Everything you know about Georgia-Missouri is wrong! (Okay, not everything.)

But more than you think.  At least it looks that way if you dig in to Bill Connelly’s breakdown of Saturday’s game.

Bill starts with last year’s statistical story.  And right off the bat, he’s into the unexpected.

Georgia held far more advantages over Missouri on defense last year than you may have expected, and vice versa, which flies against the “Mizzou is going to move the ball, but can they play physical defense??” meme.

Now obviously there are personnel changes which factor into the story for this season’s meeting – both teams’ offensive lines seem weaker than their 2011 counterparts, both teams have added freshman studs at skill positions and, of course… THE SUSPENSIONS – but the stats suggest this may be more of a defensive battle than we’ve thought it might be.

A couple of things about Bill’s numbers jump out at me.  Last season tells us that Missouri’s chances at success improve dramatically the more the game is played in the red zones, because the Tigers did a better job of slowing opponents’ offenses down there than did the Dawgs.  Second, it looks like it would behoove both teams to throw the ball on first down and throw it a lot on first down.  (Georgia gets a bigger advantage, but Missouri’s offense does noticeably better the more it stays out of obvious passing situations.)

Given the opposition, I don’t want to read too much into Bill’s box scoring of last week’s games*.  But one thing to note is Tavarres King’s catch rate of 75%.  His numbers across the board are what you want to see from a team’s #1 receiver.  Considering how poor his 2011 catch rate was, it would be very big for the Georgia offense if what we saw in the bowl game wasn’t a mirage and that he and Aaron Murray are developing a rapport.  King knows he has to be a more consistent receiver.  And I think Bobo’s playcalling last Saturday purposefully tried to reinforce that.  It’s definitely something to watch for tomorrow night.

[*Except for one item.  For all the complaints about how Georgia lost focus in the second quarter last week, it’s nothing compared to what Missouri turned in against SW Louisiana in the second quarter of their game, according to Bill’s S&P numbers.]

By the way, I asked Bill, who, it should be mentioned, has been generous to a fault in the time he’s spent responding to our questions, in a follow-up to rank the conditions he listed in his summary.  Here’s his answer:

“If’s” In Order (from most likely to least likely):
1. If Mizzou outdoes the Dawgs in the turnovers and special teams departments…
2. If Kendial Lawrence produces better per-touch averages than Todd Gurley…
3. If Mizzou scores touchdowns in the redzone instead of field goals…
4. If Tiger defensive backs don’t get burned deep and allow easy points…

5. If the line battle skews neutral when Missouri has the ball and toward Mizzou when Georgia has the ball… (least likely because of the OL, not the DL — still pretty optimistic about the DL)

Agree? Disagree? Spout off in the comments.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

87 responses to “Everything you know about Georgia-Missouri is wrong! (Okay, not everything.)

  1. William

    So you’re saying there’s a chance?!

    • Cojones

      It’s a great start for today whenever D&D raises the serious question. That q has less snarkiness than some of our Nervous Nellies would like to admit.

      • William

        I love your responses Cojo, but sometimes they do leave me having to re-read them to make sure I get it. I’m not high or low on this game. I’m trying to keep an even keel. Bidness as usual.

    • NRBQ

      If last week’s trend holds, there’s not much chance of #2 happening. Gurley averaged 22.7 yards per touch (with three td’s).

  2. The Lone Stranger

    It’s all a big bunch of over-analysis to me. This matchup is one-sided when it is broken down to player-on-player, and the Dawgs ought to deliver on that to the tune of a 2-TD victory. Of course, there are the intangibles (crowd/atmosphere/green RBs and ball security) but don’t those exist both ways in all games? Sic ‘Em, I say.

    • “It’s all a big bunch of over-analysis to me.”
      Amen…but we’re so addicted to the build up. We need it.
      Now prepare to have the idiots on ESPN piss you off with their comments and predictions with biased and shallow analysis.

