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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Statistical Review: Nevada #76

Nevada lost six games. They lost three by one point and another by six. That's not to say Nevada was better than we thought; they lost that claim by allowing no fewer than 21 points in every game this season despite facing one of the nation's softest schedule. No, Nevada wasn't any better than we thought, but they're record could have been better.

How does a team go about winning or losing a lot of close games? They key is to have a big gap between the offensive and defensive units. In the case of Nevada, the offense is legitimately good while the defense is legitimately awful. They score easily against their mediocre opposition and their mediocre opposition scores easily against them. It is more likely that each scored will be matched on the next possession, so games tend to be close. Connecticut, at the other end, had 8 of 12 games decided by 7 points or less.

The Nevada offense was effective, but this was definitely not Colin Kaepernick's Nevada offense; their one shortcoming was a lack of explosiveness. In part, this lack of explosiveness is because they ran the ball 62% of the time - running plays are less likely to be explosive - but they averaged a pedestrian 11.7 yards per pass completion. They made up for this lack of explosiveness by maintaining drives. Nevada averaged 6.4 plays per possession, behind only Army and Marshall. They were tackled for a loss on just over 1 in 10 run plays and 5.2 yards per carry. They converted 40% of their possessions into touchdowns, and may have been even better if not for a below average turnover rate (13.3% of possessions) and a poor penalty rate (63 yards per game). 

On defense, they were fairly atrocious across the board.

The Statistical Review breaks down teams along a number of performance categories, everything from red zone scoring to field goal percentage, and compares that performance against the rest of the FBS. All 124 teams will be reviewed from 124 to 1 by the hybrid rankings. You can find short descriptions of the stats used in the table below.

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