Advanced Box Score – Bowling Green Edition



Well, that wasn’t fun, was it?

In a game that Indiana really needed to win to make a bowl game, they lost.  It’s nothing new for the Hoosiers who have been losing to MAC schools for a while now.

While it was a bad loss in terms of momentum, a bowl game, pretty much everything, let’s examine the numbers and see where things went wrong.


What?!  The Hoosiers won?

Well, Indiana played well enough to win.  But still lost.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

However, it was kind of fluky.  No, IU didn’t deserve to win.  But they played well enough to win.  Bill Connelly examined the 5 factors below from the 2013 season and also added that other seasons were very, very similar.

  • If you win the explosiveness battle (using PPP), you win 86 percent of the time. Advantage: Indiana
  • If you win the efficency battle (using Success Rate), you win 83 percent of the time. Advantage: Indiana
  • If you win the drive-finishing battle (using points per trip inside the 40), you win 75 percent of the time. Advantage: Bowling Green
  • If you win the field position battle (using average starting field position), you win 72 percent of the time. Advantage: Indiana
  • If you win the turnover battle (using turnover margin), you win 73 percent of the time. Advantage: Indiana

If you are keeping score at home, Indiana lost a game that 86% of teams win. A game that 83% of teams win.  A game that 72% of teams win.  And a game that 73% of teams win.

Sometimes the team that plays better doesn’t win.[ref]See 2004 Indiana vs. Oregon[/ref]

Random thoughts:

  • Tevin Coleman is really good.  Indiana’s highlight yard per opportunity[ref]Defined as plays where the line does its job and the back gains at least 5 yards.[/ref] rate was 6.78.  By himself, Tevin averaged 7.3 highlight yards per opportunity.
  • Indiana averaged 3.05 line yards per run.  However, it was 1.68 in the first half and 4.5 in the second half.
  • The Hoosiers struggled to get things going on offense in the first half as evidenced by the S&P numbers by quarter.
  • A 10 yard advantage on field position was wasted.  Sigh.  While Erich Toth’s punts were pretty terrible, Indiana benefited from 2 turnovers.[ref]Although they wasted the interception opportunity when they failed to get a first down.[/ref]  Plus when Tevin fumbled, Bowling Green still had a long field as did the Falcons on their last drive.
  • Speaking of Tevin’s fumble, it cost the Hoosiers 5.32 equivalent points.[ref]Turnover points are the number of equivalent points that you give up turning the ball over.  The turnover margin is the net number of points gained or lost due to turnovers[/ref]  And probably 7 points in terms of real life points.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, I can’t really say that the Hoosiers played terribly.  At least, I’ve seen them play worse.  Yes, Bowling Green had 571 yards of offense, but they also ran 113 plays.
  • Especially in the first half, the IU defense didn’t play terribly.  Bowling Green’s offensive S&P number in the first half was 0.65[ref]For reference, while this was just the raw number, 0.65 would have ranked 124th in 2013 after adjusting for opponents.[/ref]
  • The Hoosiers had a little bit better pass rush in the first half, but 1 sack on 73 pass attempts is pretty bad.  Knapke had enough time to find his receivers
  • While it wasn’t as methodical as Navy, Bowling Green used a “get enough yards to keep moving downfield, but no more” strategy.  Whether by design or just taking what the IU defense allowed, Bowling Green wasn’t explosive at all.[ref] But at least in the 2nd half, when Bowling Green took shots down the field, they drew pass interference penalties.[/ref]
  • Bowling Green actually had a decent leverage rate[ref]The percentage of standard down plays to total plays.[/ref].  They didn’t perform as well as Indiana in this regard, but they still we able to stay out of obvious passing downs in which the Hoosiers could rush Shaw and Mangieri[ref]Like they did on Mangieri’s sack.[/ref]

Indiana played well enough to win by about a touchdown, but didn’t take advantage in putting Bowling Green down when they had the opportunity.  As a result, the Hoosiers head to Missouri with a 1-1 record.