    • Player-on-player:
      UGA OG vs Sheldon Richardson: Advantage MU
      UGA OG vs Matt Hoch: Slight Advantage UGA
      UGA OT vs Kony Ealy: Slight advantage MU
      UGA OT vs Michael Sam/Brad Madison: Slight advantage MU
      UGA WRs vs EJ Gaines (1st team all Big 12): Advantage MU
      UGA WRs vs Kip Edwards: Draw
      UGA WRs vs MU Safeties: Advantage UGA
      UGA OG and RBs vs MU LBs: Slight advantage MU

      MU OG vs John Jenkins: Big advantage UGA
      MU OT vs Abry Jones: Draw (if against OGs, then Advantage UGA)
      MU OT vs Jarvis Jones: Advantage UGA (but not as big as you think, our tackles are good)
      MU WRs vs UGA secondary with all players: Draw
      MU WRs vs UGA secondary without all suspsended/injured: Advantage MU
      MU OGs/RBs vs UGA LBs: Slight advantage UGA

      Doesn’t seem so obvious to me, but perhaps I’m underestimating your RBs, OL and Secondary.

      • The Lone Stranger

        Probably you are. But then again, once the ball is dropped all bets are off.

      • The Lone Stranger

        Oh — and I strenuosly disagree that MU has the nod with:
        1. Its CBs vs. Dawg receivers
        2. Its LBs vs. Dawgs rushers

        And, the UGa LBs should be able to comfortably control the MU running backs. But, like any competitve pursuit it makes for good debate. Good luck!

        • Well, I only gave one of our CBs the advantage. As I said, I could be underestimating them. From what I’ve seen, they’re sufficiently fast and big, but in my limited viewing I didn’t observe any real game changers. I’m sure they can get open with some regularity, and get behind us on occasion, but I didn’t see anyone playing at another speed than everyone else, or able to create mismatches, or be so physical they just dominate with ball skills. But maybe you’ve seen things I haven’t. In that case, I could be talked into Gained being a draw and Kip Edwards a slight disadvantage. Gaines is a baller. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play on Sundays.

          As for our LBs vs your RBs, I’m not convinced. Gurley looked great against Buffalo, and not just because there were big holes and bad tackles. But our LBs are either the best or second best unit on our team. We’re not loaded with NFL talent, but they’re consistent and athletic enough. They don’t miss a lot of tackles or make many bad reads. They stay in position and play physical. Gooden has NFL size and speed. The other two don’t have elite speed, but they’re not slow either. You won’t beat us to the edge often. The backups are pretty decent too. Gurley will have to show he can do it in his second game against a much better D. None of the others looked very good to be honest.

          • The Lone Stranger

            Clearly, this is a step up in class for both squads. It will be intriguing to watch how the UGa coaches decide to deploy the Running Backs. The rotation is something like a three-headed monster, and each of them brings a little different facet into the game. You may be surprised to see K.Marshall exploiting the ends off the defensive line and prowling the flats for swing passes. I believe Gurley is more a “tough yards” grind it through the middle kind of back, but he has, at least, a 3rd Gear.

            Like most games, the Quarterback play cannot be underestimated. Murray has some proving to do here. His record against ranked teams is well publicized, and I think it may light a fire under him. A nice smart and effective performance from him is why I think the Dawgs take this one going away.

            • I’m really curious about Murray, and about the running game. I never feel comfortable with our rushing defense, even though it’s generally pretty good. The stats with Mizzou are misleading, because unless we’re playing a really top running attack, it’s all or nothing with us, at least until the latter part of the game when they get worn down. For the perfect example, look at the rushes from Nebraska in 2010 (ranked #9 in rushing despite the fact that they were much less effective the second half of the season after Martinez got injured against us). It looked like we had their rushing attacked bottled up….except the 3 times they went for 50+ yard rushing TDs.

              My guess is Georgia will get 3 yards or less on about 50% of the plays, and under 7 for another 30%. Keeping the remaining 20% from being really big gains is the key for Mizzou. If Mizzou can somehow hold you under 3 for 70% of the plays (and prevent big gains on the others) then I think Mizzou wins even if our offense struggles (not that I expect this) because I don’t personally think Murray can beat us if he has to pass.

              But I’m curious about Murray. Whenever I’ve watched him I haven’t been impressed. I mean, he has the arm and the prototypical NFL size, but in games I’ve watched he hasn’t really picked apart defenses and his accuracy is not great. However, I get the sense that he is streaky, and that when he’s on, he can take over a game. Is this an accurate observation?

