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Study Hall: Ohio State 42, Oregon 20

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State 42, Oregon 20

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Ohio State Oregon Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 84 71
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 98.1%
Avg Starting FP 31.4 25.5 30.0
Possessions 13 14
Scoring Opportunities*
8 5
Points Per Opportunity 5.25 4.00 4.66
Leverage Rate** 75.0% 72.1% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.590 0.499 0.506
* 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?) Ohio State Oregon
Total 35.0 24.3
Rushing 24.5 6.7
Passing 10.5 17.6
Success Rate (what's this?) Ohio State Oregon Nat'l Avg
All (close) 54.8% 41.2% 41.8%
Rushing (close) 53.3% 38.7% 43.2%
Passing (close) 58.3% 43.2% 40.3%
Standard Downs 58.7% 49.0% 47.0%
Passing Downs 42.9% 21.1% 30.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Ohio State Oregon Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.76 0.85 0.86
Rushing (close) 0.76 0.56 0.74
Passing (close) 0.75 1.06 0.99
Standard Downs 0.60 0.78 0.77
Passing Downs 1.44 1.22 1.14
Line Stats Ohio State Oregon Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.46 3.60 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 5.6% 4.4% 4.8%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 7.1% 7.6%
Turnovers Ohio State Oregon
Turnovers 4 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 17.4 1.4
Turnover Margin Oregon +3
Exp. TO Margin Oregon +0.58
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Oregon +2.42
TO Points Margin Oregon +16.0 points
Situational Ohio State Oregon
Q1 S&P 0.577 0.576
Q2 S&P 0.559 0.453
Q3 S&P 0.649 0.836
Q4 S&P 0.597 0.311
1st Down S&P 0.559 0.585
2nd Down S&P 0.596 0.467
3rd Down S&P 0.638 0.417
Projected Scoring Margin: Oregon by 5.4
Actual Scoring Margin: Ohio State by 22

Five thoughts:

1. The projected margin was only 5.4? How? The equivalent point totals basically address how your offense sets the table. If you get stopped at your opponent's 1 and have to settle for field goals at your opponent's 6 and 9, you get all sorts of expected value points and only six actual points to show for it. Oregon was one of the best "finishing drives and preventing you from finishing yours" teams in the country this year, but the Ducks left points on the table in this game, and Ohio State's own blown opportunities (via turnover) weren't enough to offset six touchdowns.

Toss in some special teams advantages -- Ohio State netting eight more yards per punt (while punting three fewer times) and pinning Oregon at the 25, 17, 25, 25, 21, 10, and 10 after kickoffs -- and that accounts for a good portion of that missing margin.

2. Passing downs are play-maker downs. That's what I've always called thm, anyway. On standard downs, you execute the gameplan. On passing downs, you try to bail yourself out. At one point last night, Kirk Herbsreit said that Oregon's offense was crafted for efficiency, not third-and-long. Well, no offense is particularly geared for third-and-long ... at least no offense that doesn't feature Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, and Quan Cosby.

You need your play-makers to bail you out when you fall behind schedule, but in this game the advantage didn't fall to the team with the Heisman winner (who played perfectly fine). It fell to the team with the guy who started his first game barely a month ago. Cardale Jones made some big second- or third-and-long throws. Marcus Mariota did, too, but his guys didn't always catch them. And while Oregon and Ohio State were both above average in terms of standard downs success rates (the Buckeyes were WELL above average), Oregon was far below standard on passing downs, and Ohio State was far above. Not being able to catch back up to the chains resulted in Oregon managing only 71 snaps ... a total that would be like 45 for other teams.

3. Oregon had four passes of 20+ yards, including a 70-yard touchdown to Byron Marshall. But the Ducks' longest run of the game was 11 yards. Their successful runs barely made it past the success marker. Oregon maintained defensive discipline and tackled incredibly well. While the Oregon receiving corps was destroyed by injury (Bralon Addison, Pharoah Brown, Devon Allen) and suspension (Darren Carrington), the running game had its primary cogs. Those cogs just never got very far with the ball.

4. My heart was full watching so many people reference fumbles luck on Twitter last night. If a turnover is, on average, worth about five equivalent points of field position, Oregon's luck advantage of 2.42 turnovers was worth about 12 points. In a game the Ducks still lost by 22.

5. Always be closing. Drives, quarters, sets of downs. Ohio State did, and Oregon didn't. The game was even in a lot of ways, and the bouncing balls certainly went in favor of UO, but Ohio State was infinitely better at finishing drives, in the fourth quarter, and on third downs. That'll win you a title.