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Study Hall: Minnesota 24, Northwestern 17

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota 24, Northwestern 17

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Minnesota Northwestern Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 54 84
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 30.0 21.8 29.8
Possessions 10 11
Scoring Opportunities*
4 4
Points Per Opportunity 4.25 4.25 4.70
Leverage Rate** 68.5% 67.9% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.460 0.454 0.507
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) Minnesota Northwestern
Total 15.6 20.0
Rushing 8.8 7.5
Passing 6.8 12.5
Success Rate (what's this?) Minnesota Northwestern Nat'l Avg
All (close) 38.9% 42.9% 42.0%
Rushing (close) 36.8% 50.0% 43.4%
Passing (close) 43.8% 38.5% 40.6%
Standard Downs 40.5% 45.6% 47.3%
Passing Downs 35.3% 37.0% 30.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Minnesota Northwestern Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.74 0.55 0.85
Rushing (close) 0.63 0.47 0.73
Passing (close) 0.97 0.62 0.99
Standard Downs 0.68 0.51 0.77
Passing Downs 0.91 0.67 1.14
Line Stats Minnesota Northwestern Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.51 3.32 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 14.3% 3.2% 4.7%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 4.8% 7.3%
Turnovers Minnesota Northwestern
Turnovers 1 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 2.4 1.4
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin Minnesota +2.12
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Northwestern +2.12
TO Points Margin Northwestern +0.9 points
Situational Minnesota Northwestern
Q1 S&P 0.604 0.518
Q2 S&P 0.565 0.516
Q3 S&P 0.363 0.261
Q4 S&P 0.341 0.453
1st Down S&P 0.416 0.472
2nd Down S&P 0.480 0.427
3rd Down S&P 0.517 0.433
Projected Scoring Margin: Northwestern by 5.3
Actual Scoring Margin: Minnesota by 7

So if you add in Jalen Myrick's 100-yard kick return touchdown with 7:19 left -- right after Northwestern tied the game -- the projected score skews slightly in Minnesota's favor. The Wildcats benefited from some turnovers luck (they recovered both of the game's fumbles and picked off their only defensed pass while Minnesota had one INT to six PBUs), so there was some justice in the end result.

My main question, perhaps for Northwestern fan reading this: Why was Trevor Siemian throwing 50 passes? Northwestern had no hope of big plays in the run game, but the Wildcats were staying wonderfully efficient handing to Justin Jackson 23 times for 106 yards. But despite the lack of a big deficit, Northwestern was throwing the ball like it was down 17 points. (Okay, I realize the best answer is simply "Northwestern is a pass-first team, and the pass is just an extension of the run anyway." Just humor me.)

(And no, Northwestern is probably not the B1G West favorite anymore. Will run the win probabilities tomorrow.)