              • Cojones

                He gets nervous in some games, but his talent doesn’t ebb and flow like a baseball player in a slump. He has good reason to get nervous sometimes because he has taken perhaps the worst beating in SEC QB history last year and still threw 35 tds to lead the SEC. He has been one tough monkey for two years that can come back from a sack and plant a 50+-ydTD pass dead on your ass. Your best bet would be to respect him greatly, cross your fingers and hope he isn’t “on” like he was with Auburn last year. And that game wasn’t an outlier statistically with him. Check out the FU game for accuracy.

                You guys really don’t want to mess with this man. He can cut off your dick and serve it to you on a platter. Otherwise, he’s just your average SEC QB.

              • The Lone Stranger

                AM can be surreally accurate at times, but then too when a rush has come crashing in upon him (or he even senses some threat of pressure) the happy-feet dance starts. The O-coaches claimed to have his footwork ironed out after preseason camp, not that I could detect anything during the Buffalo walk-through.

                UGa’s offensive gameplan generally though will not require the offense to run solely through Murray, as it relies on much play-action. It is important to wind up the RBs and get some movement into the Defensive Line so that AM has room to work behind the LBers. Should the Dawgs have numerous 3rd-and-7+ situations the OLine will be stressed, especially with a true Fr. with a possibly gimpy ankle at RT.

                By the same token I don’t think Missouri wants anything to do with long third-down yardages, as that would test J.Fraklin’s accuracy. Of course, passing situations for MU bring out another intriguing sub-plot: the Green-Beckham factor (is he ready for big-game action and will he be a prime target on 3rd downs?).

                All in all, there are alot of facets worthy of micro-analyzing in this matchup. What I’ll be studying closely are the respective OLines — both are slightly unproven and a curiosity.

  3. NateG

    Yeah, I’d say we don’t really know anything more than we did a month ago. Both teams went to great lengths to hide schemes in their openers. Georgia’s personnel for the game is still unclear. Gurley, Marshall and King could be the real deal. They might not be. Hell, Marlon Brown didn’t even play, and with 3 years of preseason happy talk built up he could look like a cyborg Julio Jones. Or he could end the season with 2 catches for .002578 yards. Having said all that, I think the running game is the only real key for the Dawgs. If Murray can pass for 3,000 yards with the balsa wood fumble machines we had for running backs last year, can you imagine what he can do with 3 honest to God talented guys in the backfield? If they can just manage to be consistently not bad I think Murray carves some people up this year. Of course, we could also give up 5 touchdowns on special teams, so there’s that.

  4. Whew! I’m off of caffine until Sunday Morning.
    Cojones is running a meme that we are too emotionally vested in this whole thing. When your team is on the rise,(Dawgs) or on the top (Bama), you grow nervous about when the thing will crash, as it will sooner or later.
    As Georgia fans, we are sweating out the rise and are nervous that it will falterl. One primary reason for the nerves is knowing the glee your enemies will have when the worst happens, (a knife that cuts both ways).
    As far as analysis goes……………….
    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is AM’s ability to run it a little bit. That may be a big thing that Missouri hasn’t prepared for..Fake to Gurley and bootleg by Murray, or QB draw, whatever…I bet we’ll see it at least a few times. It seems when Murray scrambles around and then throws it, he is more accurate thatn whe he drops back and sees someone wide open deep. Run, Aaron, run!

  5. JG Shellnutt

    I believe we should win, I really do.
    And, I’ll be at the game, we’re flying out tonight after I finish up at the office.
    Further, I want the dawgs to win.
    But, I went to Oklahoma State, I went to Colorado, I went to Tampa in January and have been let down too many times facing teams that we should have beaten. Mark Richt used to have a pretty impressive statistic about win percentage in opponents’ stadiums. I just think we’re going to have to scrape, scratch and claw our way back to getting that chip on our shoulder again. Hopefully, the defense helps to make that more of a reality, but I have to admit, it is difficult to be confident going into a game, even a game that we SHOULD win, and believe we’re going to win.

