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BIFFF on Boise State versus Nevada

We all know Nevada had a pretty good second half. But why exactly? We all saw that Kellen Moore and Doug Martin played lights out. How lights out did things really get?

These are the questions that BIFFF seeks to answer with some advanced stats and gamecharting. Get the details on the Boise State - Nevada game, learn from what went down, and be a better fan because of it. BIFFF stats are after the jump. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

The Bronco Institute of Football Facts and Figures (BIFFF)seeks to add context and numbers to Boise State statistics. Some of it is math, much of it is game charting, and the rest is pie charts.

The BIFFF Box Score

Statistics Explanations
Final Score 31 34
Swing Points 0 0 Points on defense, special teams or drives < 25 yds
Turnovers 0 1
Total Yards 493 528
Net Yards 423 499 Yards on offense minus penalties
Wasted Yards 114 163 Yards on non-scoring drives (including penalties)
Yds on Scoring Drives 366 370 Yards on scoring drives (including penalties)
Passing Yards 348 259
Completions 20 19
Attempts 31 35
Yds per Attempt 11.2 7.4
Rushing Yards 145 269
Attempts 30 52
Average 4.8 5.2
Penalty Yards 70 29
Penalties 5 4
Average 14.0 7.3
Plays 61 87
Yds per Play 8.1 6.1
Run:Pass Ratio 30:31 52:35
Negative Plays 6 6 Plays that gained negative yardage
Third Down Conversion Pct 40% 53%
Conversions 4 9
Attempts 10 17
Avg Yards to go 7.7 5.2
Avg Field Position BSU 25 WYO 24
Average starting field position


  • Nevada's 5.2-yard 3rd down average is really good, but it gets even better when you remove a 3rd and 31 from the Pack's totals. That would bring the 3rd down yards-to-go average to 3.7.
  • Boise State won the turnover battle and lost the game. Looking back through Boise State's BIFFF history, turnovers don't really seem to matter all that much in the final outcome (see their -3 turnover margin against Hawaii, for example).
  • Nevada ran 87 plays to Boise State's 61. The closest comparison is the LaTech game where the Bulldogs ran 89 plays to the Broncos' 65.
  • For you conspiracy theorists out there, you may want to note Boise State's 14.0-yard average on five penalties.

The five most interesting stats from Boise State versus Nevada

Nev2half_medium  Bsu2half2_medium

Nevada's 3rd down conversions improved dramatically in the second half, Boise State's didn't

In fact, the Broncos did not convert a single 3rd down all second half. Boise State was 0-for-4 after going 3-for-4 in the first two quarters.

Nevada, on the other hand, went 7-for-11 on 3rd down in the second half and added a 4th down conversion to boot. The Pack was only 2-for-5 in the first half.


Boise State allowed its highest yards per play average of the season

Coming into the game, the previous high yard-per-play average against the Broncos was 4.8 turned in by both Virginia Tech and Toledo. Nevada went for 6.1 yards per play, easily a season high for the Bronco D. The fact that the Wolf Pack also ran 87 plays (to Boise State's 61) makes it easy to see why we all had that inevitable sinking feeling.


Nevada was equally successful on offense in the first half as they were in the second half

You would think that the Pack's second half on offense was tons more successful than its first half. But that's not really the case. Nevada was tiny percentage points better, and that's all. For the game, they averaged less than 50 percent for successful plays (compared to Boise State's 63 percent first half).

So why the difference between the two halves on the scoreboard?

Nevada was a more consistent team in the second half. On its first half possessions, the Pack would go streaking with several successful plays in a row followed by several unsuccessful ones. That recipe will end drives every time (if you have three straight unsuccessful plays, your drive ends). In the second half, the Pack spread out its unsuccessful plays among its successful ones, which led to long drives and points.

Reminder: Successful plays are plays that gain 50 percent of needed yards on 1st down, 75 percent of needed yards on 2nd down, and 100 percent of needed yards on 3rd or 4th down.


Kellen Moore threw incomplete nine times after halftime, only two were on him

Of Moore's nine second-half incompletions, four of them were drops, two of them were broken up by good pass defense, and one of them probably should have been pass interference (in the scorebook it went down as a drop for Titus Young, which is really just rubbing it in at that point).

My point: Moore was pretty much on fire all night.


Doug Martin had successful carries 58 percent of the time

Martin was one of the game's most successful players (and more successful than the Nevada offense as a whole). His splits between first half and second half are not at all as lopsided as you might think. He was 3-for-6 on successful carries after halftime.

However, two of his most important carries - a 3rd and 1 from midfield in the fourth quarter and a 2nd and goal carry in overtime - were unsuccessful.

Your turn

Did Nevada's first half and second half feel that much different to you? Would you consider Titus Young's overtime end zone pass target a drop? Glad to know that Martin was actually really good in the second half, too? Share your thoughts in the comments.