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Sugar Bowl Study Hall: Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

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Basics Alabama Ohio State Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 70 78
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 32.8 18.2 30.0
Possessions 16 14
Scoring Opportunities*
6 6
Points Per Opportunity 5.83 5.67 4.65
Leverage Rate** 84.3% 65.4% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.565 0.527 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?) Alabama Ohio State
Total 27.7 32.4
Rushing 13.7 15.1
Passing 14.1 17.4
Success Rate (what's this?) Alabama Ohio State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 51.4% 39.7% 41.8%
Rushing (close) 67.7% 46.2% 43.2%
Passing (close) 38.5% 33.3% 40.3%
Standard Downs 55.9% 41.2% 47.0%
Passing Downs 27.3% 37.0% 30.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Alabama Ohio State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 0.77 1.05 0.86
Rushing (close) 0.65 0.84 0.74
Passing (close) 0.94 1.34 0.99
Standard Downs 0.73 0.62 0.77
Passing Downs 1.16 1.94 1.13
Line Stats Alabama Ohio State Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.80 2.56 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 6.7% 9.1% 4.8%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 11.1% 5.9% 7.6%
Turnovers Alabama Ohio State
Turnovers 3 2
Turnover Points (what's this?) 14.5 10.4
Turnover Margin Ohio State +1
Exp. TO Margin Alabama +1.46
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Ohio State +2.46
TO Points Margin Ohio State +4.0 points
Situational Alabama Ohio State
Q1 S&P 0.724 0.473
Q2 S&P 0.460 0.585
Q3 S&P 0.581 0.602
Q4 S&P 0.496 0.535
1st Down S&P 0.657 0.452
2nd Down S&P 0.568 0.487
3rd Down S&P 0.239 0.711
Projected Scoring Margin: Ohio State by 8.7
Actual Scoring Margin: Ohio State by 7

I would put the odds of Alabama losing a game in which it holds a drastic, 14.6-yard field position advantage at like 1%, maybe 2% if the Tide are playing the Seattle Seahawks. Throw in a pretty significant efficiency advantage as well, and I'd probably cut that in half.

So how did Ohio State actually win? Big plays and third downs, mostly. Alabama had four gains of 20+ yards, and the Buckeyes had eight. And while Bama had plenty of success on standard downs/first downs, third downs and passing downs skewed significantly in Ohio State's favor. That eventually resulted in some quick possessions and a couple of awful interceptions. That'll do it.