Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Brett Smith most dominant QB in Week 4
By Sharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Info
With only one ranked matchup, the Week 4 slate of underdogs did not provide much competition for the favorite. Top 25 teams were 18-0 against unranked opponents, and the average margin of victory in those games was over five touchdowns.
Four teams highlighted the day of dominant offensive performances. Ohio State, Louisville, Miami and Baylor each scored at least 70 points, the most in a single day since the BCS' inception in 1998. Three of those four teams had a win probability of at least 95 percent by the start of the second quarter, and all four were up by at least 38 points by halftime.
Which of these offensive performances was the most impressive? Which quarterback contributed most to his team’s offensive efficiency? With the help of ESPN’s new CFB metrics (see explanations here), ESPN Stats & Information will look back on Week 4 and look ahead to next weekend’s top 10 matchup between No. 6 LSU and No. 9 Georgia.
Best Individual Performances
Brett Smith (99.0 Total QBR) had a school-record 511 total yards in Wyoming’s 56-23 win over Air Force on Saturday. His biggest contribution came on the ground, as he ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. As a result, Smith contributed more expected points from rushing (9.4) than any other quarterback in Week 4.
Terrel Hunt (98.6 Total QBR) posted the highest Total QBR by a Syracuse starter in the last 10 seasons in the Orange’s 52-17 win over Tulane. Hunt has a 98.9 Total QBR and has completed 76.7 percent of his passes this season, compared to a 20.9 Total QBR and 57.4 completion percentage for Syracuse’s starter from its first two games, Drew Allen.
Bryce Petty (98.5 Total QBR) of Baylor currently leads the nation in Total QBR this season (98.4). Against Louisiana-Monroe, Petty posted his third straight Total QBR of 93 or above. The only other player in the country with three straight games of 93-plus is Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Tyler MurphyTyler Murphy (98.1 Total QBR) was called into action early in the first quarter when Florida QB Jeff Driskel broke his leg. Murphy posted a 98.1 Total QBR on 24 action plays, which was the highest Total QBR by a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow had a 98.9 against Vanderbilt in 2008.
Explaining Murphy’s QBR: At first glance, Tyler Murphy had a fairly average statline; he completed 57 percent of his passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. However, Murphy also contributed 84 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. He was nearly perfect on third downs, converting eight of his 12 third-down chances, including five first-down rushes of at least seven yards.
Best Team Performances
Offense –- Ohio State’s offense contributed 47 net points towards its 76-0 victory over Florida A&M. Although the Rattlers are not the most formidable opponent, Ohio State’s had the highest single-game offensive EPA this season and the fifth-highest single-game offensive EPA in the last three seasons. Efficiency is key; Ohio State scored a touchdown on 11 of its 13 drives on Saturday.
Defense –- Baylor is not typically known for its defense, but the Bears lead the country in defensive EPA this season. On Saturday, Baylor’s defense contributed a FBS-high 35.4 expected points towards its 63-point victory over Louisiana-Monroe (70-7) after forcing four turnovers, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter. Overall, Baylor has scored 73 points off turnovers this season, second in FBS behind Northwestern.
Special Teams – Iowa scored its most points since 2002 (59) against Western Michigan on Saturday, and 14 of those points were directly related to special teams. Junior returner Kevonte Martin-Manley returned two consecutive Western Michigan punts for touchdowns early in the second quarter. Iowa scored as many touchdowns on offense (4) as its defense and specials teams had combined on Saturday.
Looking ahead to Week 5
After a weak slate of games last weekend, Week 5 has four matchups of ranked opponents, including one matchup of top 10 teams. No. 6 LSU travels to No. 9 Georgia in a game that will match two of the most improved offenses in the country.
LSU ranks 16th in offensive EPA per game this season after ranking 68th last season. The biggest difference has been QB Zach Mettenberger, who has nearly tripled his Total QBR from last season.
His 49-point increase from last season to this season is the largest of any qualified quarterback in the nation.
Similarly, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray raised his Total QBR from 73.0 in 2012 to 84.3 in in 2013. His best game of the season came against South Carolina, a team that he was winless against until this season.
Murray will look to avenge his past meeting with LSU, a 42-10 loss in the 2011 SEC Championship game. In that game he threw two interceptions and posted his third-lowest Total QBR (17.3) of his career.