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Mississippi State Advanced Stat Preview Part 1

Taking an in-depth look at the stats behind the Orange Bowl Matchup

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

For the Orange Bowl we will have a two part Advanced Stat Preview. Today we are going to focus on when Mississippi State has the ball. Check back tomorrow for the look at when Georgia Tech is on Offense.

Mississippi State has one hell of an offense this year and should have a clear advantage over Tech's defense:


Miss St.


Georgia Tech


S&P+ 4th 58th
FEI 21st 57th
SRS 17th 49th
FPI 18th 60th

Mississippi State's Offense Personality

The Mississippi State offense is most similar to the Ohio State, Michigan State, and Pittsburgh offenses. They run the ball a lot and operate under a more traditional offense than most teams these days while running at about the exact pace you would expect given how often they run the ball.

Offense Run % Yards / Rush Completion % Yards / Completion Solo Tackle % Pace Off S&P+
Mississippi State 53% 5.58 61% 13.27 50% 0.37 125.9
Michigan State 53% 5.44 58% 14.11 56% -1.81 121.5
Ohio State 58% 6.16 64% 13.12 55% -3.93 136.3
Pittsburgh 64% 5.58 62% 12.31 56% -6.74 116

Game by Game Performance

The following plot shows Mississippi State's Adjusted Net Yards Per Play (ANYPP) by each opponent. The dashed red line represents the average ANYPP that each opponent allowed in their other games. The dashed black line is the overall NCAA average.


Mississippi State's Offense has been above average, by this measure in every game this season but two; Auburn and Alabama. In every other game they have been above average and even above their opponent's average ANYPP allowed. This offense is good and knows how to move the ball. Tech's defense is a slightly different story.


Its important to note that since this is the Georgia Tech Defense a higher Adjusted Net Yards per Play Allowed is worse; being better than average is below the line. Georgia Tech's Defense started out exactly average compared to our opponent's. I have no idea what to make of this chart. We started off as just an average defense, then somehow got worse from there, inexplicably played at an incredible level for four games, and then FSU ran us out of the stadium. Who the heck knows which Tech defense is going to show up on New Years Eve.


I haven't brought these charts out in a while, but this shows Mississippi State's Run/Pass ratio by down and distance. Red means they run the ball more often than average, while blue means they pass the ball more than an average team at that down-distance combination. The size of the number represents the number of plays run at that combination.

They definitely rely on the run to move down the field, especially on 3rd downs.

Running Game

The following plot shows the percentage of runs by Mississippi State that gain at least some number of yards. For example about 44% of Mississippi State's runs gain at least 5 yards, which is one of the better numbers in the country.


It is tough to see on this scale but Mississippi State is also one of the top teams at running the ball and not losing any yards. Georgia Tech will have to do it's best to prevent Mississippi State from consistently moving the chains while running the ball. Unfortunately Tech has been basically average to worse than average at preventing teams from gaining consistent yardage on the ground.


Passing Attack

Here is Dak Prescott's QBR by week. QBR is ESPN's measure of a quarterback's performance on a scale of 100 (the best) to 0 (the worst). The average QBR allowed by each opponent is in red.


Dak Prescott started off the season on a tear. His first below average performance came against Alabama and then he ended the season with a tough performance against Ole Miss.

Once again I don't even know what to say after looking at Georgia Tech's QBR Allowed Plot.


This matchup is really going to come down to which Georgia Tech Defense shows up. I do think our passing game can have success against Dak Prescott. With the exception of Jameis Winston no QB has had success against us since the UNC game. If Georgia Tech can stop the run a couple of possessions and make Dak Prescott beat them then I think it'll be a net positive for Georgia Tech. We don't need interceptions, we just need to win the battle of field position a couple of times and give our offense some breathing room. The running game is another issue. Tech has faced some great rushing attacks this year and I think Mississippi State's is one of the better ones in the country. Our rushing defense performance against FSU was just awful and I'm not sure it is gonna get a whole lot better in the bowl prep. If we keep Mississippi State's Offense under 28 points I'll consider it a win for the defense.