At the risk of incurring further gentle chiding from Michael Elkon, I wanted to take one more look at a subject I explored last week in this post about what Iowa State’s offensive coordinator calls the “double positive” – winning the turnover margin and explosive plays stats – and how that might relate to Georgia’s current surge/streak/extended period of loss-avoidance (feel free to insert your preferred euphemism here).
Here’s what I noted about turnover margin:
Turnover margin was the easy part to run down. This season, the Dawgs are undefeated in the six games in which they have a positive turnover margin and they’ve lost the only game with a negative one (which leaves them 2-1 in games with a balanced margin).
To update that, Georgia’s turnover margin against Kentucky was zero, so the Dawgs are now 3-1 in games with a balanced margin.
The reason I’m back so quickly to continue the discussion is because Marty at cfbstats.com, being the mensch that he is, forwarded me a game-by-game breakdown of explosive plays for all of this season’s D-1 games. I’ve taken his data and compiled a spreadsheet of Georgia’s season to date:
EXPLOSIVE PLAYS CHART GAME OREP OPEP TOEP DREP DPEP TDEP NET EP BSU 3 3 6 4 1 5 1 SC 8 4 12 7 3 10 2 CC 5 4 9 1 0 1 8 MISS 8 3 11 2 2 4 7 MSU 5 1 6 4 0 4 2 UT 5 2 7 1 1 2 5 VANDY 5 4 9 10 3 13 -4 UF 5 1 6 1 4 5 1 NMSU 7 4 11 3 4 7 4 AUB 12 5 17 2 2 4 13 KENT 4 1 5 2 1 3 2
[KEY: OREP = offense run explosive plays (+10 yards); OPEP = offense pass explosive plays (+20 yards); TOEP = total offense explosive plays; DREP = defense run explosive plays (+10); DPEP = defense pass explosive plays (+20); TDEP = total defense explosive plays; NET EP = net explosive plays]
The first thing to note from the chart is that Georgia won the explosive plays battle in every game this season except against Vanderbilt. The Dawgs’ saving grace in that game was that they turned in their best turnover margin number of the season (that, and a certain tackle by Drew Butler). Conversely, while Georgia’s net in explosive plays against South Carolina was positive, that was Georgia’s only game of the season in which it lost the turnover margin fight.
The anomaly, then, if you want to call it that, was the opener against Boise State. The Dawgs were +1 in explosive plays and even on turnovers, yet lost convincingly. (I’d say that’s another reason to acknowledge Boise State played a dominant game that night.)
But the rest of the data indicates, at least with regard to Georgia’s season, that Tom Herman’s on to something. After the opener, Georgia hasn’t lost a game in which it’s come out ahead in explosive plays and not finished behind in turnovers. Given Georgia Tech’s undeniable prowess in explosive plays (now there’s something for you to fixate on, Yellow Jacket stat freaks), focusing on those may very well be job one for Bobo and Grantham.