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Study Hall: Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern 43, Notre Dame 40

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Northwestern Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 96 80
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 32.1 39.9 29.9
Possessions 17 16
Scoring Opportunities*
11 11
Points Per Opportunity 3.64 3.18 4.67
Leverage Rate** 72.9% 66.3% 68.2%
Close S&P*** 0.509 0.545 0.505
* 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?) Northwestern Notre Dame
Total 33.4 34.1
Rushing 19.1 14.0
Passing 14.2 20.1
Success Rate (what's this?) Northwestern Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
All (close) 43.8% 43.8% 41.8%
Rushing (close) 41.3% 45.0% 43.4%
Passing (close) 46.0% 42.5% 40.2%
Standard Downs 48.6% 47.2% 47.1%
Passing Downs 30.8% 37.0% 30.5%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Northwestern Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.79 0.97 0.85
Rushing (close) 1.01 0.78 0.74
Passing (close) 0.62 1.18 0.98
Standard Downs 0.70 0.90 0.77
Passing Downs 1.20 1.16 1.14
Line Stats Northwestern Notre Dame Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.08 2.83 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 3.0% 0.0% 4.7%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 5.9% 0.0% 7.5%
Turnovers Northwestern Notre Dame
Turnovers 4 4
Turnover Points (what's this?) 27.0 27.7
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin Notre Dame +0.81
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Northwestern +0.81
TO Points Margin Northwestern +0.7 points
Situational Northwestern Notre Dame
Q1 S&P 0.550 0.750
Q2 S&P 0.599 0.532
Q3 S&P 0.375 0.533
Q4 S&P 0.578 0.494
1st Down S&P 0.557 0.577
2nd Down S&P 0.445 0.487
3rd Down S&P 0.516 0.563
Projected Scoring Margin: Northwestern by 0.0
Actual Scoring Margin: Northwestern by 3

Well THIS game certainly had some twists and turns. Every time I checked in on it on Saturday, the vibe had completely changed. Notre Dame went up 20-9 (thanks in part to a fumble return), and NU scored two quick touchdowns (thanks in part to an interception return) to take the lead. Notre Dame moved back ahead by eight and had the dagger in hand but fumbled into the Northwestern end zone. Given new life, NU immediately threw an interception and went back down 11, then had a field goal blocked with under nine minutes left.

And then Northwestern won anyway ... thanks in part to another late turnover.

This was one of many games defined and redefined by a glut of turnovers, but Northwestern was able to overcome field position disadvantages and smaller big plays by blowing fewer opportunities to score. I haven't decided whether this was one of the best or worst games of the year, but ... it was a game, and Northwestern won it.