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Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17: Big plays won the day, but Aggies will need efficiency too

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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M 38, Arizona State 17

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Arizona State Texas A&M Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 82 80
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 95.1%
Avg Starting FP 29.8 30.6 29.6
Possessions 17 17
Scoring Opportunities*
5 7
Points Per Opportunity 3.40 4.43 4.96
Leverage Rate** 64.0% 68.4% 68.3%
Close S&P*** 0.446 0.555 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?) Arizona State Texas A&M
Total 26.4 37.9
Rushing 11.1 17.3
Passing 15.3 20.7
Success Rate (what's this?) Arizona State Texas A&M Nat'l Avg
All (close) 30.7% 35.4% 41.3%
Rushing (close) 43.8% 36.6% 42.9%
Passing (close) 20.9% 34.2% 39.6%
Standard Downs 37.5% 33.3% 46.8%
Passing Downs 18.5% 40.0% 29.5%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Arizona State Texas A&M Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.00 1.36 1.28
Rushing (close) 0.80 1.16 1.06
Passing (close) 1.32 1.59 1.53
Standard Downs 0.88 1.43 1.11
Passing Downs 1.45 1.24 1.84
Line Stats Arizona State Texas A&M Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 2.67 3.03 2.82
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 9.1% 4.0% 5.8%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 28.6% 15.4% 6.5%
Turnovers Arizona State Texas A&M
Turnovers 2 3
Turnover Points (what's this?) 9.7 13.5
Turnover Margin Arizona State +1
Exp. TO Margin Texas A&M +1.31
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Arizona State +2.31
TO Points Margin Arizona State +3.8 points
Situational Arizona State Texas A&M
Q1 S&P 0.443 0.555
Q2 S&P 0.362 0.413
Q3 S&P 0.496 0.457
Q4 S&P 0.514 0.829
1st Down S&P 0.418 0.558
2nd Down S&P 0.536 0.390
3rd Down S&P 0.428 0.757
Projected Scoring Margin: Texas A&M by 7.7
Actual Scoring Margin: Texas A&M by 21

Fun game. Part of the discrepancy between projected and actual scoring margin is provided by Christian Kirk's punt return score (I'm still trying to figure out a decent way to incorporate special teams). Regardless, this was a very encouraging result for A&M, both in the way the Aggies invaded the backfield (a 29% sack rate on passing downs!) and in the way they still have things to improve on and won by 21.

A&M's staying power will depend on two things:

1. Standard downs efficiency. 33% isn't going to cut it. You can rely on big plays to get you through a lot, but there are a lot of fast defenses in the SEC, and some will limit you to one or two if you aren't staying in positive downs and distances.

2. Opponents' rush efficiency. For as efficient as A&M was against the pass ... well, pass defense wasn't a huge issue last year. Run defense was what killed the Aggies, and though ASU doesn't appear to be a great run team, the Sun Devils still managed an above-average rushing success rate. This isn't a problem yet, but we don't know that it isn't...

(And on the flipside, these might be encouraging signs for ASU down the line...)

Still, great first step, Ags.