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Michigan State 16, Iowa 13: A 45-minute slog, then 15 perfect minutes

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State 16, Iowa 13

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Iowa Michigan State Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 54 79
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 29.5 32.0 29.8
Possessions 11 11
Scoring Opportunities*
4 6
Points Per Opportunity 3.25 2.67 4.73
Leverage Rate** 64.8% 70.9% 68.2%
Close S&P*** 0.530 0.535 0.586
* 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?) Iowa Michigan State
Total 23.1 33.1
Rushing 6.6 17.0
Passing 16.5 16.1
Success Rate (what's this?) Iowa Michigan State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 27.8% 41.8% 41.6%
Rushing (close) 26.1% 50.0% 42.6%
Passing (close) 29.0% 31.4% 40.6%
Standard Downs 28.6% 46.4% 46.9%
Passing Downs 26.3% 30.4% 30.4%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Iowa Michigan State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.54 1.00 1.26
Rushing (close) 1.09 0.77 1.07
Passing (close) 1.84 1.46 1.48
Standard Downs 0.81 0.74 1.11
Passing Downs 2.99 1.96 1.77
Line Stats Iowa Michigan State Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.63 3.53 2.88
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 25.0% 5.3% 4.9%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 6.3% 7.5%
Turnovers Iowa Michigan State
Turnovers 3 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 11.4 5.3
Turnover Margin Michigan State +2
Exp. TO Margin Michigan State +1.38
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Michigan State +0.62
TO Points Margin Michigan State +6.1 points
Situational Iowa Michigan State
Q1 S&P 0.473 0.772
Q2 S&P 0.531 0.542
Q3 S&P 0.000 0.546
Q4 S&P 1.092 0.558
1st Down S&P 0.546 0.570
2nd Down S&P 0.416 0.488
3rd Down S&P 0.681 0.529
Projected Scoring Margin: Michigan State by 16.1
Actual Scoring Margin: Michigan State by 3

Before this was the game of the 22-Play Drive, it was one of missed opportunities. Michigan State created six scoring opportunities overall, which on average would have resulted in about 27-28 points. Instead, their first five chances resulted in three field goals and two missed field goals. Yuck.

Meanwhile, despite allowing more chances than it created, Iowa could have seized control of the game if not for turnovers, including one that took points off of the board (an INT at MSU's 5) and one that put points on the board for MSU (a fumble at the Iowa 27 that resulted in one of the made FGs). Take those plays away, and MSU maybe doesn't have time for a 22-play drive because the Spartans need to score twice.

For the game, MSU was the steadier team. The Spartans had perhaps their most efficient run performance of the year, with minimal big plays but a 50 percent success rate. Meanwhile, Iowa's only touchdown came on the 85-yard bomb to start the fourth quarter; otherwise the Hawkeyes were woefully inefficient.

Also inefficient: MSU's passing game. But in theory, at least part of that was due to Connor Cook's ongoing shoulder issues. (And yes, a lot was due to good defense.)

A 45-minute slog followed by perhaps the best single quarter of the season. Because of how our memories work, I'm all but certain to put this game near the top of the Top 100 Games of the Season list a month from now. That would blow the mind of anyone who fell asleep at the end of the third quarter.

Formations/Basics

Michigan St. Iowa
Backs-Wide % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
0 backs, 4 wide 3.6% 2.0
0 backs, 5 wide 3.6% 15.0 5.6% 3.7
1 back, 2 wide 19.3% 4.9 27.8% 8.2
1 back, 3 wide 27.7% 4.0 20.4% 2.7
1 back, 4 wide 4.8% 4.0 25.9% 5.0
2 backs, 0 wide 4.8% 1.3
2 backs, 1 wide 9.6% 3.8 3.7% 3.5
2 backs, 2 wide 19.3% 3.6 9.3% 4.8
2 backs, 3 wide 2.4% 9.5 7.4% 1.3
3 backs, 1 wide 4.8% 4.0
No Huddle? % of Plays Yds/Play
Michigan St. 4.8% 5.8
Iowa 3.7% -6.5
Michigan St. Iowa
Hash % of Plays Yds/Play % of Plays Yds/Play
Left 51.8% 4.1 25.9% 3.3
Middle 19.3% 4.8 22.2% 4.1
Right 28.9% 4.8 51.9% 6.3

Michigan State emptied the bag of tricks from a formations standpoint. While Iowa spent three-quarters of the time in a 1-back set, Sparty varied between 1-back (52%) and 2-back (41%). And nearly one in five plays came in the old-school two-back, two-wide, one-TE look.

Passing

Michigan St. Iowa
Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass Passing Comp Rt Yds/Pass
Behind Line 3-5, 15 yards 60.0% 3.0 5-6, 31 yards 83.3% 5.2
0 to 4 4-6, 30 yards 66.7% 5.0 7-8, 46 yards 87.5% 5.8
5 to 9 1-5, 11 yards 20.0% 2.2 4-9, 34 yards 44.4% 3.8
10 to 19 7-14, 113 yards 50.0% 8.1 1-2, 20 yards 50.0% 10.0
20 to 29 1-3, 22 yards 33.3% 7.3 0-0, 0 yards N/A N/A
30-plus 0-0, 0 yards N/A N/A 1-2, 85 yards 50.0% 42.5
Michigan St. Iowa
% Blitz: 28.6% 31.0%
Avg. Rushers 4.2 4.4
Passing (no blitz) 11-24, 142 yards, 1 sacks, 5.7 yds. per att. 12-18, 152 yards, 2 sacks, 7.6 yds. per att.
Passing (blitz) 5-9, 49 yards, 1 sacks, 4.9 yds. per att. 6-9, 64 yards, 0 sacks, 7.1 yds. per att.
Reason for INC/INT Michigan St. Iowa
QB Fault 10 3
Good Defense 7 4
WR Fault 0 1

Evidently Iowa should have taken more deep shots. The Hawkeyes were just 11-for-17 for 80 yards on passes thrown between zero and nine yards from the line. Meanwhile, Cook's struggles were most evident on the same short passes. The NFL prospect completed just five of 11 passes in that same range and misfired on two behind the line as well. His completion rate was actually better on passes between 10 and 19 yards downfield.

Rushing

Michigan St. Iowa
Rush-Yds YPC Rush-Yds YPC
To Edge 17-79 4.6 7-17 2.4
Toward Tackle 15-75 5.0 7-31 4.4
Up Middle 6-20 3.3 7-26 3.7

QB Activity

Michigan St. Iowa
QB Move Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds Rushes-Yds Passes-Yds Sacks-Yds
Rollout 2-21
Option - speed option 1-2


QB Sneak 1-0
Sack - in pocket 2-(-21)
Sack - QB fault 1-(-5)
Broken Play 1-1