    • Cojones

      And veteran fans like you have every right to rave and criticize. You join the Senator and several others who pull their hair out in frustration, but don’t mount wholesale attacks against the coaches and team. However, small rear attacks (as in kick in the..) are in vogue. Have at it if we lose.

      • Macallanlover

        Absolutely right, everyone has the right to criticize, it is just a balance thing. To expect us to win every game that we should is unrealistic, better teams lose games every Saturday, every single one, but our fans will let a loss stick in their craw for decades and pound on the program. Everyone needs to understand the other teams have acess to the same number of scholarship athletes as we do, and just as many coordinators and and assistants. They will win a few folks, even the Vandy’s, Wake’s, La Monroe’s, etc., and those losses debilitating for a few weeks/months, but come on man, let’s get behind the coaches and players and not keep wallowing in the misery for 5-10 years. (Not directed at the original poster, just the general climate.)

        • Cojones

          You forgot. 🙂

        • Dawgfan Will

          Alabama doesn’t lose. Alabama has never lost or even looked unprepared since Nick Saban became their coach. It’s a fact.

          • Cojones

            Didn’t we beat Nicky in his first year in Tuscaloosa? I think Staff planted the first play of overtime bomb on their ass, didn’t he?. We beat him at LSU also. Little Nicky can be had and we have had him. I think we should go back for Nicky-Bama seconds this year in the SECCG.

    • Debby Balcer

      So since you were at all of our losses it will be your fault if we lose😉

  6. It is not a matter of winning or losing big or small. Fans always look for a strong and solid plays, no fumbles, no interceptions, no sleep walking, and no missed assignments.

    • Gravidy

      “strong and solid plays, no fumbles, no interceptions, no sleep walking, and no missed assignments”

      It sounds like you’ve been peeking into my dreams.

  7. Dog in Fla

    “AND DAVID YOST HAS LOST CONTROL OF THE NARRATIVE” by jschooltiger on Sep 6, 2012 2:33 PM CDT

  8. mdcgtp

    I think there is so little information about what kinds of teams the 2012 versions of UGA and Missouri 2012 are that it is silly to try project things based upon last week. the sample size against relevant competition is zero. Further, the other source of bias are season previews which are essentially founded on returning players, returning coaches, and consistency of program. We basically had something we all had very high confidence in (our defense), and between our sloppy play last week and suspensions are all questioning. On offense, we were inconsistent which has been a hallmark of the Richt/Bobo/Murray era. Ironically, we ran the ball with consistency last week, which has NOT been a consistency of the Richt era.

    So what does it all mean? I LOVE breaking down the box score and measuring catch rates etc, but I also believe that games against teams like we faced last week are usually NOT indicative of much.

    Tomorrow night should tell us everything we need to know about our leadership on defense, Murray’s maturity, our OL development, etc. If we take control of the game like we should with smothering defense and consistent offense, it will be another step in restoring the program to championship level. If we fart around and allow a team of Michigan St. like athleticism hang around until we do something stupid and get beat, its a fair bet that this coaching regime is NOT going to reach the heights it did earlier.

  9. m

    Sorry for the break, but does anyone know where we can find Pulpwood’s Monkey-mail prediction?

  10. I have been thinking about this for awhile now and wonder if other UGA fans see this as well- Most of the concerns, issues, talking points for or against GA is recruiting based. Not from a talent standpoint, we get talent as good as any team in the country- but the recruiting cycles as I like to call them are out of sync. For years now when we have veteran linemen we have underclass skill players and then wehn the line is young we have upperclassmen handling the ball. Championship squads are usually Jr and Sr laden and then they are young and rebuild, I can’t remember the last time UGA has fit that model. I am curious if you guys see things this way?

    • The Lone Stranger

      Very interesting point, though I have never thought enough on the crux of it. I suppose to get to where you suggest, the coaches would have to invest 2-3 years for class “alignment”. But then too, the UGa offensive lines have experienced such attrition as to throw the class structure all out of whack.

