What is their body of work?
The program is on a high--perhaps a historic high. They have double digit wins the last two seasons and are on line to reload this year. The started the year by stomping an Illinois team that is supposed to be pretty good.
What was their best result last season?
They've already started out with a good start this year with a win over Illinois. Their win over Nebraska was a nice monkey off their ballot. They beat Buffalo by 21 points.
What was their worst result last season?
Hard to find. Their four losses included OK, TX, OK State and Kansas. I'll say Kansas.
What was the turnover margin?
This is an area of potential improvement. They were -4 for the year, and only + against one FBS opponent.
How is their QB play?
They are in good shape. The highly touted Blaine Gabbert has stepped right in for Chase Daniel. He shredded the Illinois defense.
What was their yard per play?
6.9 yards per play, which is almost a yard more than our 2002 led by Josh Harris (40.8 ppg). They "only got 6.1 against Illinois.
Can they run the ball?
Last season, they averaged over 5 yards a rush, which is obviously strong. Derrick Washington is a very strong runner (Steele 2nd team All-Big 12 preseason, averaged almost 6 yards a carry last season). He never got untracked against Illinois, but they did run the ball 37 times.
Do they pass the ball?
Yeah, you could say that. Blaine Gabbert is a SO, but got playing time last year. In the previously mentioned Illini-shredding, he was 25-33 for 319 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. Thats about nine yards a pass at 75% accuracy. Danario Alexander (10-132), Jared Perry (4-93-1) and Wes Kemp (4-77-1) were the main targets, and obviously pretty productive.
Are they high efficiency or big play?
Probably both, at least based on the first game.
Do they convert on 3rd Down.
They were 9 of 17 on third down against Illinois, which is obviously really good, but not as good as the 53% they converted last year.
Do they score in the red zone?
Last year they scored 4.8 points per red zone trip and were 3-3 against Illinois.
Do they protect the quarterback?
Last year their QBs were sacked only 16 times in over 550 attempts. Gabbert did get sacked twice in 33 attempts against Ill.
In summary, this offense was high octane last year and looks to be as good again this year. If they are even 75% as good, they will be a handful for us. (They averaged only 42 points per game last year), again, more than a 2002 team we considered incredibly proficient on offense.
Topline: Scoring and yards per play.
They gave up 27 points per game and 5.3 yards per play, which might look high, but it was against some of the country's most productive offenses. Illinois scored only 9 at 4.5 yards per play.
Do they defend the run effectively?
Last year's rush defense was very solid at 3.4 yards per carry. They also shut down a good Illinois running attack (3.1 ypc) including Juice Williams, who ate the Bucks up.
Could they be passed on?
Illinois also never got on track here, with a low completion percentage and under 6/attempt. Last year Missouri did give up passing yards, at 64%/6.9 per attempt and a reputation for giving up big plays.
Did they get off the field on 3rd down?
This was not a real strong point, with 46% last year and Illinois at 6 of 16.
Do they defend in the red zone?
Last year they allowed 5.1 points per red zone trip which is not particularly special.
Do they pressure the QB?
Last year they had 33 sacks, which is really good and they sacked Illinois 3 times.
Their punting against Illinois was SICK. They were over 45 yards per punt NET.
Too soon to tell. Maclin used to do this, and he graduated, and they only had a couple short chances last week.
They were 3-3 against the Illini, 2 of them over 40. He is new this year.
Well, they had lots of practice against Illinois, with 8 kickoffs. Illinois averaged starting on the 28 which is not unusual.
Maclin did this too, and it was nothing special against Illinois.
Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.