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The Stats Aftermath: Auld Lang Syne

A new year and a historic Rose Bowl win deserve a second look at some of the stats that might have been missed.

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Tyrell Crosby, you da man
Tyrell Crosby, you da man
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I'm having trouble moving on to Ohio State after the weekend. I keep revisiting articles, the game threads, predictions and other things on the Rose Bowl. It was just too much fun to look at only once.

One of the things that's remarkable was how everyone missed this historic occurrence. Literally historic - 10 Rose Bowl records were broken in this game. I missed so much too, mind you - no one saw this sort of thing coming, save perhaps AlohaMeansTouchdown. So I went back and looked at a few things. I think you'll find it enjoyable.

The advanced stats comparison for Ohio State will be up later in the week. :)

Here are some deciding factors that may have gone overlooked in the historic performance in the Rose Bowl. Or rather, things that people wondered about that ended up not being real problems.

Oregon's offensive line 'woes'

8.6: the grade given to Tyrell Crosby, Oregon's true freshman Right Tackle, by Pro Football Focus.

I hadn't realized that PFF graded some of the college stuff, but thanks to KDean75 I do now - and wow, did the offensive line step up to the plate. All 5 offensive linemen for Oregon finished with good scores, and only one (Hamani Stevens) had a negative value in anything. Tyrell Crosby, however, was the absolute standout of the lot. 8.6 is a crazy high number for anyone; it's a good score for a player for an entire season.

Here's one play that shows how good he is.

Here he helps with a double team on the LDE, then moves immediately to get to the second level and block his man completely out of the hole. There's a lot to love about this whole play, actually - the trips at the top of the screen that takes 3 defenders out of the play without even blocking them. Mariota selling the handoff enough to be respected by the backside contain. #11 taking himself out of the play by going way too far upfield.

But Crosby just destroyed his two assignments here. Not bad for a true freshman, eh?

Meanwhile, that vaunted defensive line line that Oregon had never seen the likes of? All of them were a net negative by the same measurements.

It's worth seeing Crosby a bit more. This is the first time I've paid any attention to him. He looks really, really angry.

Boy, I love linemen that follow the play, go down field and then go hit someone else because it's fun. Especially when it's 52-20. He's still mad.

Again, from PFF:

7/37: the number of times Marcus Mariota faced any pressure on dropbacks.

That's just an astounding number. That's not sacks, or hits, or anything - that's simply anyone giving up any pressure at all. FSU didn't blitz much - and Oregon's gameplan was not to stay in the pocket all that long - but still, that's incredible. In addition to that, Oregon faced a QB hit all of one time. Once. In fact, here's that 'hit'.

Continuing that trend:

0: how many sacks Oregon actually took

1: the total number of plays that went for negative yards for Oregon's first team

2: the total amount of yards that Oregon lost on negative yardage plays

If you're curious, it was literally the very first play of the game for Oregon:

Marcus Mariota pass complete to Byron Marshall for a loss of 2 yards to the Oregn 18

This is a team that was able to essentially impose its will. While getting negative plays isn't the way you beat Oregon, getting almost none is a huge deal.

The main reason Oregon won by as big a margin as they did is one of those ones that seems alien to those who think Oregon is a finesse team: Oregon dominated the line of scrimmage.

Oregon got 'lucky'?

5/9: the amount of fumbles that Oregon recovered vs. the total number of fumbles in the game

7: the amount of fumbles that FDPG (thanks, HoodRiverDuck) had during the game.

It's a fairly well established that recovering fumbles is essentially luck. It isn't the case that causing fumbles is luck, however - just the recovery of them. And while there are some small differences in situation, in general fumble luck is a 50/50 thing. Often we can say that a team is going to get worse or better simply because they've been unlucky or lucky in how many fumbles they recovered. Eventually, that streak will change.

For this game, Oregon got lucky - barely. There were a total of 9 fumbles in the game. Of those, 5 were recovered by Oregon. That's a smidgen over 50% - 55% - but it is 'lucky'. The distribution of the fumble recovery is  a bit interesting and odd - FDPG recovered the first 3 fumbles, Oregon the next 4 - but that's just a statistical oddity.

Here's the facts: a team doesn't have 7 fumbles in a game by accident. It was something that Oregon saw on film and planned around significantly. Getting 4 fumbles recovered in a row was awesome - but it would have been even more amazing if Oregon had recovered the first 3 fumbles instead. The first was on their opening drive and would have taken 3 off the board. The second would have given the ball to Oregon at the FDPG 15 yard line. The third would have stopped another scoring drive.

As bad as this was for FDPG, keep in mind that it wasn't particularly lucky. It could have gone much, much worse.

21.5: the point value based on the field position and the return gain that each of the 5 turnovers Oregon gained, per BCF Toys.

While turnovers undoubtedly made the score a blowout win for Oregon, they didn't decide the game. Oregon did not get super short fields on 4 of the 5 turnovers (obviously they got a pretty short field thanks to Tony Washington). The fumble return for a TD was worth, by itself, about 9.5 points. The rest of the turnovers? About 3 points each. The field position of the other four:

Oregon 31



Oregon 43

Oregon had to move the rest of the yards, and FDPG had to get a stop. They did not. Oregon had to travel 202 yards to get those 4 other scores, and largely that was done without any major issue. It was great Oregon got the ball and in three cases got it in very favorable field position, but none of those turnovers put Oregon in an obvious scoring position right away.

Wherefore art thou, Ifo?

1.6: the value that Troy Hill was graded, per PFF (anything above 0 is good)

Oregon was very concerned about Rashad Greene's output - or at least Oregon's fans were. Oregon had a different plan. Lock down Greene, rough up Nick O'Leary, and dare the other Florida receivers to be consistent enough. Here, Troy Hill beats three blockers to solo tackle Greene.

-1.4: the grade given to Rashad Greene

-.6: the grade given to Nick O'Leary in passing (he was pretty good on run blocking)

7/63: the total amount of catches and yards that Greene and O'Leary combined to get (Hill was responsible for giving up 1 catch for 5 yards)

Missing Ifo did hurt; Chris Seisay looked out of place at times and was burned on the play that resulted in a conversion of 3rd and 21. But in general the gameplan was very, very solidly in Oregon's favor.