  11. Will Trane

    Who is Bill Connelly? Must have majored in statistics. If he is married, I’d bet his wife would beat the hell out of him he did that to her spending list and social calendar. Bet Richt is reviewing all of that on the flight and is on the phone to Bill on what to run in certain situations in the game.
    Richt is probably wondering can I get my old on the road mo-jo back. He is probably even lamenting where is Mickey Andrews and Warrick Dunn. Will Marshall begin to emerge as a “Warrick Dunn” in this no-huddle pro-style attack. Does Grantham have a plan where he can keep the Tigers between the 35s, and not let Franklin find that core of 6′ 3″ group of receivers run free through the middle of the play and field. Can they shut down the passing lanes so Franklin does not have a good look, and lock their defense too soon. Grantham is probably wondering do I have any 6’2
    ” corners and safeties that can get the ball back to the Os. Want at least 3 turnovers and 15 negative plays. No one running in green.
    That is a mighty young offense line going on the road for the first time. No penalties for illegeal procedure or game delays any where on the field. Every roll in or out of a player has to be better than before as to execution. No missteps or missed gaps on blocking. And Murray,no sacks and negative plays…keep the chain crew looking for a water break. Do not get greedy.., strong and steady. Grip it and rip it.
    Need black skies in Tiger country and red lightning on the field. Want to see that old road mojo back again like Richt had in the good old days at FSU and early Georgia.

  12. Cojones

    Bill has good input on here, so I’ll pull my punches. Bill, item #1 relies mostly on luck. #s 2, 3, 4 and 5 are a wish list.

    Somehow we have all overlooked some meaningful comparisons that are available.

    1.) Isn’t anyone going to take the Cam Newton comparison to heart? When Franklin is flushed, play action is still on unless he has a running lane. Cam killed us with our inability to stop his movement to create a better scenario from a scrambled play. I don’t remember Aubs O line as being something we worried about, however, they were good enough to keep us from getting to him and he took it from there. Franklin is capable of being as efficient in any game, SEC D or not.

    2.) The WR targets are suddenly capable and that has changed since mid-summer when I equated them to Aubs last year. The confidence in a game atmosphere has gone up between the WRs and Franklin. If they start coming back for the ball when we disrupt plays, it will be a long day for our linebackers and safeties.

    3.) #s 1 & 2 set up synergistically to produce a run atmosphere that Mizzou suddenly has two runners who are capable of taking advantage. That capability didn’t glean forth in midsummer. We won’t know how worrisome that may be until the game is underway.

    4.) Suppose, for argument’s sake, we say that both team’s STs display return capability, but the Dawgs may have the edge on stopping their kickoff athletes more often than they stop ours. “More often” are the key words here.

    5.) Red zone/schmedzone, both teams will have ups and downs on this area of the field.

    6.) Mizzou has more to fear from the #1-4 reasons than we do, except for QB mobility where they have the edge. Murray has the capability, but lacks Franklin’s confidence. That’s because……no one faints at what I’m going to type!….no one!….Murray has been instructed by Bobo to turn on, turn off and now, turn on, that capability from year to year. Murray’s psyche is stuck in the middle and I blame BOBO. May those words burn a hole in my computer, but it’s the truth. It’s not a game-changing problem because Murray has so many other up sides that Bobo has nurtured, but it is Bobo’s fault that Murray doesn’t scramble and run with confidence.

    The Dawgs will have a hard, but doable, path to clinching the V tomorrow. Have patience and cheer them through the hardspots.
    Man Up! and Sic’em DAWGS!

    • AlphaDawg

      Be honest Cojo; how long have you been waiting to use ‘synergistically’ in a football related post?

      • Macallanlover

        True, I confess to having used it before but NEVER relative to football. Of course, I never did any football consulting.

      • Cojones

        It’s an old word for scientists. We use all words that are descriptive , even cuss words. I have used the word since early 60s, so that would be over 50yrs. If a word applies you use it. Welcome to the new and educated college football fan vocabulary.🙂
        When I worked part time in Athens at a govt facility, I saw a written description from a PhD who described the appearance of unknown bacterial growth on media as “Pubic hair-like growth”. She was very descriptive such that a layman could read and understand fully what would seem like high-cotton science. That’s one reason she became a college professor alongside her husband.

    • OKDawg

      Well said, Cojones.

  13. Noonan

    I was told there would be no math.

