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Cotton Bowl Study Hall: Michigan State 42, Baylor 41

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State 42, Baylor 41

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Baylor Michigan State Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 74 88
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 96.3%
Avg Starting FP 29.1 32.9 30.0
Possessions 13 14
Scoring Opportunities*
9 10
Points Per Opportunity 4.56 4.20 4.65
Leverage Rate** 64.4% 78.3% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.603 0.550 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?) Baylor Michigan State
Total 39.4 40.4
Rushing 2.1 20.2
Passing 37.3 20.2
Success Rate (what's this?) Baylor Michigan State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 48.0% 45.8% 41.8%
Rushing (close) 41.2% 46.5% 43.2%
Passing (close) 50.0% 45.0% 40.3%
Standard Downs 55.3% 47.7% 47.0%
Passing Downs 34.6% 38.9% 30.6%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Baylor Michigan State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.10 0.92 0.86
Rushing (close) 0.30 1.00 0.74
Passing (close) 1.30 0.83 0.99
Standard Downs 0.96 0.90 0.77
Passing Downs 1.49 0.98 1.13
Line Stats Baylor Michigan State Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 0.79 3.35 2.92
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 6.1% 0.0% 4.8%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 13.0% 6.7% 7.6%
Turnovers Baylor Michigan State
Turnovers 1 2
Turnover Points (what's this?) 2.5 12.3
Turnover Margin Baylor +1
Exp. TO Margin +0
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Baylor +1
TO Points Margin Baylor +9.8 points
Situational Baylor Michigan State
Q1 S&P 0.709 0.577
Q2 S&P 0.587 0.418
Q3 S&P 0.715 0.612
Q4 S&P 0.421 0.700
1st Down S&P 0.637 0.583
2nd Down S&P 0.670 0.454
3rd Down S&P 0.430 0.733
Projected Scoring Margin: Baylor by 8.8
Actual Scoring Margin: Michigan State by 1

Typically, when the projected (Baylor by 9) and actual scoring margins are so far apart, I look at two things for explanation: special teams and points per scoring opportunity. Special teams are easy enough to explain (the EqPts calculations don't really include them), and if you drive 98 yards, then turn the ball over at the 1, the EqPts calculations are giving you credit for those 98 yards and assuming you got a pretty good point total out of them.

Both teams were pretty close in terms of finishing drives, but not only did Baylor miss two field goals (which is accounted for in Points Per Opportunity), one was also blocked and returned into Baylor territory. Since State's own drive failures were accounted for in the projected total (because they were turnovers) and Baylor's weren't, there you go.

Or maybe it's as simple as State getting one more possession. Regardless, I'll stop thinking. This was a hell of a game.