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The Analytical: Breaking down Kansas State vs Stephen F. Austin by the numbers

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Nugget took a deeper statistical look at the Stephen F. Austin game, and the results may surprise you (or not, it was a dominant KSU victory).

I don't know what Barnett is doing here, but Burns is tickling Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Aaron Thomas. Burns' clever ploy worked, Thomas didn't catch the touchdown pass.
I don't know what Barnett is doing here, but Burns is tickling Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Aaron Thomas. Burns' clever ploy worked, Thomas didn't catch the touchdown pass.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

(Ed. Notes: First, we know this is sort of late, but we had to get Nugget up to speed on the system. Iowa State will come over the weekend, and future analyses will come in a more timely fashion. Second, a big thanks goes to Matt Mills () over at SB Nation's Georgia Tech site From The Rumble Seat for the Win Probability Graph and help with post development. If you like this post or even if you don't, go check out his work in their Football Analytics stream. Its pretty cool.

If you have any questions as to how these stats are found, let us know in the comments below. For definitions of most of these, visit Bill Connelly's Advanced Stats Glossary over at Football Study Hall, which is a pretty cool site too.)

Advanced Box Score

Kansas State 55 - Stephen F. Austin 16
Passing Downs Quarter Performance
Plays 21 27 Yards / Play Success Rate Yards / Play Success Rate
Yards / Play 7.52 5.33 Q1 6.38 76% 1.89 9%
Success Rate 62% 37% Q2 7.29 71% 7.91 29%
Standard Downs Q3 4.82 33% 4.50 29%
KSU SFA Q4 5.31 38% 1.92 27%
Plays 60 33 Down Performance
Yards / Play 5.41 4.55 KSU SFA
Success Rate 60% 36% Yards / Play Success Rate Yards / Play Success Rate
Passing Plays 1 5.60 51% 5.28 32%
KSU SFA 2 7.04 61% 5.60 45%
Plays 36 45 3 5.31 57% 3.57 36%
Yards / Play 7.00 5.76 4 1.67 67% 0.00 0%
Success Rate 53% 27% Drive Performance
Sack Rate   (SD / PD) 4% / 10% 11% / 0% Num of Drives Avg Start Spot % Methodical % Explosive
Running Plays KSU 13 55.2 23% 0%
KSU SFA SFA 12 74.7 8% 17%
Plays 45 15 KSU SFA
Yards / Play 5.18 2.33 % Possible Yards Gained 67% 33%
Success Rate 60% 13% Turnovers 1 1

On the surface this game played out exactly like you would expect for a Power 5 vs. an FCS game, and the advanced stats backed that up.  Some observations:

  • Kansas State consistently performed better on Passing Downs than Standard Downs, gaining almost two and a half more yards per play with a 60% Success Rate
  • Kansas State's average starting position was 19.5 yards better than Stephen F. Austin's.  Over the Wildcats' 13 possessions this was a sizable advantage.
  • The defense performed very well in the first and last quarters, giving up no points and only allowing about two yards per play. This is especially true in the first quarter, where the defense held Stephen F. Austin to a 9% Success Rate.
  • In the second quarter, Stephen F. Austin actually averaged more yards per play than Kansas State, although the low Success Rate (29%) points to low production outside a few explosive plays.

Win Probability Graph

As a small introduction to Win Probability graphs, each uses data from past games to develop a model for analyzing the change in probability of a team to win the game. This model uses game data from 2009-2012. Home teams and FBS teams (when playing FCS teams) receive a initial bias when the model lists a starting point, otherwise the model starts each team's Win Probability at 0.50 in neutral locations. Each team's possessions are notated by different colors on the graph. For more information, check out Matt's piece over at FTRS.

The Win Probability graph for this game really doesn't tell us much, as Kansas State was in control the entire game. Future graphs will show more changes, and I'll pull out some of the biggest plays from the game to show their changes in the Win Probability, but this time, we were just too consistent. If I can say that...

I plan on adding more figures and analysis in the future as I gain more resources. If there is anything you would like to see added, or any questions you might have then let me know in the comments.