close S&P 0.742 0.501
Line Yards/carry 3.46 2.49 Q1 S&P 0.907 1.031
Q2 S&P 0.623 1.084
PASSING Q3 S&P 0.552 0.624
EqPts 13.4 17.2 Q4 S&P 0.803 0.362
Close Success Rate 40.0% 54.8%
Close PPP 0.33 0.55 1st Down S&P 0.802 0.801
Close S&P 0.734 1.103 2nd Down S&P 0.928 0.964
SD/PD Sack Rate 3.7% / 0.0% 0.0% / 0.0% 3rd Down S&P 0.203 0.365
Projected Pt. Margin: New Mexico State +1.5 | Actual Pt. Margin: New Mexico State +7

Five Thoughts

  1. Never, ever, ever underestimate the impact of a strong start, especially as it pertains to an upset bid. A strong start won't win you the game, but a slow one could lose it. In NMSU's first five possessions, they ran 24 plays for 235 yards and scored three touchdowns. Andrew Manley found Taveon Rogers for touchdowns of 26 and 41 yards, and shockingly, the Aggies were up 21-7. From then on, the offense virtually disappeared. But they had built the cushion that most upset bids need.

  2. Look at those third-down S&P numbers. The play-calling seemed to be alright as a whole, but when it came time for offensive players to make big plays, nobody seemed to have the confidence to do so. The teams combined to go 6-for-24 on third-down conversions. NMSU was a hair more efficient on third downs and passing downs, and that paid off ever so slightly.

  3. Minnesota's offensive line did its job, opening up nearly three and a half yards of holes per rush and allowing just one sack in 40 pass attempts. As a whole, the Gophers held the rushing advantage. Unfortunately...

  4. ...NMSU very much held the passing advantage. Minnesota quarterbacks Marqueis Gray and, for a brief time, freshman Max Shortell, produced average numbers versus a below-average pass defense, and the Gophers were unable to do anything on passing downs. Meanwhile, Manley connected with both Rogers, Todd Lee and freshman Austin Franklin a combined 11 times for 193 yards. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin has pressed the right buttons so far. Lee and Rogers are both averaging over 20 yards per reception, and Manley has already thrown over half as many touchdown passes as NMSU quarterbacks did for all of 2010.

  5. Minnesota was able to stay on schedule and in standard downs, they ran the ball well, and their offense was solid in the first and last quarters. But they just were not able to overcome the early deficit. This makes for a pretty boring "Anatomy of an Upset" post, but ... it appears NMSU won because they were better.