Opponent Stat Preview: Ole Miss O vs Georgia Tech D Part 2

Wesley Hitt

Taking an in-depth look at the stats of the game.

Yesterday we looked at the matchup when Ole Miss has the ball on a per-play basis. Today I want to look at some other characteristics of the matchup when Ole Miss has the ball using some different characteristics.

Drive Outcomes

The great site fbsdrivestats.com provides information on a ton of breakdowns on a per-drive basis. Here are the percentage of drives that end in a certain way for each unit, Ole Miss Offense and Georgia Tech Defense, when they are on the field:

Outcome Percentage of Possessions

Percentage (National Rank)

Drive Outcome Ole Miss Offense Georgia Tech Defense
Punt 34.7% (29) 45% (32)
Fumble Lost 3.3% (37) 2% (118)
Interception 8.3% (73) 7% (75)
Turnover 11.6% (49) 9% (106)
Effective Turnover* 19.8% (95) 11% (116)
Score 38.8% (57) 38% (80)
Touchdown 27.3% (57) 29% (81)

*Effective Turnover % includes turnover on-downs and safeties in addition to normal turnovers.

These numbers are not opponent adjusted in any way, they just represent the non-garbage time possession results for each unit in FBS-FBS games only. What can we take away from this? Holy crap Georgia Tech is terrible at forcing turnovers. Have we always been this bad? I need to go back and look but when we rank 106th in the nation in forced turnovers something isn't right. The only thing our defense actually does well is force punts, which is surprising to me, with how bad our defense looks on a per-play basis you'd think we would be living by the turnovers more. Meanwhile Ole Miss seems to do a good job avoiding turnovers and punts. Their Effective Turnovers (essentially lost possessions) is very high, maybe they go for it a lot on 4th down? Ole Miss is currently tied for 15th in most 4th down attempts but ranks about 50th in conversion %, so that could explain it (Georgia Tech's Offense? 78th in attempts (wut?) and 87th (WUT?!) in conversion %....how are we that bad). Anyway, when you break all this down Ole Miss scores 2.26 Points/Drive, good for 54th in the country, while Georgia Tech allows 2.3 Points/Drive, good for 80th in the country.

Drive Based Efficiency

Brian Fremeau's FEI drive based efficiency stats take a look at how you performed on your drive given your starting field position and the opponent you are facing. These stats are very predictive and have also been cleaned up for garbage time and non-fbs games. What do the FEI stats tell us about what will happen when Ole Miss has the ball?

FEI Drive Efficiency

Percentage (National Rank)

Drive Category Ole Miss Offense Georgia Tech Defense
FEI Rank 41st 47th
Available Yards Gained 52% (35) 46.7% (72)
Explosive Drives 16% (35) 14.2% (75)
Methodical Drives 18.4% (27) 12.3% (38)
Value Drives 44% (42) 38.7% (72)
Strength of Schedule 39th 32nd

You can read more about the actual definitions of the different drive classifications here, but basically Explosive drives average 10+ ypp, methodical drives are 10+ plays long, and value drives move the ball into you opponent's territory.

I think I might be figuring out how Georgia Tech's defense ranks bad on a per-play basis, but doesn't do that bad on a per-drive basis. First, we start with terrible field position. Our overall Field Position Rank is 87th in the country, and our opponents start at their own 31 on average. Second, we don't let teams drive the ball down on us. We rank 38th in the country in allowing methodical drives, drives that last at least 10 plays or more. So teams either score quickly (75th in the country in explosive drives allowed) or we force them to punt the ball (32nd in the country in forced punts). So our overall points allowed per drive (80th in the country) doesn't look too good, but when you factor in the fact that we are giving our opponents great field position our points allowed per drive rises all the way to 22nd best in the country. That is a huge difference. What does that mean going forward? I don't know. If we pin Ole Miss deep a couple of times perhaps they won't be able to sustain drives? Let's hope.

Conclusion (Read this paragraph if you hate all my great and informative tables and statistics, I won't hate you for it)

So thats it for the stats. What did I get from this two day Mega-Preview about when Ole Miss has the ball in the Music City Bowl? Ole Miss is at a clear advantage. Their ability to move the chains consistently and produce long drives (27th best in the country at Methodical Drives) will challenge the only thing Georgia Tech's defense is good at. In order to force quick punts as Georgia Tech's defense has done all year they will have to force passing situations where we can hope our pass rush can get some momentum. However, Ole Miss has proven to be great at getting out of passing situations all year. If Georgia Tech can finally force some turnovers and have some great punts that flip the field to our benefit, we could find some success against Ole Miss. But, if we give Ole Miss a short field they will take advantage and put the pressure back on our offense. Ole Miss's Offense is capable of playing at a great level, but has been on a slide recently (Only one top 30 performance in the last 5 games, after 4 in their first 6 FBS games). Georgia Tech's defense has been on the rise recently and, while spotty, it has shown it can play at a high level. The question we all need answering come the 30th is what defense will show up? I guess that is why they play the games.

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