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Inside the numbers on Boise State's win over Georgia

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03:  The Boise State Broncos defense faces off against the Georgia Bulldogs offense at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03: The Boise State Broncos defense faces off against the Georgia Bulldogs offense at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Boise State controlled the game against the Georgia Bulldogs. You saw it. I saw it. Mark Richt saw it and had no idea what to do about it. But did the stats see it?

You bet they did. Good stats reinforce what we see on the field, like wins and losses and touchdowns and sacks allowed. There's this one, too: Red zone plays. 

Georgia had as many plays in the red zone as you and I and Jared Winterswyk did, which was zero plays. Conversely, Boise State took six trips inside the 20 and came away with five touchdowns and a mercy kneel. That is dominance, my friends. If Georgia did not have those three big plays for scores, this game would have been all sorts of ugly. 

HT to reader MKingery for the red zone tip. The following stats are further explained in this top secret Google Doc.

The rest of the BIFFF statistics from the Boise State - Georgia game

Success Rate

Success rate by quarter (team)

Q1 // Boise State 33%, Georgia 20%
Q2 // Boise State 44%, Georgia 23%
Q3 // Boise State 50%, Georgia 28%
Q4 // Boise State 43%, Georgia 33%

These stats reflect Boise State's third quarter dominance when Georgia didn't know what hit it and every other BSU play was a success. The Broncos nearly doubled up the Bulldogs success-wise in the second and third quarters, which just so happened to coincide with a 21-0 Boise State run. 

Quarterback success rate

Boise State

Kellen Moore - 19 for 35 (54%)


Aaron Murray - 10 for 29 (34%)

Many quarterbacks would be happy to have 19-for-35 as a completion percentage, and most QBs are more like Murray when it comes to success rate. That Moore was so efficient with his passing (every other dropback got the Broncos a first down or a manageable down-and-distance) is a testament to his QB skills, the Bronco gameplan, that stellar O-line, and God being a Bronco fan.

Running back success rate

Boise State

Doug Martin - 6 for 24 (25%)
D.J. Harper - 3 for 8 (38%)


Isaiah Crowell - 5 for 16 (33%)
Richard Samuel - 0 for 7 (0%)

This wasn't Doug Martin's best day, especially when you consider the multiple times he lost yardage on carries. Harper had a little better luck filling in after halftime on the occasional series, probably because defenders kept expecting his knee to explode.

Isaiah Crowell might not have been the second coming of Herschel Walker, but he was definitely one of Georgia's best players on Saturday. Richard Samuel was definitely not. Seven carries, zero successful ones.

Wide receiver success rate

Boise State

Kyle Efaw - 3 for 6 (50%)
Matt Miller - 5 for 5 (100%)
Mitch Burroughs - 4 for 5 (80%)
Gabe Linehan - 2 for 3 (67%)
Doug Martin - 1 for 3 (33%)


Orson Charles - 4 for 6 (67%)
Malcolm Mitchell - 1 for 3 (33%)

The stats agree with the eyes on this one: Matt Miller had a really good game. Mitch Burroughs and Gabe Linehan came out pretty well, too. And you probably didn't need stats to tell you this, but Orson Charles was pretty much THE Georgia passing game.

Successful plays are defined as plays that gain 50 percent of needed yards on first down, 70 percent of needed yards on second down, and 100 percent of needed yards on third and fourth downs.


Defensive line stops

Shea McClellin - 5
Billy Winn - 2.5
Tyrone Crawford - 2.5
Jarrell Root - 2
Chase Baker - 1.5
Tyler Horn - 0.5

Linebacker stops

Aaron Tevis - 2.5
J.C. Percy - 2.5
Byron Hout - 0
Tommy Smith - 0

Secondary stops

Jerrell Gavins - 4.5
George Iloka - 3
Jamar Taylor - 2.5
Jonathan Brown - 1
Travis Stanaway - 1
Jeremy Ioane - 0

The numbers for McClellin and Gavins really jump off the page. Those are some DPOY figures there. Sacks are a big reason for the D-line stops, but even then you typically don't see such high numbers for players whose job it is to be enveloped by 300-pounders all game long. 

The stats also show a good game for three-fourths of the Boise State secondary with Gavins, George Iloka, and Jamar Taylor turning in at least 2.5 stops apiece.

No stops for Byron Hout? Toledo will give reparations.

Stops are defined as plays that prevent a successful play by the offense.

Line Yards

Boise State - 87 yards, 36 attempts, 2.4 average
Georgia - 73 yards, 25 attempts, 2.9 average

What can this stat tell us? Georgia's offensive line did a little better with run blocking than it may have seemed. A lot of the Bulldog carries were in the three- and four-yard range, which is a credit to the O-line. Boise State had great timing for its big runs, which helped open up the game in the second half. The O-line run blocking wasn't too consistent, but it got the job done when it needed to.

Line yards measure the effectiveness of offensive line play by assigning value to rushing yards gained near the line of scrimmage. View the complete formula.

Swing Points and Wasted Yards

Swing Points

Boise State - 0
Georgia - 0

Wasted Yards

Boise State - 112 yards
Georgia - 147 yards

One of my keys to the game was to prevent Georgia from having swing points. Mission accomplished, I would say. The Bulldogs never had a short field on offense nor a big score on special teams or defense. Boise State was set up twice with a Gavins INT and a Chris Potter punt return, and the Broncos turned both into points. The field position for each was outside the 25, so it doesn't count for swing points.

Swing points account for points scored on defense, special teams, or drives of 25 yards or less. Wasted yards are the yards gained on non-scoring drives.

Field Position Percentage

Boise State - 55%
Georgia - 30%

Boise State won the field position battle early and often and ended up spending more time on the Georgia half than their own half. 

Field Position Percentage shows the percentage of a team's plays that took place on their opponent's side of the field. The higher the number, the better. Good teams have over 40 percent. Great teams get over 50 percent.

Special Teams Rating

Boise State - 10
Georgia - 0

Perhaps the most unlikely stat from the Georgia game shows that Boise State clearly outperformed the Bulldogs on special teams. Big credit is due to Brad Elkin who put six of his seven punts inside the Georgia 20-yard line. Give him the Ray Guy award already.

The only negative plays for Boise State on special teams were Tyler Jackson's offsides on a punt return and a Brandon Boykin kickoff return that got to midfield. 

The special teams rating is based on a points formula where each special team occurrence is weighed and valued for factors like points, field position, and more. View the full explanation and check out its origins.

Additional reading ...

In addition to these statistics, BIFFF documents a wide range of play-by-play and game charting data for a comprehensive look at Boise State football games. In other words, nerd alert! To find out more, visit the BIFFF homepage or peruse the BIFFF archived spreadsheets on Google Docs.

Your turn

What stats look the best to you? Impressed by Brad Elkin's punting ability? Impressed by Kellen Moore's god-like ability? Horribly, horribly confused by numbers? Share your thoughts in the comments.