What an opening week for the Mountain West: Hawaii, Nevada, Boise State, and Wyoming picked up wins over Power 5 schools and all from different conferences. San Jose State and New Mexico both won, sometimes you take any victory you can get. Wins for Air Force, UNLV, and San Diego State are all pluses for the conference. A Utah State or Fresno State win would have helped, but all the conference loses were to Power 5 schools, so loses aren’t too bad. Throw in some National Player of the Week awards, and some freshman getting some national attention from their clutch performances and let’s be honest, if someone had said the MWC was going to go 4-3 against Power 5 and have a victory against both the ACC and SEC everyone would have agreed it was a good weekend.
Last week on Stats Corner we looked at the advanced stats of Hawaii and Arizona. This week we are going to look at what I consider the two best games of the weekend for the MWC: Wyoming/Missouri and Boise State/Florida State. I’m giving the edge to Wyoming for game of the week, Boise is really good and most people expected it to be a close game, but Missouri was favored by 17.5 points and on yahoo pick’em 75% of people expected Missouri to win by at least 18 points, while Florida State was favored by 4.5. Either way, both teams stepped up and won big for both themselves and the conference.
Wyoming absolutely dominated the field position battle and it played a huge part in the outcome of the game. Wyoming’s starting distance was 60.8 while Missouri had to start 73.2 yards away, giving Wyoming a NFP value of a whopping 12.4. Wyoming had drives starting 6, 26, 42, and 55 yards, while Missouri did have one drive start at 29 yards out, but the next shortest drive was 65. Missouri also had two drives considered backed up at 81 yards and 98 yards, while Wyoming had just one at 85.
Backed-up Advanced Stats Wyoming 5-Missouri 0
Third Downs (teamrankings.com)
Missouri had 17 3rd downs for the game, converting 7 of them at a rate of 41.18%. Wyoming had 12 3rd downs, down from last year’s average of 14.5, converted 4 for a 33.3% rate, close to last year’s average of 35.85%. This allowed the Tigers to keep drives alive, which given their field position they needed it.
Offensive 3rd down converted Missouri
Offensive 3rd conversion rate Missouri
Defensive 3rd down converted Missouri
Defensive 3rd conversion rate Missouri
3rd Down Advanced Stats Wyoming 0-Missouri 4
Red Zone (teamrankings.com)
Missouri entered the red zone 7 times, however they only scored four times which is a rate of 57.14%. That is 57th in the country, out of 69 teams that have played FBS teams. That says a lot about the Wyoming defense, they may have given up too many 3rd downs, but when their backs were against the wall, they responded well, preventing the Tigers from scoring. The Cowboy offense entered the red zone 3 times, but converted all three chances. If you have going to have fewer chance, you had better make them count, which Wyoming did.
Redzone attempts Missouri
Redzone Offense Percentage Scoring Wyoming
Redzone Defense Percentage Scoring Wyoming
Red Zone Advanced Stats Wyoming 2-Missouri 1.
By a count of Wyoming 7- Missouri 5 the Cowboys won the advanced stats battle. Remember that statistics are not the answer, but should help answer the question “what is causing the stats?” It is not a guarantee that you win, but it definitely helps.
Boise State/Florida State
Boise State won the field position battle by the slimmest of margins, 72.1 to 72.2 to give the Broncos a NFP of .1. What they did have a huge advantage in was the backed up statistics. Only once did Boise find themselves starting more than 80 yards from pay dirt, while Florida State started with three such drives 81, 89, and 85 yards. Field position matters, especially a slug-fest in the heat. Boise’s last four starting field positions were 69, 60, 76, and 68 yards, while Florida State’s were 75, 75, 75, and 75 yards. That makes a huge difference when teams are tired and dehydrated.
Backed-up Advanced Stats Boise State 5- Florida State 0.
Third Downs (teamrankings.com)
Boise State had 19 third downs, up from last year’s average of 15.5 last year, and converted 10 of them up from 8.2, for a rate of 52.63% which is comparable to 52.48% from 2018. Florida State had 12 3rd downs which is a decent number, however, they only converted 1, which led to an 8.33% conversion rate, the lowest in nation last week. The 19 third downs and converting 10 of them allowed the Broncos to create long drives and run 108 plays forcing the FSU defense to stay on the field and, according to their coach, get dehydrated.
Offensive 3rd down converted Boise
Offensive 3rd conversion rate Boise
Defensive 3rd down converted Boise
Defensive 3rd conversion rate Boise
3rd Down Advanced Stats Boise State 4-Florida State 0.
Red Zone (teamrankings.com)
Ok, this one is a little weird, neither team botched a red zone opportunity. The difference is Boise State entered 8 times and scored 8 times, while FSU entered twice and scored twice. Of course, when you are scoring from 75 yards and 58 yards out, who needs a red zone? But you cannot rely on long scores for the season, teams need to consistently get into the red zone and score. Preferably touchdowns over field goals, Boise, but always take the win.
Redzone attempts Boise
Redzone Offense Percentage Scoring Push
Redzone Defense Percentage Scoring Push
Red Zone Advanced Stats Boise State 1-Florida State 0
The first half may have belonged to the Seminoles, but the advanced stats below to the Broncos by a score of 10-0. As we have seen in the three biggest games so far for the Mountain West Conference Hawaii, Wyoming, and Boise State when you win the Advanced Stats you win the game.