  14. Ed Kilgore

    Agree with them on specifics or not, Connelly’s analysis and the responses here are a nice change of pace from the trash talk on both sides suggesting THEY WON’T KNOW WHAT HIT THEM! I heard way too much of that last year from fellow Dawg fans before the Boise game, and Mizzou fans are probably about to discover that watching your own highlight films is poor preparation for an actual game.

    I’ve decided to stop worrying and just get ready for some serious barking. In that respect, the two Mizzou fans at whose home my wife and I will watch the game truly don’t know what they are about to experience.

  15. Governor Milledge

    Bill, just curious about how you came to the conclusion in your “ifs” that it is “more likely” for Mizzou to top the Dawgs in the turnover battle.

    I’ll grant you your obvious authority on the Tigers, but I’m a little curious how you see y’all winning the turnover battle game, especially with your French military-grade level of a secondary. I would presume that Franklin isn’t as at risk of throwing picks as an average QB simply because of all the different screens y’all run, but how prone is he to fumble while tucking and running?

  16. Slaw Dawg

    This Connelly guy is good. Makes it clear there was going to be much unknown on both teams coming in to this game, and that much more of it with injuries and suspensions. And with sub-par OLs, both teams may indeed struggle to put up points. All said, I truly believe the Dawgs SHOULD win this thing by 7-10 points, even with the second team secondary, but I don’t think that’ll happen. UGA has become a team that typically performs below expectations and capabilities, last year’s AU game aside, and struggles on the road. Last week, we again performed below expectations and capabilities, consistent with that trend. I think Phil Steele is right: Georgia by a point, maybe 2. But if it goes into OT–and that would surprise me not at all–one team or the other will win by a FG, and that probably won’t be us.

    • Cojones

      Damn, Slaw. I ain’t believin’ your last line. You build me up all week and then kick my exposed cojones. Ei yi yi!

    • The Lone Stranger

      True, though — I don’t want this thing hanging in the balance and the Freshman PK stepping into the screen.

  17. Nate Dawg

    Well boys & ladies, I don’t know if we’ll win..but I’m not quite sure these people here are ready for us. Got here Thursday evening & the shock of us being here “so early” has been fun to watch. Everybody’s really friendly & welcoming tho so far. Seem to be very excited @ being in the SEC & very respectful of playing the likes of UGA. I’ve been telling them us & bammer would be fun, but that sakerlina folks would act like a bunch of cocks…he he..

  18. revjmp

    IMHO, game comes down to – can our 3 DL beat their 5 OL, allowing 5/6 DBs – 2/3 LBs covering their WRs/RB/QB combos. And can our OL establish LOS to give Gurley, et al a crack & set up play action. No catastrophic TOs or ST lapses not withstanding.

  19. Cosmic Dawg

    I had a dream last night that the final score was
    Georgia 51 (or 59?)
    Mizzou 31
    I know that seems like an implausible score, but listen, I once dreamed I found a penny and then it happened a few weeks later – my dreams are very prophetic….um, except with dreams about women. So it’s a lock unless a girl suits up for the Tigers.

    Here is some cat named Korla Pandit performing the score to this weekend’s game, Miser-zou! 🙂

    • The Lone Stranger

      I’m going with the score of the EA Football game I played yesterday: UGa 37- UM 13. Optimistic, yeah, but it somehow has the feel of ’03 @ UT (41-14) with a smothering defensive effort.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Oh, and don’t sell your prophecies too short — some jive-talkin’ skirt named Richardson will in fact be suiting up for the Tigers tomorrow.

  20. AusDawg85

    (Prepping to blame Bobo…) It will be interesting to see how often we take a shot down field on first down. Seems to me that is high risk/reward play as I suspect we get more 3 & outs when 1st & bomb fails than scores when it succeeds. I’d like to see much more controlled, ball-possession passing on 1st down, and only take a few very calculated shots going deep. the longer we keep Franklin off the field the better.

    I’ve always been more of a fan of deep shots on 2nd and 4 or less anyway.

  21. W Cobb Dawg

    My biggest concern is whether we’ll be ready to play. I know we’ve got the talent to win. I think this game will say a lot about CMR’s ability to motivate the team and win on the road. I see this game is a major milestone in our return to greatness,